Ultimate Guide to Container Gardening – What You Can Grow and How

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Summer is here, and that means it’s time to throw on the gloves and spend as much time as possible in the garden.

Even if you’re reading this in the depths of winter, is it ever too soon to start thinking about what to do with your garden when the sun comes out?

The answer? No, it’s never too soon.  

Container gardening is a fantastic way to really let your inner gardener shine, and it’s something that anyone can do.

I always felt cursed because the only plants I ever had were cacti as they were the only ones that lived.

However, I decided to give container gardening a try last year in hopes that they would actually survive; they did.  

I want everyone to find the same kind of joy in their garden that I did, and that is why I have spent time carefully crafting this ultimate guide to container gardening.

It’s full of handy facts and techniques, answers to your most pressing questions, and heaps of general garden facts.  

Ultimate Guide to Container Gardening – What You Can Grow and How

How Do I Start a Container Garden

How Do I Start a Container Garden?

Different types of camping

Benefits of Container Gardening

Benefits of Container Gardening

Types of Containers

Types of Containers


Container Gardening Tips and Techniques

Container Gardening Tips and Techniques

Selecting Plants for the Right Container

Selecting Plants for the Right Container

What Vegetables Grow Well in Pots

What Vegetables Grow Well in Pots

Conclusion

Conclusion

PART 1:
How Do I Start a Container Garden?


How Do I Start a Container Garden

The first, and perhaps, most important chapter is all about how to start your first container garden. Here, I will cover what it is, the kind of plants you can expect to have, and the basic equipment you need to be able to get things going. There’s not much to it, and that’s what makes it such a great way to spruce your garden up.  

What is Container Gardening?  

It is also fondly known as pot gardening, and it’s all about having loads of pots (or containers) organised in an aesthetically pleasing manner and filled with plants. It can also include hanging baskets, as they are technically a container, as well as a barrel or a tin.

What could be more enjoyable and wholesome than that? Honestly, gardening is one of the most relaxing past times in existence, and you are going to love learning more about this fantastic form.  

What to Plant? 

So, what are you going to plant? In reality, you can plant pretty much anything, and the final chapter of this guide actually contains a great little list of plants to get you started and give you some ideas. You need to think about the kind of garden you want to grow, and the plants you want to see inside it.

Take things like the size of your desired plants into account, the pot size they will require, and where in the garden they are going to be placed. All of these are aspects that I will look into in more detail as we make our way through this guide.  

What You Need

Before you begin, you need a handy list of the things you will need in order to create the ultimate gardenWhile my checklist contains the basics, it is also important to remember that this is not set in stone; you can mix things up as much as you want. Here’s my list for all things gardening:  

  • Pots or planters of your choice  
  • Good quality soil  
  • Compost and fertilizer  
  • Seeds/plants of your choice  
  • Trowel 
  • Gardening gloves 
  • Watering can 

PART 2:
Benefits of Container Gardening


Benefits of Container Gardening

Why should you bother with container gardening though? What’s the point? Well, aside from being beautiful and fun to do, there are actually quite a few benefits to this handy form of horticulture. Below, I have listed each of them so that you get a clear idea of what it can do for you: 

It takes up less space. They can be as big or small as you want, which means they are suited to large homes and tiny apartments without gardens. They can be on the ground, vertical, or in the air; there are no limitations.  

Easy to maintain. No need to worry about weeds, very little effort, and a whole load of fun. It’s not like having a traditional garden; there is so much less hassle involved in a container garden because everything is confined to specific spaces.  

Perfect for beginners. Even if you have no gardening experience, it doesn’t matter. Container gardens are exceptionally easy to manage and look after, which is what makes them so ideal. As long as you follow the instructions, you are sure to have a successful experience.  

Beautiful to look at. They are simply stunning, and that is a fact. It’s also a benefit because sitting outside and just looking at a gorgeous garden is something that makes us feel good. We all deserve nice things, and a container garden is the perfect example of that.  

