Container Gardening: An Easy-To-Follow Guide For Beginners (2024)

Container gardening can also be referred to as pot gardening. It is the extensive growth of plants in a container instead of planting them on the ground. A vessel in gardening is usually a small, enclosed portable object that you choose to display your plants.

Most people prefer using pots, which is okay. You can also use boxes, baskets, tins, barrels, or a hanging basket. Here are a few things you need to consider when practicing container gardening.

Table of Contents

  • Choose A Container
    • Container Size
    • Type Of Material
      • Wood
      • Metal
      • Plastic
      • Fabric
    • Good Drainage
  • Decide Where To Place The Plants
    • Sunlight
    • Temperature
    • Water
    • Wind
  • Use High-Quality Soil
  • What Plants Can Grow In A Container Garden?
    • Simple Plants To Start With
  • Adding Plants To Your Container
    • Using The Right Tools
  • Caring Tips To Keep In Mind
  • Benefits Of Container Gardening

Choose A Container

Container gardening is ideal in places with limited garden spaces; therefore, your container’s choice will depend on several things. Again the location you wish to place the container matters. Let’s look at a few things you should look out for in your container’s choice.

Container Size

Ideally, a gardening container should be large enough to provide room for the soil and roots to spread. The type and amount of plants you desire to grow on the vessels influence the container’s size.

For shallow-rooted plants, you will only require a lesser container. Those crops that are deep-rooted will need more room and depth for the best results.

Type Of Material

There is a wide range of materials ideal for gardening containers. Avoid materials that are toxic to avoid accidental contamination. Each container has its merits and demerits.


Wood is easy to work with. You can use it to create gardening containers of all styles. It is an excellent option if you want a more traditional look. Use rot-resistant wood and avoid pressure-treated woods that may risk leaching arsenic into the soil.


Metal containers look fabulous, and they can make perfect planters. For use, they need to be painted to remain attractive. They create a unique look in the garden, but they are prone to rust and these metallic containers can burn the plants when it gets seriously hot.


Plastics are uniquely diverse, and some are extremely attractive and high-end. Whether you purchase a high-end container or a cheap ugly container, plastics are always practical. Plastic pots are resilient to damage and can resist cracks even when dropped. However, they become brittle with cold and age.


Fabric is an excellent material for making pots for growing plants. Plants love them! One best bit about them is that they are breathable. They are light in weight hence incredibly durable, and you can hose them off after a season. Plants can thrive in these.

Good Drainage

Drainage in potted plants is vital and should not be ignored at whatever cost. Plants require air, water, warmth, and proper lighting, which should be made available even in their boring container life.

Water to be supplied to the plant should be just enough. Whatever container you choose, drainage holes are essential because, without the holes, the soil becomes waterlogged, and the plants may end up dying. You can select self-watering, double-walled containers, or hanging baskets for plants that require frequent watering.

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Decide Where To Place The Plants

Container gardening is not always about what plant looks great in a given container. The placement of a container can play a significant role in how the plants thrive. Below are some of the factors to consider when looking for the best position to place the containers. These containers should be placed where the plants can thrive.


Container grown plants require light which varies from plant to plant. Some plants may require direct sunlight for longer hours than others. One advantage that container plants have is that they can be moved.

Plants can tell you when they don’t get enough lighting as the stems become thin and lean towards the light. You can use glow lights if you don’t have enough lighting. Always ensure the sunlight is about 6 inches above the plant.


The temperature required by gardening plants varies. Some may require warm temperatures, while others prefer cooler temperatures to thrive. Learning about the plant’s past is crucial; it allows you to choose a perfect temperature to make the plant feel at home. Ideally, some plants may require cooler temperatures at night; therefore, you need to know what works better.


Water is essential to plants as it helps them to move nutrients effortlessly. Most plants love to be watered when the soil is dry to the touch. For container-grown plants, always ensure to make drainage holes. The frequency of watering the plants depends on the plant size, time of the year, and the type of plant.

Look for an ideal position where you think it may be easier to run a drip line installed near the container. This drip lines with help to automate watering more like drip irrigation.


Container plants should be placed where the wind blows freely as there is a need for airflow. This way, they get all the air circulation they require for growth. When grown indoors, it may not be necessary to open the window as the temperature fluctuation can cause a slight breeze.

Where possible, you can use a fan for container house plants. Additionally, the wind enhances the evaporation rates from the leaves. Evaporation plays a significant role in the nutrient transportation needed by the plants.

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Use High-Quality Soil

The soil to use in your container should be well balanced and able to retain moisture and promote adequate drainage. Unless you have a well-draining sandy loam or silt loam soil, your container soil should be much lighter. Average garden soil may not drain well in pots, while clay soil may retain too much water for the roots to grow.

