Posted by: Brenda Kula | November 14, 2008

Recycling Pine Cones


In the Piney Woods region of Texas, you are apt to have lots of these trees in your yard. I love this old tree, though it sheds its fair share of pine needles all over my yard, roof, and plants.


The sky is such a beautiful mix of blues and whites today!


And use the pine cones for this…


Of course you can always use shards of pottery for drainage, and gravel, which I always add some of. But adding pine cones keeps the pot from being so heavy when you’re having to move it. And recycles itself when it breaks down. I gather them and throw them in the bottom, add some small river rock or gravel, and add my potting soil.


You can mulch your flower beds with the pine needles also.


Everyone wants to do their part to recycle. And you don’t even have to leave your yard if you live around here.


I potted up a bunch before Walli and I took off for our Meals On Wheels route today. She drives my car, and I make the deliveries. I’ve heard that with these tough time, some cities are having to close down their facilities. I sure hope that doesn’t happen here. All of my clients are elderly folks, grateful for a hot meal.

Look what I found blooming in front of my house a little bit ago. My azaleas.



And I suppose the four o’clocks just weren’t ready to leave yet. They’ve come back up by my front gate.






  1. I love pine cones but I am sooo allergic to them.

  2. Hi Brenda, I remember those pines very well from living in The Woodlands. My neighbors would bag their pine needles and give them all to me for my garden since I had no lawn! They had to get them off the grass and I could use them all. They do break down very quickly in that climate. I love the idea of the cones in the bottom of pots and had never heard of doing that before! Thanks for idea. I do love all your pots and decorations and especially those pansies. They help get us through the winter here too.

  3. Brenda .. you are such a kind hearted girl ! I’m sorry to hear problems may affect such a good mission as the meals on wheels .. things are getting rather scary aren’t they ? ..
    I love pine cones .. I have a “trapped” Austrian Pine in a container .. poor thing looks like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree .. it has never sprouted a cone yet .. I guess I wouldn’t either if I was stuck in a bucket ?
    There are pine cones scented with cinnamon and clove on sale for Xmas .. the smell is so wonderful I just want to curl up with them and stay there.
    I think I have pine tree/cone envy now .. LOL

  4. I never thought of recycling the pine cones like that its a good idea we have 3 red pines in the front yard they are massive things,over 60 years old.My FIL planted 3 pines in the back yard I am not sure what kind they are, that was about 10 years ago and they are about 12-14 feet tall already,gorgeous things too full on all sides. One year I was able to put Christmas lights in them when they were about my height, but that’s not happening anymore I refuse to climb a ladder on those slopes.
    I always thought pine needles were bad for gardens something about the acid in them… who knew you could use them…
    learn something every day.

  5. Pretty neat idea. Definitely organic. I went to master gardener last night and they had a cool idea for them too. They took a cheap tomato cage and added string around it, then hot glued a ton of pinecones on it to make a Christmas tree. A good outside decoration for a urn or something. I think I may try it with my ONE and only one pine tree. But I sure do love it-and those pine needles.

  6. That’s a good use for the pinecones. I wonder though–do they break down over time and cause your potted plants to sink? However, I guess they probably last a good long while.

  7. That’s a great way to recycle those pinecones into something useful. I love pineneedles for mulch around my acidic loving plants since our soil is naturally alkaline. That Azalea is quite pretty. What a nice surprise right before GBBD!

  8. Cool idea, I wonder if I could do the same with acorns? They’d probably just sprout and I’d have a pot full of oak!
    I see the black mondo grass, so pretty, almost an inky blackish blue!

  9. Great idea, Brenda! Never thought of using pinecone as shards in pottery for drainage. My yard is filled … hemlock, white pines, Norway, Douglis Fir and others … (I have run out of ideas for Christmas projects … big thanks!)

  10. Great idea for pine cones!
    I’m going to buy pansies tomorrow–hope they are as pretty as the ones you have! 🙂

  11. We used to live in the NJ Pines, Brenda, and we used the needles for mulch too. We loved the scents while walking on our property. If there’s one thing we miss here it’s the tall evergreens we don’t have on this bit of land. So…we’ve been planting! We only have one acre but we are putting evergreens everwhere we can. The goal on the east side of the house where the road is: no grass! All evergreens! We’ll get there! And we’re doing our bit for the earth at the same time.

    My motto: PLANT A TREE! 😉


  12. These are gorgeous pictures! My daughter lives in NC and has the same pines in her yard. The subdivision where she lives uses the pine needles for mulching in the landscaping.
    Me in Michigan, had snow already (melted) but more on the way this weekend.

    I’m coming to Texas later this month (San Antonio) my first time ever to visit your state! Bye bye snow…hope it’s warmer there.

  13. I wish I had some of your pine needles to use as mulch. Wait, I have an excess of neighbor’s lawn clippings. I hope your meals on wheels group can keep going through these tough time. The recipients need it now more than ever. It is very generous of you to use your time to help others.

  14. For some reason I had a hard time trying to find this post of yours. Great minds do think alike.

    I would love being able to use the pine needles as mulch. We’ve spent a fortune each year on mulch. I still have to get some more this year.

    I do love the idea of putting pinecones in the bottom of pots for filler.


  15. What a great idea …. never would have thought of pine cones in the pots…. but it make perfect sense….. your yard is so pretty… mine is a mess right now…

  16. Brenda,
    I adore that black mondo grass. I have never seen it before. Is it hard to find?

  17. Hi Brenda, We have pine trees all over our property and it’s nice to have the green in the winter time but right now they are shedding like crazy but we do use the needles for mulch so we get a nice new batch every Fall. We also have all the needles on the roof like in your photo. What a great idea to use the pine cones in the bottom of your planting pots. I always use packing peanuts but then they are not degradable so from now on I will use your idea. Right now we are having high winds and the pin needles are flying all through the air. Have a super great weekend. How is your poison ivy?

  18. Brenda, I don’t know what I would do without my pine trees. The free mulch is the best. You are right about using the pine cones in the bottom of large pots, but they are also great decorations in the winter. We also use them to help start fires in the fireplace and the chimenea. Yesterday, the wind was so strong, I think it knocked every dead needle off the trees. We will be starting to rake everything up in about two weeks when I have time off from work.

    Always Growing

  19. I am delighted to see your post about using tree cones as potshards. I started using spruce cones last summer, but have never seen this reccomendation in print before. My plants are thriving, so I assumed they had not been harmed by the spruce cones. So, good to find affirmation in writing.
    Thanks ever so much.

  20. […] See more at A View from the Pines   […]

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