Can be done throughout the year. It doesn’t matter what the seasons are like; your container garden will be fine. You can change the plants in the pots, or work to keep the same ones alive during each of the seasons. They can be moved indoors when the weather gets too cold, and you can alter their environment according to their needs.  

Easy to harvest. It really is so much easier to get herbs, vegetables, and other edibles out of the pots. Forget digging; you just need to tip the container up to get those ripe and tasty treats. Once you’re done, you can start the whole process again. It couldn’t be simpler.  

Can be taken around with you. Portability is key, so if you move to a new house or need to bring everything inside your container garden can do just that. As everything is in pots, it just needs to be lifted and placed in its new location. Job done.  

Great for the whole family. If you have kids that want to get into gardening, container gardening is a brilliant place to start. It is easy for kids to do, and it has very little risk associated with it. As long as you do it right, the plants will grow, and your little ones will have something they can care for and nurture themselves.  

PART 3:
Types of Containers   

Types of Containers

Before you can do anything, you need to know more about the containers you are going to be using. Which type, colour, and size will you need in order to make the most of your space? This chapter is all about containers, and it contains (pun intended) everything you’ll ever need to know about them.  

Container Sizes 

It tends to be easier to grow plants in large containers as opposed to small ones. This is because there is more room for soil, it will stay moist for longer, and it is able to resist rapid fluctuations in temperature.

If you use hanging baskets, this is the perfect example of containers that are prone to drying out quickly and therefore needing additional maintenance.  

You also need to take into consideration which plants you will be growing in each container. This is something you can explore in even more detail in the final chapter of this guide, and you can skip ahead if you want to learn more about them.

There are little things about each plant that you need to think about, like the root growth and space, as well as the area they have to grow and flower. The size and weight will also be impacted by where your container garden is, especially if it is on a balcony or a deck. In these cases, make sure you check what the maximum weight it can take is.  

Container Colour and Materials

Here’s a fun fact; light-coloured containers keep the soil cooler than darker ones. There are pros and cons to all of the container materials, so choosing the best one isn’t always an easy task.

Your friendly neighborhood gardener is here to make things a little easier for you, though. Let’s take a look at each type of pot and what makes them good, as well as no so good: 

  • Clay and terracotta. These are beautiful, but they break easily and are very fragile. They are also easily damaged by the freezing and thawing process, so you may find they crack as a result. Definitely not suitable for shrubs and perennials.  
  • Cast concrete. These are durable, and they can be attractive if you put a little effort into them. They are really heavy though, and the best way to avoid this is to buy a pot made from a concrete blend to get a lighter result with the same strength.  
  • Plastic. These are light, cheap, and they come in a range of designs and colours. Of course, you need to make sure it uses a safe plastic (something you will learn more about in the next chapter), but they tend to make excellent gardening pots.  
  • Baskets. These look pretty, but they do need to be lined with plastic in order to prevent the soil from falling out and it losing too much water. All you need to do is punch some holes in the plastic for drainage, and you’re good to go.  

  • Polyurethane. These look at lot like terracotta or concrete pots, but they are actually 90% lighter. They are resistant to chips and cracks, and they will also insulate roots against hot and cold temperatures. As a result, they are ideal for plants that are out all year.  

  • WoodThese looks and feel natural, which gives them a very appealing aesthetic. They also protect roots from rapid temperature changes and are incredibly sturdy. When selecting a wood pot, choose one that is naturally resistant to rot so that it lasts longer and doesn’t end up attracting parasites to your plants.  

  • MetalThese are strong, and they look pretty good, but they also conduct heat. This exposes the roots to rapid fluctuations in temperature that can damage them. Therefore, they are really not recommended as your container gardening pots.  

Can You Grow Plants in Clear Pots? 

You see clear pots at the garden centre or the supermarket, and I have often been left wondering if they actually grow well in there. In short, the answer is both yes and no. Some plants do well in clear pots, and others will die without the darkness.

