Add to GuideAsk a Question
To Top

Container Gardening

Category Container
Container with Plants Attached to Fence
When faced with limited garden space or to enhance your patio, many flower and food producing plants can be grown in containers. This guide is about container gardening.
Ad

Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

By 14 found this helpful
June 3, 2013

I don't have a lot of land in the front of my home and there is a bare area near the entry that needed some color and glamor. I went to tag sales and picked up many different used pots to plant in. I used different objects that would give me assorted levels. You can use old step stools, baskets, bricks, anything you can find to create a variety of elevations. I planted the pots in front with a colorful assortment. In no time at all I had the neighbors coming over to admire the beauty of nature.

Ad

Comment Was this helpful? 14

By 0 found this helpful
February 16, 2006

I love gardening. I have been planting a lot more perennials lately as we are retired and gone quite a bit during growing season. I also do a lot of container gardening. Hope you like my pictures. The flowers on the fence is one plant. It is a Fall Clematis. Very hardy and smells wonderful.

Ad

By Connie from Ballwin

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

By 5 found this helpful
August 16, 2010

Although I could plant more in the ground, I am a container gardening freak and I love the control that it gives me. There's far less weeding, and I love that the plants are (generally) portable. I can rearrange my containers for maximum effect or for simplified watering if I'm away from home. My husband does tomatoes and peppers (in containers) where the sun is brighter, but I just enjoy beautiful green and flowering plants; I don't care if they produce anything to eat. I do love herbs, though.

Here are some thoughts on container gardens:

By TexasCostumer from Denton, TX

Comment Was this helpful? 5

By 1 found this helpful
February 21, 2006

Always cure a new terra cotta pot before planting in it. Otherwise, the pot's sides will draw moisture out of the potting soil and possibly even the plant's root ball. Dry clay wicks water away from the soil and can dry out plant roots.

To cure a clay pot, you need to fully submerge the pot in a bucket of water. You will hear a hissing noise; it's the tiny air pockets within the clay filling with water. When the hissing stops, the pot is ready to go. You can waterproof the sides of a pot by spraying the outside with Scotch-guard. It will take 2 or 3 coats.

By Rhonda from Reedley, CA

Ad

Comment Was this helpful? 1

By 2 found this helpful
May 26, 2014

Photo Description
My husband built planter boxes that run along the full length of our driveway. I really enjoy filling the boxes and watching them explode as they grow! I also love using pots all over the yard. (My husband loves veggie gardening, but flowers are my passion!) Here in Alaska, we are limited on the perrenials that are hardy enough to survive winter, so it's really all about the amazing annuals!

Photo Location
Fairbanks, Alaska

Comment Was this helpful? 2

By 1 found this helpful
September 16, 2010

If the soil in your potted plants is hard and water has a hard time penetrating, poke holes in the soil with a pointed stick. then fill your water pail and add 1-2 drops liquid dish washing detergent. This will soften the soil and allow water to penetrate more easily.

Comment Was this helpful? 1
Read More...

By 0 found this helpful
August 30, 2006

A friend of mine with a truck who makes a fair living recycling curb-side cast offs began finding older heavy plastic Car-top Luggage Carriers.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
Read More...

April 27, 20171 found this helpful

Grow beautiful flowers, herbs and vegetables on your deck in containers, even if you don't have a yard. This is a guide about container gardening on a deck.

Row of Containers for Plants on Deck

Read More... Was this helpful? 1

By 1 found this helpful
July 13, 2009

Our Province is in a severe drought, so we have many flowers in pots and planters.

Container Flower

CommentPin It! Was this helpful? 1
Read More...

April 25, 20170 found this helpful

When a plant growing in a container begins to show signs of stress you will need to determine the cause if you are going to save it. Often its roots are somehow involved in the mystery. This is a guide about reasons container plants fail.

Plants growing in an outdoor container.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

By 1 found this helpful
March 8, 2011

Polymer crystals (found in garden centers and some variety stores) are a tiny crystal that expands in water to hold up to 200 times its weight in stored water.

Comment Was this helpful? 1
Read More...

May 22, 2006

I like to put figurines in and around the pots in my container garden - to fill in bare spots and to generally liven up the garden. You can find good deals in slightly damaged figures -in proportion to your pots/plants. . .

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
Read More...

April 25, 20170 found this helpful

Many types of containers that you would typically recycle can be used for container gardening. This is a guide about recycled container gardening.

Several different containers being used as planters.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

August 16, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about creating shade for potted plants. Just because your deck or patio is quite sunny doesn't mean you can't grow some more shade loving plants. Creating shade will also help protect any plant and conserve water on really hot days.

Potted plants in bright sunlight

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

June 1, 20160 found this helpful

This guide is about watering container plants. Make sure your plants have the right amount of moisture to help them thrive.

Flowers in pots on the patio being watered with a watering can.