For suitability, you can mix sand and organic matter to make the container mix suitable for your plants. Remember that the plant grown in containers entirely depends on you for essential needs; therefore, you should choose the best soil. The best soil for containers has the following features:

  • It should be a medium soil, therefore not too light or too fluffy.
  • It should have good drainage and able to hold moisture.
  • It ought to be porous to allow for water and air to reach the plant’s roots.
  • The smell should be pleasant, moist, and not soggy.
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What Plants Can Grow In A Container Garden?

A wide range of plants can survive and thrive while grown in containers. These plants may be flowers, herbs, and vegetables, among others.

  • Flowers

Flowers come in different colors and shapes. They give your home an attractive and warm feeling. Many flowers do well in containers and bring splashes of color to balcony container gardens. These flowers may be left to grow, and when cut, they look beautiful. They include azaleas, calla lilies, celosia, chamomile, chrysanthemums, daffodils, and dahlias.

  • Herbs

Herbs are natural to grow and have been ranked among the most rewarding container plants. You can grow different herbs together as long as you don’t mix those requiring plenty of water with those that like well-drained soils.

Make sure that you choose herbs of similar sizes because one might overly grow than the other. The herbs suitable for container growing include rosemary, thyme, chives, mint, chervil, coriander, and bay.

  • Vegetables

Vegetables are commonly grown by most people in garden containers. You don’t need a vast place to grow these vegetables. Some of the most natural plants to grow include but not limited to tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, potatoes, and kales.

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Simple Plants To Start With

If you are a beginner, it’s good that you know which plants are easy to grow with your limited space. Tomatoes are among the easy plants to grow, and people have adopted growing their own. This depends on your container size and the varieties that you prefer to grow.

Herbs like coriander and sage can thrive powerfully on individual containers. They don’t require as much attention provided they have all the necessities and are placed in the right place for them to boom. Strawberries also do well in containers, but you should ensure that they get plenty of sunlight and are harvested regularly.

Cucumbers, on the other hand, are planted vertically to get the best yields. It does not also require much attention, making it easy to grow. Leafy vegetables cannot be left out on this list as most people have developed a culture to grow their vegetables at home. Those are among the most natural plants that you should give a trial.

Adding Plants To Your Container

After choosing the best container for your plant, you should prepare the same and fill it with the right soil. The more productive your container soil is, the better your plants grow. After filling the container with the fertile soil, you can choose your appropriate plant food.

Plant food should help crop proliferate and reduce transplant loss. After that, you may follow the following steps when transplanting.

  • Choose a plant appropriate for your area conditions to avoid disappointments and ensure that it establishes quickly.
  • Prepare the plant you intend to add to the container. This is by collecting any yellowish leaves.
  • Trim the plants by cutting directly above the leaves node to encourage side growth.
  • Position your tallest plants at the center of the pot and make sure not to compress the soil.
  • Fill the soil back into the remaining spaces to ensure the plant is tucked securely in place.
  • Water the plants to give them a lovely long drink until the water runs out of the drainage holes.
  • You may choose to fertilize your crops. Choose a fertilizer that has higher phosphorus that encourages plants to boom.
  • You can now maintain the plants to ensure you get higher yields.
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Using The Right Tools

The essential tools you require for container gardening include a hand trowel to mix the soil, dig holes, and also help in seedlings transplant. Hand cultivator helps to till the container soil and mix the slow to release fertilizer.

Pruner is to cut woody stems and small branches or to harvest vegetables. Gardening gloves prevent your hands from becoming muddy. Watering can be for holding water that you will need for the plants. Micro-tip scissors are for snipping off leaves and flowers.

Caring Tips To Keep In Mind

  1. You can prevent your garden tools from rusting by storing them in the builder’s sand.
  2. The fungus is bad for your garden and you can keep it away by sprinkling cinnamon on top of the soil. This way, it will not grow on your seedlings.
  3. Don’t throw away toilet roll holders. You can repurpose them as mini biodegradable seeding pots.
  4. If you have some tomatoes in your garden, you can sweeten them by sprinkling some baking soda on the soil.
  5. Place plastic forks upright in the soil to deter animals from getting into your garden.
  6. Plant mosquito-repelling herbs to repel mosquitos.
  7. Placing overripe fruits on ceramic plates in a shady spot makes a perfect butterfly feeder.

Benefits Of Container Gardening

If you are not yet convinced about growing plants in containers, here are several reasons that may change your mind.

Container gardens can be grown in any place in your home. You can place them on your balcony, patio, or courtyard. There are chances for you to produce a variety of plants that may not be suitable to grow in your garden soil. The container is accessible to almost anyone, including those with limited mobility.

The small surfaces do not require frequent weeding because weeds are unlikely to find their way into the container. You can move the containers to your desired place to meet the plant’s conditions to thrive. Additionally, you can rearrange plants to suit your taste.

