Container vegetables are a wonderful option for people who don’t have a garden plot. Figuring out which vegetables to grow in containers doesn’t need to be difficult. In this post, I’ll talk more about how to choose the best vegetables for pots and planters, and share a list of my top picks.
One of the biggest benefits of growing in containers is that you have complete control over the environment. This is especially beneficial for veggies, since you can provide the perfect soil, water, and sunlight they need to produce all that yummy food.
You don’t have to make any sacrifices either. Growing vegetables in pots on a balcony, patio or deck can yield the same amount of food as a traditional garden plot. Woohoo!
There are tons of excellent vegetables to grow in containers. Below I will show you how to figure out which ones are the best, then I’ll give you a list of some of my favorite container vegetable plants.
What Veggies Grow Well In Containers
How do you figure out what vegetables are good for container gardening? That’s a great question, and one that I get asked a lot.
The good news is that practically any type of vegetable can be grown in a pot, as long as you use the right container for it. But, if you’re new to container vegetable gardening, then it’s best to start with the easiest ones.
Here are a few quick tips for choosing vegetables for container gardens…
- Choose small, compact vegetable plants
- Avoid large climbers or vining veggies
- Look for varieties that are labeled as “patio”, “bush”, or “container” vegetables
- Choose veggies that are proportionate to the size of the pot that you want to use
Best Container Vegetables For Pots & Planters
Now that you know what to look for when choosing container garden vegetable plants, it’s time to share my list. This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list. But, these are some of the best vegetables for container gardening to get you started…
1. Eggplant – If you’re a big fan of eggplant, you might be surprised to learn that it’s super easy to grow in pots and planters (and looks gorgeous too!). Eggplant needs full sun and fast draining soil. You may also want to add a cage or stakes to help support them as they grow taller and heavy with fruit.
2. Swiss chard – Another great container vegetable plant, Swiss chard is a cool-season crop that you can harvest all summer long. They’re great for adding tons of color to your potted veggie garden too. Chard can grow anywhere from part shade to sun, and performs best in well-draining soil.
3. Determinate tomatoes – Also known as bush tomatoes, determinate tomatoes are made for growing in pots. They need lots of sunlight and fast draining soil to produce the best crop. It’s especially important to consistently water your containerized tomato plants to prevent problems like cracking and blossom end rot.
4. Peas – Both vining and bush peas grow great in pots. But be sure to choose a large container for vining varieties, and either stake them or add a small trellis for them to climb. For the best results, be sure to give pea plants lots of water, and protect them from the hot sun.
5. Zucchini – Though not commonly grown as container garden vegetables, zucchini performs great in large pots. Zucchini plants love lots of sunshine and moist (but not soggy) soil. Once they grow larger, you can add a small trellis to help support the plant, if desired.
6. Peppers – There are tons of different types of peppers, and all of them grow very well in containers. Peppers are my favorite vegetables to grow in pots, and they require little care. Give them plenty of sunshine, and allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings, but never let it dry out completely.
7. Okra – Okra is a wonderful container garden vegetable that is both highly productive and has beautiful flowers. Place them in the sun for the best results. They don’t like wet feet, so plant them in soil that has good drainage, and let it to dry out a little between waterings. Okra plants can grow pretty tall, so use a large pot for them.
8. Bush beans – Another ideal container vegetable, bush beans are fast growers. The compact plants will continue to produce throughout the growing season. You can grow them in partial shade to sun. But the more sun they get, the better the harvest. Give them lots of water, but make sure to plant them in well-draining soil.
9. Kale – Since kale plants don’t need a lot of space to grow, they’re excellent vegetables for planters and pots. These long-season veggies are very cold hardy, and you can harvest from them all season long. Place kale plants in partial to full sun, and give them plenty of water, but never allow the soil to become soggy.
10. Tomatillo – Believe it or not, tomatillos are great vegetables for containers. They do grow very tall though, so plant them in a large pot, and be sure to add stakes or a cage support to keep them upright. Tomatillos perform best in full sun with plenty of water, and require fast-draining soil.
11. Spinach – Not only does spinach grow great as a container vegetable, it looks beautiful in pots too. It requires cool temperatures to grow it’s best, so be sure to plant it as early in the spring as you can. Spinach does well in sun to light shade, and needs quick-draining soil.
12. Lettuce – If you’re looking for fast growing vegetables in pots, then lettuce is perfect for you. This cool-season crop performs best in a shady spot, and loves getting lots of water. Plant lettuce in your pots very early in the spring for best results, and then again in late summer for a fall harvest.
13. Broccoli – Broccoli is another veggie that’s not commonly grown in pots, but does great. Plant them in early spring, and use a large planter for best results. Give your broccoli lots of sun and plenty of water, but never overwater. Once you harvest the main head, it will continue to produce small side shoots that you can harvest all summer long.
14. Bush squash – Bush varieties of squash are perfect vegetables to grow in containers because they are made for small spaces. Be sure to use a large pot, and give them plenty of sunlight. They needs lots of water, but never soggy soil. You may need to stake them, or add a small trellis to keep the plants growing upright.
15. Kohlrabi – Since kohlrabi is a compact plant that doesn’t need a lot of space, they’re excellent veggies for pots and planters. Place kohlrabi in the sun, and be sure to water them consistently. Never allow the soil to dry out, but don’t let it get soggy either. Harvest them in early summer, then plant a second batch for a fall harvest.
Choosing vegetables for container gardens should be fun. Now that you know what to look for, and which ones are the best to start with, it should be easy too. Pick your favorites, and be sure to take this list of container vegetables with you to the garden center.
Up next, learn how to choose the best potting soil for container gardening.
- Container Vegetable Gardening: Growing Crops in Pots in Every Space
- Beginners Guide To Patio Gardening
- The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible
- Container Gardening For Dummies
More Container Gardening Posts
- 21 Best Container Plants For Pots
- Container Flower Gardening Design Tips & Ideas
- How To Fertilize Outdoor Potted Plants & Containers
Tell us your favorite container vegetables that you would add to this list in the comments below.