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

March 11, 20140 found this helpful

This is a guide about window box gardening. Protecting your home's exterior from soil and moisture is important, when gardening in containers attached outside your windows.

Window Box Garden

Read More... Was this helpful? Yes

Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 23, 20080 found this helpful

I am looking for a thrifty way to container garden my vegetables this year. Any ideas?

Jennifer

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
February 3, 20050 found this helpful

HI :)

Alot of people in this area use drywall mud or industrial paint buckets... wash them very well and poke holes in the bottom for drainage... fill 1/4 of the way with stones or something to allow good drainage... plant 1 tomato plant per bucket or 2 pepper plants... cucumbers and zucchini have also been planted this way :)

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
April 11, 20050 found this helpful

Freecycle.org. You can request for items there. I got a container through it for gardening.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 4, 20050 found this helpful

I read somewhere instead of using stones in the bottom, to use packing peanuts. They are much lighter!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
August 24, 20060 found this helpful

I used paint buckets with holes drilled in the botton for the second year in a row and absolutely love the results. I have had tomatos all summer (the ones the squirells dont get first) and they work great!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
January 31, 20080 found this helpful

I have a lot of shells from previous beach trips (my kids loved to collect when they were little). I have used them in the bottom of containers for drainage.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
June 26, 20080 found this helpful

There is a recycling program in our city, so the gardenning centers tosses used pots in bins. When I go grocery shopping i raid the bin in that store's gardenning center. I've bought few pots. Keep worms in a bin and feed them vegetable kitchen waste. Next spring you will have a nice (and free) bucket of amazing compost. I too am grateful to all who offered their advice. There are some great ideas here.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

Since my container garden is on the front of my house because it gets more sunlight there, I thought it would look better if all the containers were the same. I bought dollar store waste baskets, drilled holes in the bottoms, used packing peanuts for drainage, and filled with soil. I have grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and herbs like sage, basil, mint, parsley and chives. This was my 5th year using these containers.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

has anyone grown vegetables all year in containers...I wanted to plant lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers in containers and grow them this winter in my attic. It's chilly there but the sun is great. There's nothing better than fresh vegetables. Would love to be able to do this...any suggestions would be appreciated.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 23, 20080 found this helpful

has anyone grown vegetables all year in containers...I wanted to plant lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers in containers and grow them this winter in my attic. It's chilly there but the sun is great. There's nothing better than fresh vegetables. Would love to be able to do this...any suggestions would be appreciated.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
October 24, 20080 found this helpful

I live in Central Texas and have a neighbor who raises cattle. I kept seeing these 10 gal tubs in his pasture. I finally asked him about them and learned that these are minerals that look alot like black tar that the cattle lick to supplement their diet. He has used the old ones for years as water tubs, they are thin, lightweight and last for years. I have grown cucs, tomatoes, peppers and melons, squash and green beans. Drain holes and added old hay before putting in soil, worked like a charm!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
April 25, 2015

Is it possible to use dry beans for drainage in the bottom of a pot?

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 25, 20150 found this helpful

You can certainly place dried beans in your flower pots, if you like bean sprouts with your flowers.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 26, 20150 found this helpful

Use small stones for drainage.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 27, 20150 found this helpful

I think the beans would eventually soaken and may even take nutrients from the plant you are growing...

They won't sprout if buried that deep though.

You can use lots of other things around a house from pebbles on the side of the road, marbles, broken pieces of pottery (check your recycling bin if you have one) OR even Styrofoam peanuts or pieces from packaging!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 27, 20150 found this helpful

I think you're talking about dried beans from the grocery store since seed beans would be an expensive way to go. I doubt beans for cooking would sprout. But they would soak up a lot of water. Then they'd rot. I doubt that would be healthy for your flowers, but who knows? The next step after rot would be disintegration, at which point they would not be effective anymore.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
April 27, 20150 found this helpful

Beans for cooking will sprout. My kids used them for "science" projects when they were in kindergarten and first grade. I'm not sure the plants would climb all the way to the top of the soil but I am sure they would set up a dreadful odor. I would suggest packing peanuts, a few small rocks or if all else fails a layer or two of buttons you don't plan to use for anything else.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

March 9, 2011

I would like to have ideas for what to plant in a large planter pot for our north facing balcony. We get very limited sun and live in zone 5B. I prefer non-flowering types, so grasses are OK. I will have only one large pot so plants must "work" together.

Hardiness Zone: 5b

By Rebecca from Indianapolis, IN

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 9, 20110 found this helpful

I would ask at your local green houses or garden centers.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 11, 20110 found this helpful

The horticulture department of your local university can be a good source of info. I live in Western Canada and my "go to" book is the Sunset Western Garden Book. I have a helleborous that has done well in shade. It's a winter bloomer and I have seen it in planters. I have found that flowering plants recommended for shade do need some sun to flower well. eg pansies, astilbe, fuschia.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
September 26, 2010

Is plaster of Paris used in outdoor things like putting it in the bottom of a planter for weight, or is concrete better?