For plants that grow in the soil naturally, a traditional pot leads to the best growth results. There are also plants with light-seeking roots that naturally grow without soil, and these are the ones that do best in clear containers.  

But why is this the case? Here is a little more information on how certain plants grow, and why the type of container has such an impact on overall growth: 

  • Soil roots and darkness. These roots actively seek the darkness and moisture of the soil, and they have hormones (auxins) that direct their growth away from the light and deeper into the earth.

    When in pots, they will take up every inch of soil that they can in order to absorb nutrients to boost growth. The less light that gets into the pot, the better.  
  • Air roots and lightThese roots live for the sunlight, and the plants are often referred to as epiphytes. They draw water and nutrients through their exposed roots, which are often white in colour.

    They need a delicate balance between oxygen and water, as it is easy to drown them, and clear containers are the best way to help them grow well. They take extra work, but are well worth the effort in the end.  

Container Drainage 

Regardless of what you are planting, your containers need to have a drainage system if you want them to work effectively. Without it, the soil will become waterlogged, and the plants will drown and die. The best way to achieve this is with holes in the base of the pot, and they don’t need to be massive in order to be effective.  

All you need to do is ensure that they allow the excess water to drain out comfortably. If you want to use pots without holes, also known as cachepots, they are best placed over the drainage pot as decoration. It also stops the drained water from getting everywhere and keeps things tidy.  

Types of Containers

How to Improve Drainage in Potted Plants

So, now you know a little more about the drainage process, but what about improving it? You’re going to want your system to be the best it can be in order to flourish, and boosting the drainage process is the first step there. Here are a few things you can try in order to get more out of it.  

Add plenty of compost to your soil. A lot of soil has sandy properties, and this means that the water is lost faster, and the soil does not retain it very well. This is less than ideal, and that is why you add compost to the mix.

The compost acts like a sponge so that it can retain enough water to feed the roots, and the excess drains away. Now your plants are happy, and you aren’t watering them too much.  

Improve the soil texture. This tends to involve adding rocks and other small debris to the mix. For rocks, they are often placed at the bottom of the pot to act as a reservoir and allow excess water to drain through.

This is often down to personal preference, however, and I have a little section later on about the debate on this topic. It can be effective and ineffective, but everything is worth trying once.  

You can also buy a potting mix from your local garden centre, and these tend to be the perfect blend for most container gardens. It saves you a lot of time and effort, as well as ensuring excellent levels of drainage for your plants. Here are some of the qualities you can expect to find in a good potting mix: 

  • Drains well  
  • Easy to wet again  
  • Stable  
  • Good weight  
  • Optimum pH levels  
  • Easy to store  

Choosing the right container is a big factor too. This is what this particular chapter is all about, but it really is vital. Use all of the information given to you here in order to pick something that works well and will be a suitable home for your plants.

Remember that the holes in the base will eventually clog and you will need new pots – sometimes it just happens faster than expected.  

Container Preparation

Before you fill them with soil, you need to decide where each container is going. After all, they get really heavy when they are full and moving them will be less than fun. Plus, the aesthetics are half the fun when creating a container garden. 

Take your time figuring out the perfect layout and really have some fun with the planning process. Just remember to find a spot that allows access to the morning sun so that your plants get the nutrients they need in order to thrive.  

Once you have organised your pots accordingly, you should also make sure you are using the right kind of soil. Plain garden soil tends to be too dense for container gardening, and a houseplant mix is often the best call instead.

If you are using much larger containers, use a soil-less plating mixture that is quite coarse in order to maintain the balance between oxygen and water.  

Before you fill the containers with plants, you should also pre-moisten the soil. You can do this by watering it before you fill the containers or by flooding the containers with water several times and then stirring the mixture. The soil must be completely moist before you decide to put the plants in; this achieves the best results.  

Make sure you do not fill the container to the top with soil either, as you need to ensure that you leave a good amount of space for watering. There are spacing rules for container gardening, but you can throw all of these aside if you have a mixed planting area. Allow them to grow densely, pruning them as needed to help them flourish and grow.  

