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Charming Wishing Well Planters: A Complete Guide to Choosing and Planting

A wishing well planter is a great way to add some charm to your home or garden. But how do you choose the right one? Do you want one that’s made from wood, metal, stone, concrete, or plastic? How tall should it be? What plants should go in it? These and many more questions will be answered in this blog post.

But before we answer all those questions, let’s look at the ancient origins of the wishing well itself!

Origins of the Wishing Well Planter

The folklore behind wishing wells has been around for centuries. Some believe that the well is a portal to another world, and others say it contains mystical water with healing properties.

The custom is thought to have originated in ancient Rome when people would throw coins into a holy well as an offering. In the Middle Ages, wells were often built near churches because it was believed that water from springs and rivers had healing properties.

Europeans believed that underground springs were a gift from the gods, after all, clean water is essential for life.  They would drop small gifts into the well as a token of their appreciation.  Over time, these gifts turned into coins.

Wishing well planter

The Germanics had a darker thought pattern and believed that it was evil spirits that created the waters.  The evil spirits lived in the waters and intervened in the lives of humans living near them.  If someone made a wish or was talking about something they hoped would come about, the evil spirit might make it come to pass.  People would drop coins or small gifts into the well to encourage the evil spirit to help.

One of the most famous wishing wells is the Chalice Well, which is also known as the Red Spring or Blood Well, in Glastonbury, Somerset, England. The well is an important pilgrimage site in Christendom.

It was built in the 12th century and is believed to be a site where Joseph of Arimathea hid the Holy Grail, which is believed to be the chalice in which Jesus drank from at the Last Supper as well as what Joseph of Arimathea had used to collect Jesus’s blood during the crucifixion.

wishing well planter flowers

What plants go in a wishing well?

There are no hard and fast rules for what flowers and greenery can be placed in a wishing well planter. The choice of plant will depend on the size of the container, how much water it needs to survive, sun, local climate conditions, drainage requirements as well as aesthetic preferences.

Just about any plant that grows well in containers will dress up your wishing well and create a lovely eye-catching addition to your yard.  The following is a list of flowers to get you started, but be creative!

  • Begonias
  • Impatience
  • Nasturtiums
  • Verbena
  • Angelonias
  • Petunias
  • Coleus
  • Geranium
  • Starflower
  • Fanflower

Flowering vines can be a beautiful choice because you can train them to climb up the wishing well. There are the more well known vines such as clematis, Virginia creeper, and morning glories, but don’t overlook the scarlet runner bean, sweet potato vine, and black eyed susan vines (this last one just recently came on my radar.  Such a lovely vine).

One great advantage to a wishing well planter is that you can also plant around it.  Many people enjoy planting a butterfly garden around the wishing well.  Can you picture it?  A lovely wooden wishing well overflowing with vining flowers surrounded by colorful blooms and lush greenery while white, orange and yellow butterflies flit about?

If you are interested in attracting butterflies, phlox, coneflowers, black-eyed susan, butterfly bush, and blue star are great choices.

wishing well planter

How much do wooden wishing wells cost? 

The cost of a wooden wishing well typically varies with the size of the well. The cost can range from $100 to over $1000, depending on what you want your wishing well’s specifications to be!

Handcrafted wishing wells typically cost more than $1000 and depending on size can exceed $2000.  

The good news is that there is a wooden wishing well for any budget.  Some of the less expensive models are lighter and you will want to fill the bottom with dirt or rocks to keep it from tipping over in a strong wind.

One of the benefits of a wooden wishing well is that they are extremely customizable. You can choose from many different styles, materials, and colors, which helps make them a unique gift!

While not all wooden wishing wells come pre-assembled, this typically doesn’t add much time to construction because the pieces just snap together easily without any bolts or screws needed to secure them into place.

There are also dozens of free plans available for making your own.  If you are interested in a wishing well planter DIY project, keep scrolling, I have a few great websites for you to check out.

How tall are wishing wells? 

How tall are wishing wells?  They come in a variety of sizes, but the most common stand about four feet tall.

