Coco liner is the most common material used in hanging baskets. You may have bought one from the store that already came with a coco liner. But now it’s starting to degrade and maybe you’re looking for cheaper and longer-lasting alternatives.

You can use landscaping fabric instead of coco liner to line your hanging baskets. You can also use other materials like burlap, plastic, newspaper, and sphagnum moss. Some other items you can use as liner include plant pots, paper, and old jeans.

I’ve written all the details that will help you find out what will be the best liner for your hanging baskets. So keep reading.

1. Burlap

One of the best alternatives you can use instead of coco liner is burlap. It is cheaper but durable to line your planters with. The burlap material will cost you 1/5th of what a coco liner replacement for your planter would.

I recommend using burlap made from natural material like jute rather than synthetic ones. The material is permeable, light, and helps retain moisture.

The burlap material can be thin so you may need to use a double layer to line your planter. You can place the burlap in the planter and cut it from the top so it fits. If you keep a bit more that comes out of the planter it can help lift the burlap out if you need to.

The burlap material can lose moisture fast if you directly put soil in it. It’s best that you place a plastic bag inside the burlap and then put the potting soil in it. You can cut the plastic bag so the top remains 1-inch below the top of the planter.

You can make a few holes in the bottom of the plastic bag so it can drain out water. This will help the potting soil retain moisture for a longer time. It will also help keep the burlap in good condition for a long time before you need to replace it.

I’ve written a post that will help you learn more about lining your planter and the easiest way to do it. So do check it out.

2. Landscaping fabric

Another good alternative to coco coir is landscaping fabric. This material is inexpensive and it’s even more durable than burlap.

The material does not lose water as fast as some other materials. So you could use it even without the need for a plastic liner inside.

You do need to do a bit more work so this landscaping fabric fits inside your planter. You can fasten it to the planter using a metal wire that you pass through the fabric and tie to the planter.

I still prefer that you put a plastic bag inside the landscaping material and then fill it with the potting soil. This will make it last for several years before you need a replacement. You should make holes in the bottom of the plastic bag to drain excess water.

3. Plastic bag

You can use a plastic bag such as a bin liner or garbage bag to line your planter. This is probably the most inexpensive option you will find.

The material will retain water for a longer time than any natural material like coco coir. This could be a problem if the water does not drain out. So you need to poke a few holes in the bottom to allow drainage.

The other problem with a plastic liner is that it’s unattractive. If you’re looking to create an aesthetically pleasing garden, then the plastic liner may not be the best choice.

If you use a plastic liner, you need to make sure it stays in position otherwise the soil can shift and fall out. You can use a metal wire through the plastic and tie it to the planter to avoid this problem.

4. Sphagnum peat moss

Sphagnum peat moss is an alternative liner that is quite similar to coco liner when it comes to retaining moisture. It also looks quite similar to coco coir with its rustic look.

The material is obtained from peat bogs in certain parts of the world. It’s a renewable resource but takes a lot of time to renew. So there is quite less amount of this material available to use.

The sphagnum moss does not fit naturally in the planter or basket. You’ll need to moisten it well and press it to fit in your planter.

Like coco coir, the sphagnum moss will attract birds that will tear parts of it to build their nests. So you’ll need to replace this material after a few years.

You can find some cheap coco liner options in this post. I’ve also written how you can make the coco liner last for several years with some simple techniques.

5. Plant pot

Your hanging basket or planter could be a frame that is supposed to hold a liner made with coco coir. But you could use a regular plant pot inside it as an alternative.

You get all the benefits that you would when growing a plant in a pot. It will retain moisture longer and will last you a long time if you choose a material like plastic.

You do need to have drainage holes at the bottom to allow the excess water to run out.

A plastic pot would be a cheap alternative to coco coir liner. You can secure the pot to the hanging basket or planter using a wire tied around it.

plastic containers
Plastic containers I bought for plants

6. Paper

You can use several layers of paper as a cheap alternative to coco coir liner inside your planter. This could be paper like newspaper, paper bags, or pages from a notebook.

You can line your planter with the paper and then put the soil in it. This will help keep the soil inside the planter without falling out. It will also help keep the moisture in the soil when you water the planter.

The drawback of using paper is that it’s not durable and you’ll need to keep replacing it after a few weeks. The benefit is that this paper will degrade and add organic matter to the soil.

Make sure you don’t use magazine paper as those have paint that will not allow water to drain out of the paper. This will lead to problems like root rot that will damage the roots and kill the plant.

7. Old jeans

An old pair of jeans works great as a cheap alternative to a coco coir liner for your planter. You just need to cut up the jeans so you can create a layer of the material inside the planter.

The jeans are durable and can retain moisture when you water the plant. It will slowly release the water into the soil over a period of time.

The jeans will last for several months before they need a replacement. If you want to increase their durability further you could line the jeans with plastic and then put the potting soil inside it.

Make sure to poke some drainage holes in the plastic at the bottom.

8. Fiberglass liner

If you’re looking for a liner for your planter that is extremely durable, you can check out the fiberglass liner. 

You will need to spend more money on these as you need to get them in a custom size for your planter. Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of this liner.

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