By Jane from Bonifay, FL

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
September 26, 20100 found this helpful

Why not add some stones in the bottom of your planter.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
October 1, 20100 found this helpful

Plaster of paris will deteriorate. As MCW said, use stones or pieces of brick.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
May 9, 2013

The dirt in my small yard is quite hard and clay-like, so I thought I would try container gardening. I have several Rubbermaid storage boxes I thought I could use, but I want to make sure I do it successfully. Should I put holes in the boxes and if so where? Do I need a layer of rock under the soil and if so how deep? Any other pointers?

By Janice

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

By 0 found this helpful
April 21, 2012

Do I need to amend or change out all the soil from my containers each season?

By Marc R.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

April 17, 20120 found this helpful

We're planning to use containers to plant tomatoes and peppers. I also plan to use window boxes for zucchini, cucumbers, and pole or string beans. I have a homemade (3/4 galvanized pipe) tee or yardarm shape approximately 7 feet high with a 4 foot cross at the top for stringing the beans. All the plants will be purchased at a local nursery which leads to my main question. Should we use potting soil, top soil, or a mixture of both?

By John F.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

Photos

Share on ThriftyFunCheck out these photos. Click at right to share your own photo in this guide.

August 31, 2015

Photo Description
My property presents challenges. Mowing the half acre with a push mower is a challenge within itself. There are dry, shady areas where not much of anything will grow. I am experimenting with ground covers in these areas. So far, I've had my best luck with ivy. Until the ivy becomes established, I'm playing around with little decorating ideas.

Picture one shows a grouping of stones with Lantana montevidensis, a trailing type of lantana, growing in a shallow pan. In front of the arrangement is a plastic oil pan. I sank it into the ground and sprigged it with pieces of Campanula Portenschlagiana, also known as bellflower. Under proper conditions, the bellflower will soon fill the whole pan. Next summer, the pan should hold a mass of tiny blue flowers.

Picture two is still a work in progress. I sank a large concrete mixing tub into the ground. My plans were to paint the tub interior with a fish safe aqua color. Then, I hoped to place goldfish and a few aquatic plants in the tub. That will have to wait until I figure how to keep cats away from the little 'pond'.

In the meantime, I have flowers growing in the water. Some of you may not be familiar with this plant. It is Chelone lyonii 'Hot Lips'. The common name for Chelone is 'Turtlehead'. If grown in pots or in the garden, it will need a constant supply of water. As you can see in the picture, it's quite at home standing in water. I will remove the plants from the water before the first frost.

Chelone
http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=chelone

Comment Like this photo? 1

By 0 found this helpful
August 28, 2014

Photo Description
Shrubs and herbs fluffed out with geranium and fuchsia cuttings from last year. Tomatoes grown from seeds recovered from last year's fruit. Upside down plant pots and kiddies' plastic chairs help create levels.

Photo Location
Atwick, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

Comment Like this photo? Yes

March 17, 2009

This was my favorite planting last summer. I enjoyed all of the vibrant colors mixed together. The mix contains geraniums, begonias, a blue salvia, petunia, and dahlia, with 2 spikes for interest. This planting was in a partial sun area and the dahlia did not do well.

Comment Like this photo? Yes

Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 16, 20100 found this helpful

I'm interested in hearing people's experiences/tips about container gardening. Our home is on a very tiny plot of land that was treated with heavy duty ant poison (Timbor and Talstar) so I can't plant in the ground. I'm looking for info on what to grow in a container and what is the best type of container (ie how deep does it need to be, how wide)

Thanks to everyone

Katie in NY

Answers:

Container Gardening Advice

Make sure to plant in a container that will be deep enough to accommodate the plant's roots (carrots and potatoes need a lot of root space, for instance).

If you are looking for containers, almost anything that has holes in the bottom (you can make these with a drill) will work. Plastic laundry baskets, clay pots.

Just be sure to thoroughly mix all of your dirt or it will form a plateau in the container and the bottom dirt will be so compacted that water and roots can not travel down (learned the hard way from experience). I had better luck planting in the ground than in containers, so I can't recommend any plant varieties except for parsley, cilantro, oregano and rosemary.

By the way, rosemary originally grew out of the side of a cliff so even I couldn't kill it!

Holly (03/28/2005)

By cookwie

Container Gardening Advice

Take a look at http://www.containerseeds.com - this is a small family owned company with a very informative monthly newsletter to which you can subscribe for free. Also additional links are there. (03/28/2005)

By Beth

Container Gardening Advice

Containers, lots more watering and more daily work than in the ground. If you wish to plant in the ground, why not look into the idea of digging out the dirt only where you wish to plant a garden or have a flower bed and replace the dirt with good soil. This may be a more expensive alternative but you might be happier in the long run. This way you can amend the new soil any way you wish. Your local nursery/garden center should be able to provide you with proper soil and additives like compost that would make great "stuff" for your plants to grow in.

