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Reusing Candle Jars to Plant Succulents

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Have you ever wondered what to do with the used candle jars after they have burned out?

Reusing them as plant potters is a great way to recycle these jars and give your succulents a shiny new home.

Candle jars can be reused when the candle has burned out or the candle has lost it’s once enticing aroma. Small plants and succulents are great for repurposing old or used candle jars as planters as they create an aesthetically beautiful home for these small plants to grow.

In order to repurpose old or used candle jars as plant potters there are some things to take into consideration when transplanting which includes plant size, soil mix, drainage and repotting method which we will discuss further in this article.

Repotting a succulent in candle jars

Can Left Over Candle Wax Harm Plants?

Currently there is no scientific study to prove that candle wax can harm plants but from my experience what i have found, is that candle wax has no effect on the growth or the roots of succulents. 

Its effects if it actually has any at all will not affect plant growth.

The plant’s roots spread out normally within the soil in search of nutrients and water as it would normally provided that the planter is large enough.

Additionally, whatever residual wax if any, will not leach into the soil.

Plant in a Large Enough Jar

Candle jars come in all sizes and shapes and the most popular ones are made of glass. Planters can also come in plastic and metal finishings.

Despite the type of the planter, the size can matter when it comes to transplanting. When you decide to transplant your succulent you may want to transplant in a candle jar that is larger in size than the old planter that housed the succulent. 

The new planter should accommodate the succulent and also have room for new root growth and plant development.

Can a Glass Jar be Used?

Glass jars can certainly be used for transplanting plants especially succulents.The only downside is that if the jar is left in full sunlight the soil may ten to start growing moss from the side that is exposed to the full light while the other sides remain normal without moss.

Rotating the jar can help eliminate this effect of light and moss growth and can have other benefits such as more symmetrical plant growth which aids in the aesthetics of the plant.

If the glass planter is unavoidably exposed to a high amount of light you can always opt for coating the glass with some type of coating like spray paint or pappering, but this takes away from the beauty that comes with planting in a glass planter. 

Seeing the beautiful plant on top and the healthy soil below is exciting as a plant owner.

Additionally, the glass jar will give you insight when the succulent needs replanting as you would see the roots showing to the sides and at the bottom of the planter.

This is helpful to the plant as it would prevent stress of being in a pot that is too small for too long and it creates an opportunity for a new plant to be planted into the glass pot.

How to Remove Wax From a Candle Jar

Cleaning Glass candle jar

There are a few methods which you can use to remove the wax fro the candle jar

  1. Pouring Hot Water Into the Jar

    The easiest method for removing the residual wax from an old candle jar is by using hot water. One method includes you having to pour the hot water into the candle jar which allows the wax to melt and float to the top.

    The wax floats to the top because it is less dense than the water that is heating it which causes it to float. Same effect like oil and water.

    The candle jar is then removed and the wax can be wiped off using a paper towel. 

    You may find that there is still some residual wax as the insides may seem greasy. This can be removed by cleaning the jar using some dishwashing liquid. 

    Even after washing if there is still that greasy feel, don’t worry the wax won’t harm the plant as previously stated.
  2. Hot Water Bath on the Stove –

    Another method is by placing the candle jar into a bath of hot water and melting the wax.

    The wax is then poured out into another container which it can be repurposed later.
  3. Freezing –

    This method is also easy as it just involves placing the candle with wax into the freezer and allowing it to freeze.

    After the wax is frozen it can be dug out using a a spoon or fork The residual wax can be removed using a paper towel and washing with a soapy liquid.
  4. Heating in the oven –

    This method involves placing the jar on a flat pan, lined with absorbent wax paper, then placing it in the oven at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes to prevent the risk of cracking the glass with heat stress.

Here is a table showing the methods of removing candle wax from glass jar

Pouring Hot waterEasy and FastHave greasy residue
FreezingEasy, and fast prep timeCan Crack the Jar, takes time to freeze
Baking in the ovenEffective if doing a lot of candle jars at onceCan crack the jar from heat stress
Using a Water Bath on the stoveWax melts fastMore residual remains after pouring out

Are Drainage Holes Necessary?

Repurposing candle jars as plant pots may come with the downside of not having drainage holes. 

Drainage holes can however be made in plastic and metal jars using a drill or a hot stake. Caution must be taken in both cases as the candle jar is already small and any slip can cause an injury to your hands.

But what if you have a glass jar? Making a hole in a glass jar may be almost impossible without cracking the glass. 

The drainage hole is not a necessity once you don’t overwater the plant. 

The best part of planting succulents in glass jars is that the recommended method for watering succulents however is by misting or spraying water from a spray bottle. 

If you go this way you can ensure that the plant does not get overwatered, risking its health.

Repotting the Succulent – 

  1. Use a well-draining potting soil or succulent mix
  2. If the potter does not have drainage holes use stones at the bottom
  3. Fill the potter ¼ way with cactus potting soil
  4. Gently loosen the soil from the old succulent potter. This is done to prevent yanking out and damaging roots when removing the plant
  5. Clean the old dirt off from the succulent
  6. Suspend the cactus into the new potter with the clean roots
  7. Add the rest of the cactus potting soil around the roots and fill up to the top of the potter ensuring not to overwhelm the plant
  8. Water the succulent using a mist application
  9. Add a layer of rocks as the perfect finishing touch. The rocks can be colored depending on your taste.
Repotting a succulent

The Takeaway –

Repotting is a normal step when growing plants in potters. Finding new potters can be a hustle, especially finding ones that fit your taste.

Candle jars are common to most households and provides both beauty and great smelling aromas within the home. These jars make a great recyclable item to use a plant potter and are great for smaller plants like succulents.

Succulents and smaller plants can be repotted into candle jars after successful removal of the wax.

With the right potting mix your plants will flourish as they were meant to while adding additional beauty from their new home.

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