Container Gardening – Choosing Plants

Container gardening is a fun and simple way to enjoy gardening – especially when it comes to choosing plants for your container garden. Some plants do well in containers, while others do not. You can grow a very wide variety of plants in containers as long as you choose your plants and containers carefully.

Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can enjoy container gardening. Container gardens are easier to care for than a traditional garden. I once had a neighbor who had at least 100 five gallon buckets in their yard – each boasting a vegetable or fruit plant. In a space of no more than 10×30 feet there were enough plants to feed several families. Of course, the plants you choose for container gardening will depend on what your goals are.

Most people choose to grow edible plants in their container gardens, because they don’t think of flowers or houseplants as being the same thing as container gardening.  Of course, container gardening allows you to garden the way you want to – choosing plants is part of the fun.

Most people just think the term container gardening refers to growing edible plants, so that’s what we’ll focus on here. You can grow many types of vegetables and herbs in containers, and a few types of fruit. 

Herbs are the most commonly grown edible plant for containers.  Vegetables come in second, and fruit isn’t grown in containers as often – probably because a lot of people think it would be too difficult to grow fruit in containers.

Strawberries are one fruit that grows particularly well in many types of containers.  Strawberries are generally quite hardy, and can even be grown in special grow bags that can be hung on a wall outdoors. 

Dwarf fruit trees can often be grown in large pots.  Many smaller dwarf citrus trees grow nicely in pots, and if kept well-pruned they can make beautiful indoor decorations.  Many types of dwarf berry bushes will grow in containers, although they are usually very heavy and can’t be moved easily.  Dwarf varieties of blueberries and raspberries have been successfully grown in containers.

Many varieties of herbs do well in containers.  Parsley is perhaps the most popular herb for container growing.  Basil and chives are also extremely popular for growing in containers.  Cilantro can be grown successfully in containers. 

In fact, almost all herbs can be grown successfully in containers.  The key is finding a large enough container.  Some herbs can easily be grown in relatively small containers.  Chives, parsley, and basil can all grow in smaller pots. 

But some plants grow a bit larger.  Sage, for example, is a bush.  It needs a pretty big pot.  Oregano also grows rather large, and needs a large container. Although technically a fruit, tomatoes are probably the most popular “vegetable” for home gardeners in general. 

Container gardeners are no exception, and they plant tomatoes in droves.  It’s probably due mostly to the fact that good tomatoes can be very difficult to find.  The tomatoes in most grocery stores are picked green and artificially ripened so they survive shipping without bruising and last longer on the shelves. 

Most tomato varieties can be grown very well in containers, especially cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, roma tomatoes, and small salad tomatoes. Other plants that are commonly grown in containers include lettuce and other salad greens, cucumbers, squashes, many types of beans and peas, radishes, carrots, scallions, all types of peppers, and even corn and potatoes. 

 Most vegetables can be grown in containers if you use the proper procedure.  You can easily grow most of your plants from seeds.  If you’re growing plants indoors, you can sow directly into the pot if you like, but you can risk damaging delicate seedlings during thinning. 

 You should probably grow most of your plants from seedlings that you purchase locally, but you can also start your own seedlings indoors in smaller pots, and then transplant them into larger pots later.  It’s easier to start plants from seedlings when you can, but you may find a lot of satisfaction in starting your own.

Enjoy choosing plants for your container gardening hobby!

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