PART 4:
Container Gardening Tips and Techniques


Container Gardening Tips and Techniques

There are specifics that come with container gardening, and if you want to grow a successful garden, you need to be on top of your game. These handy tips and tricks contain a wealth of information that you won’t want to be without. See it as the answer to many of your most pressing questions.  

Importance of the Right Soil  

This is such a critical choice, because the soil means everything when you are growing plants. It’s not just about their survival and getting the right nutrients; it is also in regard to their ability to defend themselves against garden pests and diseases.

This is why choosing the right soil from the start is such a vital part of the process. Why don’t we take a little look at the situation in more detail?  

You should steer clear from cheap soil. It’s tempting because of the money it can save you, but in reality, it isn’t going to give your plants the start they need in life. 

Their growth might be stunted, or they may not even grow at all. Instead, you should find a reputable retailer and talk to them about the various soil options available to you based on the kind of container garden you want.  

Traditional garden soil isn’t going to cut it either, and you can’t just accept it as your chosen blend. There are not enough nutrients, air, or water within it for the plants to grow, and it may even end up killing them.

There are little DIY tips you can use to create better soil using the traditional stuff, but it is often easier to head down to the garden centre and buy the appropriate blend.  

Adding compost to your soil can be massively beneficial in terms of nutrients, and you can make it yourself from household waste in order to keep things green. Plant life loves compost, and it will help it to grow well.

You should also feed it with fertilizer, and I will always strongly recommend that you use a natural one as it will enrich the soil and the plants.  

How to Plant Flowers in Pots Outdoors 

Now for the fun part, actually planting your flowers in their containers. I actually sourced a really good plating video that you might want to watch to get a good visual for what to do, and I have detailed written instructions below it as well so that you have a guide when you are out in the garden. Take a look and see what you think.  

Step 1: If you are using drainage material, such a rock, place these at the bottom of the pot. For very large pots, you only need a drainage layer of around three inches, and for smaller pots, the layer will be thinner.  

Step 2: Fill the container with your chosen soil, leaving room at the top for plants as well as watering. Make a groove for the plant to sit in.  

Step 3: Take your plants and carefully remove them from their existing pots. Be especially gentle with the roots and take your time to tease them out.  

Step 4: Place the plant in the groove and gently cover it with the soil. You can then water it to remove any air pockets, as well as top it up with additional soil if needed.  

Step 5: Step back and admire your work; you just planted the first part of your new garden!  

Now for the fun part, actually planting your flowers in their containers. I actually sourced a really good plating video that you might want to watch to get a good visual for what to do, and I have detailed written instructions below it as well so that you have a guide when you are out in the garden. Take a look and see what you think.  

Watering and Taking Care of Your Plants  

Keeping your plants watered and happy is one of the keys to success. You have to make sure that they are watered regularly in order to ensure they grow well and are healthy. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this particular question.

It really can depend. The best way to determine if your plants need watering is to gently press the soil. If it feels dry from the tip of your finger, then it needs to be watered.  

Of course, this also depends on the plant that you are caring for as well. Succulents like their soil a little dry, vegetables want it nice and moist so that they are juicy themselves. You have to brush up on your plant knowledge and learn more about the types you want in your container garden. 

There is method to the watering process as well, and it is important that the keys steps are followed if you want your little garden to truly thrive: 

  • Water early in the morning to prevent the soil from getting soggy and attracting parasites  
  • Water the soil and not the leaves to prevent sunburn  
  • Ensure there is proper drainage in your pots  
  • Water them carefully so that they do not get waterlogged or under-watered  

Do I Need to Put Rocks in the Bottom of a Planter? 

This is an area of heavy debate, which I know might sound odd. Gardening experts are very divided when it comes to whether or not you should have rocks at the bottom of your planter.

Some say that it helps drainage alongside the holes in the base of the pot, but others say it actually makes things worse. They reckon the rocks actually get stuck in the holes and block the water from exiting the pot; water-logging the soil and potentially killing the plants.  