This adorable one stands only four inches tall and would make a lovely addition to a little fairy garden.  

They come in a range of widths and base shapes so keep that in mind when planning your garden space. This cute wishing well stands only two feet tall.  Its planter is eight inches deep and it does not have a bottom so that plant roots can go down into the dirt, giving them a little more room if needed.

It is also made of polyresin and will last a lot longer than wood (keep reading for more polyresin wishing well planters).

How do you make a wishing well? 

While I am spending the bulk of this post showing you a variety of wishing well planters to buy, making one is also an option.  A DIY wishing well would definitely give you bragging rights and you have the opportunity to create it exactly how you wish.

While making my own wishing well is out of my comfort zone My Outdoor Plans has free plans to help you get started.  A basic knowledge of woodworking and supplies is all you need!

Pinspired to diy has lovely plans for a hexagon-shaped wooden wishing well.  This post is well organized with a list of needed supplies as well as detailed instructions.  

If you have a lot of scrap wood, Instructables has a great post about taking them and turning them into an awesome wooden wishing well planters.  I just love this idea because it is not only very affordable, but it uses up some of those accumulated piles you have stacked in your garage AND you get to make your yard even cuter!

Our favorite wishing well planters 

You can go with unique wishing well planters, wooden wishing well planters, and pretty much everything in between.  Here are a few of our favorites that you are sure to love as well!

This wishing well is what comes to most people’s minds when they think of a wishing well.  It stands just under four feet tall so it is a good size for almost any space.

Wishing well planters come in a variety of wood.  This one from Shine Company comes in a natural yellow cedar or stained a burnt brown.  It stands a full 48 inches and weighs 27 lbs so once you put dirt and plants in it, should stand up to any wind.  What I love the most about it is the scalloped edges and the gentle curves on the top.  It definitely adds a more whimsical  touch.

This wishing well is made of vinyl.  It is considered a sculpture rather than a planter, but there is a place to hang a basket of flowers.  Do you have an ugly well pipe or hole you want to hide?  This wishing well planter does not have a bottom so you can easily use it to conceal less desirable areas of your yard.

It is the tallest wishing well that we’ve seen standing 70 inches tall.

If you are looking for a unique wishing well planter, check out this one.  It is designed to look like an old wooden whisky barrel.  Seriously, wouldn’t that make a great conversation piece as people pull up to your home??

Poly Wishing Well Planter

I mentioned earlier that you can find wishing well planters in every material.  These are made of polyresin, meaning that they will outlast anything made of wood.  They will not need to be repainted and most likely never need to be repaired.  They handle any kind or weather and climate making them ideal for pretty much any situation.

Wishing Well Fountain

Now, I know these are not planters, but they are just too pretty to pass up.  They would add amazing charm to any garden space or be a focal point in a quiet corner of your yard.  

Can you imagine setting a bench beside it and resting after a busy day with the calming sound of running water?  Flowers blooming in a variety of pinks, purples, yellows, and oranges as the sun goes down and the air begins to cool.  I am pretty sure I need a wishing well fountain for my yard!

Planters can add a lovely addition to your yard, patio, front steps and porch with little effort.  They will last a long time when taken care of properly so it is a one time expense and you can change them up with the seasons or with your own changing preferences.

If you decide a wishing well planter is not what you want after all, be sure to check out our posts on ceramic planters, black planters, and stone planters.  

Conclusion

I must confess that I have had way too much fun researching this post and am bursting to choose one for my cottage garden.  Wishing well planters add a unique touch to your space and you will be glad that you invested the time and money.

Whether you are looking to make a statement, love the nostalgic feel of a wishing well, or simply have some dead space that needs sprucing up, I think a wishing well is the perfect choice.  With the variety of price and style, you are sure to find one that meets your needs and appeals to your personality and budget.

Have you found the wishing well planter that works best in your yard? Have you fallen in love with the style, color, shape, or material of one or another?

Perhaps you have a vision now of where you will place it and which flowers you will fill it with. If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this post has been successful.

Be sure to leave a comment below about which of the wishing well planters you liked best.

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