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Container gardening, also known as pot gardening, is the practice of growing plants in containers instead of planting them directly in the ground. Containers can include pots, boxes, baskets, tins, barrels, or hanging baskets. This form of gardening is particularly popular in places with limited garden spaces, as it allows individuals to grow plants in small, enclosed portable objects [[1]].

When practicing container gardening, there are several factors to consider:

Choose A Container

The choice of container depends on various factors, including the available space and the location where the container will be placed. The size of the container should be large enough to provide room for the soil and roots to spread. Shallow-rooted plants require smaller containers, while deep-rooted plants need more room and depth [[1]].

Different materials can be used for gardening containers, each with its own merits and demerits:

  • Wood: Wood is easy to work with and can create a more traditional look. However, it's important to use rot-resistant wood and avoid pressure-treated woods that may leach harmful substances into the soil [[1]].
  • Metal: Metal containers can look fabulous and create a unique look in the garden. However, they may rust and can become hot, potentially burning the plants [[1]].
  • Plastic: Plastic containers are practical and resilient to damage. They can resist cracks and are available in a wide range of attractive options. However, they can become brittle with cold and age [[1]].
  • Fabric: Fabric pots are breathable, lightweight, and durable. They provide excellent drainage and are loved by plants [[1]].

Good Drainage

Proper drainage is essential for potted plants. Without drainage holes, the soil can become waterlogged, leading to the death of the plants. It's important to choose containers with drainage holes or opt for self-watering or double-walled containers for plants that require frequent watering [[1]].

Decide Where To Place The Plants

The placement of container plants plays a significant role in their growth and well-being. Consider the following factors:

  • Sunlight: Container plants require varying amounts of sunlight. Some plants may need direct sunlight for longer hours, while others may prefer partial shade. It's important to place the containers where the plants can receive the appropriate amount of sunlight. If necessary, containers can be moved to different locations to optimize sunlight exposure [[1]].
  • Temperature: Different plants have different temperature requirements. Some may thrive in warm temperatures, while others prefer cooler temperatures. Understanding the plant's temperature preferences can help you choose the best location for the containers [[1]].
  • Water: Water is essential for plants, and the frequency of watering depends on factors such as plant size, time of year, and plant type. Containers should be placed in a position where it is easy to water the plants, and consideration should be given to installing a drip line for automated watering [[1]].
  • Wind: Container plants benefit from airflow, so it's important to place them where there is adequate wind circulation. When grown indoors, a slight breeze can be created using a fan [[1]].

Use High-Quality Soil

Choosing the right soil is crucial for container gardening success. The soil should be well-balanced, able to retain moisture, and promote adequate drainage. Average garden soil may not drain well in pots, while clay soil may retain too much water. It's recommended to use a lighter soil mix by adding sand and organic matter to improve drainage and moisture retention [[1]].

What Plants Can Grow In A Container Garden?

A wide range of plants can thrive in containers, including flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Some popular choices include:

  • Flowers: Flowers add color and beauty to container gardens. Examples of flowers that do well in containers include azaleas, calla lilies, celosia, chrysanthemums, and dahlias [[1]].
  • Herbs: Herbs are rewarding container plants and can be grown together as long as their water requirements are similar. Popular herbs for container gardening include rosemary, thyme, chives, mint, and coriander [[1]].
  • Vegetables: Many vegetables can be successfully grown in containers, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, and leafy greens like kale [[1]].

Simple Plants To Start With

For beginners, there are several easy plants to start with in container gardening. Some examples include tomatoes, herbs like coriander and sage, strawberries, cucumbers (grown vertically), and various leafy vegetables [[1]].

Adding Plants To Your Container

When adding plants to a container, it's important to choose the right container size, prepare the soil, and follow proper transplanting techniques. Position the tallest plants in the center of the pot, fill the remaining spaces with soil, and water the plants thoroughly. Fertilizing the plants can also help promote growth [[1]].

Using The Right Tools

Essential tools for container gardening include a hand trowel, hand cultivator, pruner, gardening gloves, watering can, and micro-tip scissors [[1]].

Caring Tips To Keep In Mind

Here are a few caring tips for container gardening:

  • Store garden tools in builder's sand to prevent rusting.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on top of the soil to prevent fungus growth.
  • Repurpose toilet roll holders as biodegradable seeding pots.
  • Sweeten tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda on the soil.
  • Place plastic forks upright in the soil to deter animals.
  • Plant mosquito-repelling herbs in containers.
  • Use overripe fruits on ceramic plates as butterfly feeders [[1]].

Benefits Of Container Gardening

Container gardening offers several benefits, including the ability to grow plants in any space, the flexibility to move containers to optimize growing conditions, and the prevention of weeds. It is accessible to individuals with limited mobility and allows for a variety of plants to be grown, even if the garden soil is not suitable for them [[1]].

I hope this information helps you get started with container gardening! Let me know if you have any more questions.

Container Gardening: An Easy-To-Follow Guide For Beginners (2024)
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