Personally, I did not put any drainage material in the bottom of my pots; I just went with the good old holes in the bottom of the pot. For me, it worked great, and my garden looks amazing.

However, I know there are others that would swear by the drainage layer method. Really, it is all down to personal preference and what you think is going to work best for your garden.  

Which Plastics are Safe for Gardening? 

It’s quite common to use plastics in the garden, but not all of them are actually safe to use. The question of is it safe to grow vegetables in plastic containers is a common one, and one I will be answering for you. 

You will find that there are seven different types of plastic, each of which is labelled as a triangle with the number inside it. In this section, I’m going to be taking you through each type and whether or not they are safe for use in your garden.  

Type 1: PET 

Garden Safe: Not Ideal 

This is made from polyethylene terephthalate, otherwise known as PET. It’s a very common plastic, and you will find that things like bottles are made from it, but it also tends to take on the aroma of what is being stored inside it. 

It is also the most recycled plastic because of how often it is used, and also because it breaks down easily when exposed to light and heat for long periods of time. In short, not good for the garden.  

Type 2: HDPE 

Garden Safe: Yes 

This stands for high-density polyethylene, and it is absolutely everywhere. Common examples are milk bottles and detergent containers, and because it is resistant to UV rays, it is one of the safest for food storage.

It is also highly tolerant of heat, which is why it makes a fantastic addition to the garden. It’s certainly one of the top garden plastics to use.  

Type 3: PVC 

Garden Safe: No 

Of all the plastics, this is the one you are likely to have heard of. It also goes by the term V plastic, and you’ll find it in pretty much everything. From plastic piping to the bottle that contains your salad dressing, PVC is there. Why? Well, it’s one of the most flexible and durable plastics on the market, which makes it very appealing.

However, PVC is generally bad for our health as well as the environment, and so if you are growing a thriving garden, you should really steer clear from PVC products. 

Type 4: LDPE 

Garden Safe: Yes 

This is made with Low-Density Polyethylene, and you will normally find them in things like plastic rubbish bags and the Tupperware tubs that you store leftovers and sandwiches in. It is completely safe for humans and the environment, as well as resistant to high temperatures and UV rays. As a result, it is an ideal plastic for gardening and incredibly safe to use. 

Type 5: PP 

Garden Safe: Yes 

PP stands for polypropylene, and it is most frequently found in items that require injection moulding in order to achieve a specific shape.

A great example of this is straws, bottle caps, and food containers. It is not as tolerant to heat and the elements as other plastics, but it remains safe for use and durable. It is a good choice, but definitely not one that is in my top three.  

Type 6: PS 

Our good old friend polystyrene, the one that you find in packing boxes that gets all over the house. Not just that, but also Styrofoam cups, plastic forks, and the containers you get from the local kebab shop on a late night out. Is it safe to grow vegetables in Styrofoam containers? Yes. But it is a more porous material than other plastics mentioned here. So, for weight and water, it may not hold up.  

Type 7: Other  

Garden Safe: No 

What this type number means is that it is made up of a combination of materials that are not types 1-6. Usually, it is made from polycarbonate; the most harmful plastic we have ever created. It leaches what is known as BPA into the body and the ground, and this has been linked to numerous health problems – including cancer. Yes, there are some safe plastics within this category, but I would strongly recommend staying far away from any of them.  

When Should I Start Planting Flowers Outside? 

The question remains; when to plant a container garden? When is the best time for me to plant flowers outside? For the latter, the answer varies according to the type of plant as well as the form of garden that you are growing. Container gardening tends to make things pretty clear with regards to planting time.  

As the plants are being placed in containers or pots (depending on the type of container garden you are creating), you need to allow time for them to settle and grow. Here are some of the ideal planting times for container gardens: 

  • Permanent species. These should be planted in the early spring. This is because they settle and grow rapidly. If you miss the spring, make sure you plant them before early autumn.  
  • Plant tender. These are plants that flower in the summer. They should be planted in May, after the threat of winter frost has passed.  
  • Winter interest plants. Containers for these are usually planted in the late summer months or the early autumn.  