Use the "bad" (treated) soil for building up an area or just "throw" it out. Are the ants really that much of a problem where you live that the soil needed to be permanently fixed? (03/28/2005)

By valleyrimgirl

Container Gardening Advice

My friend plants tomatoes in a plastic 73-quart storage tote box. Holes drilled in bottom for drainage. Must water at least once daily as tomatoes need alot of water.

Would be cautious about replacing soil to build a garden, with rain and runoff it would probably get contaminated and you're going to eat the produce. (03/28/2005)

By kidsNclutter

Container Gardening Advice

I have had container garden for the past 2 years. I had good results with tomatoes, hot pepper and onions (03/29/2005)

By Elva

Container Gardening Advice

5 gallon buckets will do the trick. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage. Remember to water often. Container gardens dry out faster than regular in ground gardens. You can get 5 gallon buckets from bakerys, schools... (03/29/2005)

By Sandy

Container Gardening Advice

I am going to try container gardening again this spring and summer. I never have any luck with it. My plants always die but I am willing to try it again. I will give you an update later in the summer. I just found your site and I am signing on as a guest. I will be back! (03/11/2007)

By Marsha

Container Gardening Advice

I put pinecones in the bottom of my containers. When the pinecones are wet, they close up. This is also an indicator as to the plants moisture content in the bottom. When the soil rises or moves up in the pot the pinecones in the bottom have dried. The pot needs WATER.

Wet a pinecone and see for yourself.

Diapers have the water absorbing gel in them that will hold moisture near the roots. Tear a one up and work it in to the root area. Discard the plastic parts. (03/11/2007)

By Charlotte

Container Gardening Advice

Congratulations on your choice. Although I could plant more in the ground, I am a container gardening freak and I love the control that it gives me. There's far less weeding, and I love that the plants are (generally) portable. I can rearrange my containers for maximum effect or for simplified watering if I'm away from home. Sounds like you want to grow eatables: My husband does tomatoes and peppers (in containers) where the sun is brighter, but I just enjoy beautiful green and flowering plants; I don't care if they produce anything to eat. I do love herbs, though.

Here are some thoughts on container gardens: Start small and build on your successes. Don't try to buy/do too much at first. Try lots of herbs. They are easy to grow, often beautiful and fragrant to boot. Rosemary is great. Mint is delicious but will get scraggly on you (hint - keep it trimmed). I'm dying to try chives next year, my neighbor has them.

Don't be too fast to purchase every plant in the store on your first trip - again, start small - make several trips over a few weeks in spring. You will be surprised at the new things that come into the stores during that period. Spreading your selections allows you time to do your potting chores promptly without an exhausting day in the garden.

Only buy what you can plant today or tomorrow. You wouldn't bring a new baby home and store it in the garage for 3 days.

Find a gardening association, or attend their plant sales, for wonderful tips and great localized plants. Gardeners love to talk about what they love doing. You may also get some free bulbs or plants this way!

Make sure all your pots have holes in the bottom for drainage. Try not to buy any containers without: If it's hole deprived but too cute and you must have it, drill a hole in the bottom if possible, or use it only as a base or outer pot holder.

No plant lives forever... if one is past its prime, pull it up and move on. You're not a failure as a gardener because a plant died. No point trying to nurse a sad tomato over the dog days of August. Just replant for fall.

USE MULCH - cover the potting soil with 1 -2 inches of mulch and refresh it if it thins in late summer. This reduces the amount of watering needed and helps your plants make it through the heat in far better shape.

I've just learned this one in the last 2 years - get some rolling potholders - these are fantastic! I have mostly shade in my garden area but I can move the containers around to get more sun as needed.

Enjoy your garden everyday by establishing seating nearby. A plant you don't see regularly can get forgotten and neglected fast! If you can keep an eye on it, you can usually keep it growing. We have our coffee on the porch every chance we can. (08/05/2010)

By TexasCostumer

RE: Container Gardening Advice

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
Related Content
Categories
Home and Garden Gardening ContainerApril 6, 2012
Guides
Window Box Garden
Window Box Gardening
Potted plants in bright sunlight
Creating Shade for Potted Plants
Flowers in pots on the patio being watered with a watering can.
Watering Container Plants
Row of Containers for Plants on Deck
Container Gardening on a Deck
More
📓
Back to School Ideas!
😎
Summer Ideas!
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube
Contests!
Newsletters
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Categories
Desktop Page | View Mobile

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

© 1997-2017 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Published by .

Generated 2017/08/21 14:34:00 in 1 secs. ⛅️️ ⚡️
Loading Something Awesome!