Guide to container gardening - gardenstead Skip to content
Clay container and cement container

Guide to container gardening

Container gardening can look really pretty in your garden, and it also serves a practical purpose. It is great for those who don’t have the garden space but are still interested in planting flowers or vegetables outdoors.

Clay container and cement container

What do I need to know about container gardening?

Container sizes: Make sure that you pick a container that is large enough for your plant to have room to grow. Keep in mind the root system your plant has, because plants with larger root systems will need more room. Larger containers also hold more soil which means the soil will stay moist longer and is more likely to keep a stable temperature.

If you plan on growing root vegetables in your container, you’ll need to be mindful of how deep the soil needs to be for your vegetables to grow. For example, if you’re planting carrots in containers, your container should be at least 20” inches deep for full grown carrots. You can find the size of your vegetables when they’re full grown on the back of your seed package.

Container drainage: It is very important when picking a container to choose one with draining holes at the bottom. This is to ensure that the water is able to drain out of the container and the plants don’t get waterlogged, which can cause them to die. Also because your plants are above ground they will need to be watered frequently during the hot summer months.

Wood container flowers
Metal and clay container flowers

Picking the right container: There are many different types of containers made from a variety of materials.

  • Terracotta containers look very nice in your garden but they can break very easily, and are not suitable for the winter as they can break in cold temperatures. They are also not the best option for shrubs or perennials.
  • Concrete containers are not easily breakable like the clay containers and they can last outside all year round. The downside is that because they are so heavy they shouldn’t be used on balconies or decks, and concrete containers are very difficult to move around.
  • Ceramic glazed containers are great for holding in moisture and they don’t get too hot in the sun, however, they can be very expensive. The terracotta containers are similar but are a much cheaper option compared to the ceramic glazed.
  • Plastic or fiberglass containers don’t break the bank and are easy to move around, but they don’t usually last very long.
  • Wood containers are relatively easy to build yourself and it protects the roots for when the temperature fluctuates. Make sure to choose a wood that is rot-resistant, otherwise it will not last long outside and the water will damage the container.
  • Metal containers are very hardy and they last a very long time, however, because of the material they conduct heat very quickly.
Clay container

Remember that some of these containers can get pretty heavy once filled with soil so it may be best to place the container in its designated spot before you fill it with moistened soil and your plants.

Almost anything can be used as a container whether it is a large watering can or a wheelbarrow. You also don’t necessarily need to buy one from the store, the wood and concrete containers can be made right at home. Get creative and look to reuse items you have at home, you could even reuse an old milk jug!

Bush beans growing in a milk jug

There is a wide variety of plants, vegetables and herbs that can be grown in containers. Many people don’t think that it is a viable option but in fact it works great!

Once you pick a container that is right for your garden, purchase potting soil, the right fertilizer and your seeds, and you are ready to get started.

yellow petaled flower by elias sorey unsplash

hey there

sign up for
our weekly

We promise to only share good stuff about plants and people who love plants.