General Tips for Container Care 

Here are a few important tips for taking good care of your container garden. Think of this as a quick checklist of the most important aspects of looking after your plants: 

  • Don’t let the soil dry out completely  
  • Choose the right location for your garden  
  • Space all of the plants correctly   
  • Spread mulch on the top to keep things moist and healthy  
  • Feed your plants regularly with fertilizer; start by doing so once a fortnight  
  • Prune regularly to keep them attractive as well as healthy  
  • Watch for pests and remove them accordingly, but use natural products  
  • Re-pot them in the early spring every 2-4 years to prevent drying out/waterlogging  
  • Reduce watering in the winter months to prevent waterlogging  
  • Get the right soil mix  
  • Never use chemicals; they harm the ecosystem in your garden  

PART 5:
Selecting Plants for the Right Container


Selecting Plants for the Right Container

Finally, we can move onto the plants. It’s the chapter you’ve been waiting for, and you can prepare to be impressed by my plant knowledge and advice. 

Take a walk through my world, and see if any of these plants tickle your fancy. I’ve even added a few handy plants for attracting bees to your garden so that you can help improve their population.  

Annuals Flower 

If you want that summertime glow throughout the season, you need to pick some annuals. These are warm-weather plants that bloom all summer long, so your garden will look and smell amazing. I have loads of good picks, which means you can experiment a little and find the ones that you think look best. Take a look at my list: 

  • Geraniums  
  • Marigolds  
  • Wax begonias  
  • Coleus  
  • Scarlet Sage  
  • Flowering tobacco  
  • Dwarf cannas (large containers)  
  • Dwarf dahlias (large containers)  

Flowers 

I love flowers. They are beautiful to look at, make the garden smell wonderful, and they attract various insects like butterflies and ladybirds. They bring the place to life, and it makes even the worst days feel a little better when you are sat outside. Here are some of the best flowers for containers; in my opinion anyway: 

  • Jasmines  
  • African violets  
  • Orchids  
  • Hibiscus  
  • Cape primroses 
  • Poinsettia  
  • Hydrangea  
  • Peonies  
  • Cyclamen  
  • Anthurium  
  • Sweet peas 
  • Amaryllis  
  • Purple heart plant  
  • Begonia  
  • Geraniums  
  • Chocolate cosmos  
  • Pansies  
  • Marigolds  

Perennials and Shrubs 

These are simply gorgeous, especially when you plant a combination of the two. Which to pick for your container garden though? That is the question, and a tricky one at that. No need to worry though, I have another wonderful list with some great ideas to kick start your container garden: 

  • Ferns of all kinds  
  • European wild ginger  
  • Sedges  
  • Sedums  
  • Lavender  
  • Lungworts  
  • Ornamental grasses  
  • Dwarf conifers  
  • Small shrubs of all kinds  

PART 6:
What Vegetables Grow Well in Pots?


What Vegetables Grow Well in Pots

Everyone loves a vegetable garden; there is nothing better than growing your own produce and cooking it up for yourself. Which vegetables are best for container gardening though? Have no fear; another list is here!  

1. TomatoesThese are the easiest to grow, and they taste amazing when you do it yourself. All they need is a good 5-6 hours of sunshine each day, a good helping of water, and some love.

Of course, the size of your container determines the type of tomato you can grow, but my favourite is cherry tomatoes. They don’t need a massive amount of space, and they produce a high yield.  

2. BeansMany beans grow up; some grow in bushes. For the former, you will need a trellis to allow them to run up the wall, and they can be very pretty when they grow. The trellis offers support so that they can grow strong and healthily.

They need at least 12 inches of depth in the pot and a very sunny spot to grow. You can also combine them with vegetables like kale that need nitrogen to grow, as bean plants produce a lot of it.  

3. Lettuce. This plant grows quickly, and it means that you will be able to harvest it multiple times throughout the harvesting season. It is the kind of plant that grows during cool seasons, so it may be best to grow it in the spring or winter depending on your climate.

You should make sure to leave four inches between each plant, and the container should be around six inches in depth. With these, it is best to choose width over depth for optimal growth. It should have draining soil that is watered frequently so that it is always a little moist.  

4. Peppers and Chilies. These look great, taste great, and are so easy to grow. They are another of my favourites because of the minimal effort required to look after them. They need to be placed somewhere sunny and warm if you want them to grow well, and they should be placed in fertilized soil.

If you meet these requirements, it will fruit heavily and provide you with plenty to feast on. Optimal post size is large with a good 12 inches of depth. 

5. Radishes. All these little guys need is a pot that is small and wide. A classic radish only needs six inches of depth, whereas the larger varieties only need around eight.

Provide each plant with three inches of space, and you will see them grow spectacularly. They settle and sprout quickly, providing you with a harvest that takes absolutely no time at all.  

6. Asian Greens. What I love about these is the fact that they don’t need a lot of sunlight. My front garden ran out of space quickly, and the Asian Greens work well in the back. All they need is four hours of morning sun, and the rest of the time they are very happy in part-shade. Fertilizer and moist soil are a must for optimal growth, and they grow quickly so that you can enjoy them sooner.  

7. Spinach. This dark leafy green goes very well with my Asian Greens in my second container garden. They also grow well in partial shade, and they can even be grown indoors if the mood takes you.

They prefer width to depth so that they can really spread and grow, so you only need six to eight inches of soil for them. Other than that, just remember to water them, and they will be fine.  

8. Peas. These plants love moderate conditions and temperatures, and they are one of the most easy-going out there. Honestly, they are every container gardener’s dream. They grow fast with very little attention from you, making it ideal for forgetful gardeners like me.

They do like slightly moist soil, and they should be in full sun as much as possible. Personally, I like petite pois best because they taste amazing and they grow in bountiful quantities.  

9. Carrots. They love cool weather, and that is how they grow best. They must be watered regularly, and the soil kept moist to prevent their roots from cracking, but they are otherwise very easy to grow.

They take up hardly any space, and they don’t need a massive container; just make sure it has some depth. By the end of it, you will end up with some really tasty snacks.  

10. Cucumber. These need more love, but they are well worth the work. They are what’s known as a heavy feeder, which means they need a lot of water. The soil should be moist at all times, and they need to spend a lot of time in the sun.

They should be in a large pot so that they have room to grow, and it only takes a few months to get your harvest.  

11. Aubergine (Eggplant). The inspiration behind the popular emoji, these plants require hot weather and a lot of sunlight in order to grow. So, they are suited to summer planting if you want a bountiful harvest.

Day and night, they need the warmth, and they also require a lot of feeding. So, watering often is a must as well as a location in full sun. Stick to these requirements, and everything will work out fine.  

12. Courgettes. Also known as the zucchini, these are a popular vegetable to grow. Plus, if you leave them a little too long, they turn into marrows which are equally delicious.

They are best grown in the summer months when the weather is warm, and they can be grown pretty much anywhere as long as they have sunlight. Keep them watered and cared for, and they will provide.  

Best Plants for Pots all Year Round 

What about the plants that grow throughout the year? Sometimes it’s nice to have a garden that looks amazing in every season, and that’s exactly what this section is here to help you with. Have no fear; I am here again with another one of my amazing lists. I know you love them. Have a look, see what you think: 

1. Skimmia Rubella. This is a really popular choice for patio containers as well as borders, and this is because the plants provide you with an intense level of colour throughout the year.

Red buds appear in the winter, which I have always felt gives it quite a festive look. In the spring, it has white blossoms that are ready to bring in the new year. The bees love it too, so it’s a win-win.  

2. Euonymus. I enjoy the emerald and gold variety because of the gold dip on the leaves. It’s regal, and it adds a sense of wonder to any container garden. Majestic and proud, it is an evergreen plant with a lot to offer. It loves containers as its home, and grows well within them.  

3. Standard Shrubs. You can’t go wrong with these formal bushes, and simply trimming them is an art in itself. They are beautiful, refined, and give a sense of order that is often missed in modern society. Evergreen and eager to please, they are also very easy to look after. 

4. Agapanthus. The more constricted the roots, the more flowers are produced, and that is what makes this plant so special. You can even mix varieties for some gorgeous flower combinations, and the possibilities are almost limitless. It’s the perfect all-rounder for every occasion.  

5. Lilacs. Dwarf lilacs are the best, and I love them so much. They flower in late spring, but they thrive all year round, which makes them great for container gardens that want life at all times. Plus, you will normally get a second flowering session in the late summer/early autumn.  

6. Hebe. What I adore is that these are so easy to grow. It’s effortless, simple, and the results are fantastic. Weathering all…weather…the summer flowers appear in short spikes that overcome the little shrub in a gorgeous array. Butterflies and bees love it, and you will even find that the colour of the flowers changes with the temperature – magical!  

Best Plants for Bees  

Bees and other pollinators are essential for our survival, and for the growth of a huge number of crops on the planet. They should be encouraged to visit our gardens and collect the pollen they need so that they can keep the flowers growing.

Best Plants for Bees

Your container garden is capable of helping them out, and here are some of the top plants for attracting bees, butterflies, and the rest: 

  • Latin American Fleabane  
  • Gerbera  
  • Cosmos  
  • Lavender  
  • Marigolds  
  • Butterfly bush  
  • Thyme  
  • Chives  
  • Rosemary  
  • Oregano  

Making Your Own Compost  

I thought I might as well finish this with a quick note on how to make your own compost. It’s important that we all work hard to reduce our environmental footprint as much as possible, and composting really helps us to avoid unnecessary waste.  

Between 10% and 30% of all the material in landfills could be used to make compost, so you can see how essential this process is. It’s so easy to do, and all you need to remember is that you should always use organic waste and never any chemicals for the best results.  

Things you can put in the compost: 

  • Leaves, branches, foliage and other natural debris  
  • Grass and wood cuttings  
  • Old plants and shrubs  
  • Food leftovers such as fruit peels, eggshells, raw vegetables, tea bags  
  • Old newspapers, cardboard and other paper items.  

Things you can’t put in the compost: 

  • Chemicals and pesticides   
  • Pet waste  
  • Dairy, meat, and oil   

I bought my compost bin from the garden centre, and while you can make your own, it is often easier and more efficient to buy one. When you have it all set up in your garden, it is pretty easy to get started. Make sure the organic material you put in the bin has been shredded first so that it is easier to break down.

The store-bought ones like mine also tend to have great ventilation systems as well as doors to prevent pests from getting in and making a nuisance of themselves.  

All you need to do, aside from providing the organic material, is turn and water your compost regularly. Some containers come with a tumbling system, but if they don’t, you can easily do it by hand. Compost needs to be moist in order to break down and create the ideal environment, so maintenance is essential in this process.

If you stick with this, you’ll have your compost in just a couple of weeks; a pretty short wait in the big scheme of things.  

Conclusion


Conclusion

I hope that this guide has been able to answer all of your questions on container gardening. It can be such a rewarding experience, and I know that mine certainly gave me the confidence I needed to know that I can actually keep plants alive.

There are simple and complex plants that you can have, which is perfect for working your way up from greenhorn to master gardener.  

During the summer months, and really throughout the year, they will give your garden a new lease on life. Hosting friends and family in warm weather will become more pleasant than ever before. Furthermore, you can make your garden home to bees and other wildlife that we need in order to sustain our planet.  

What did you think of my guide to container gardening? Did it tick all the boxes, or are there areas that could have used more information? I love hearing your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a message in the comment section below.  

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