5 Container Garden tips


Do you have limited outdoor space? Or do you rent, meaning you can’t dig up the garden? Maybe you are just one of the other hundred plus gardeners who love a container garden? No matter your circumstances, you can still grow plants – and lots of them – by using containers.

Whether you use pots, tubs, barrels, planters, bottles, or any other creative medium for your plants, planting in containers has many benefits and is easier than you think. Here are five tips for planting in containers successfully.

Container garden - pots for small garden, patio or terrace
Container garden – pots for small garden, patio or terrace

Top 5 Tips for Planting in a Container Garden

1. Know your Limitations

As with any type of gardening, there are going to be some limitations. So it is very important to understand these limitations before you start. Here are the top three limitations we think you should be aware of:

1. Containers make it particularly hard to grow large plants

2. They are often difficult to water and fertilise; you may need to water your plants several times a day during hot, dry spells, and they might need a special fertiliser that can be more difficult to apply.

3. Finally, containers normally mean that your plants will have a shorter life span compared to being planted in the ground; they last anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years, depending on your climate and the type of container you use.

If you want to plant in containers, you must be aware of these limitations, but it’s also important to remember that containers can be incredibly useful for growing lots of different plants as well.

2. Deciding What Works Best in Your Container Garden

With lots of varieties of containers you can use to grow plants, you need to think about what will be most practical. Here are a few key things to keep in mind as you select your containers:

  • Size – You don’t want your containers to be too large because you don’t want the soil to stay too wet or too dry for too long, and a container that is too big can create drainage issues. It’s also important to make sure your container size is appropriate for the plant you’re growing.
  • Type – Different containers are better for different plants. For example, you’ll want to use a clay pot for plants that prefer slightly acidic soil. Plastic containers are best for plants that don’t need much fertiliser. Wooden containers suit plants that like slightly alkaline soil and wooden containers are best for plants that need lots of fertiliser.

3. The Soil is the Key

Choosing the right soil is a crucial part of gardening, particularly container gardening. You’ll want to choose soil that has the right amount of fertiliser in it, so you don’t have to add extra fertiliser to every pot.

It’s also important to make sure your soil has the right amount of moisture in it; too dry or too wet soil can be a problem. Mixing sand or perlite in with your soil will help with drainage.

If you want to, you can add fertiliser to your soil, but it’s generally best to use a slow-release fertiliser to make sure it doesn’t get too strong too quickly.

The amount of soil you use in each pot also matters. You need to make sure each pot has enough soil to cover the roots of the plant up to the bottom of the first set of leaves. This ensures the roots have enough room to grow and thrive. If you don’t add enough soil to your pots, the roots will be too cramped, which can lead to disease and rotting.

4. Be Smart About Watering

Making sure your containers always have enough water is essential. The two main mistakes people make when watering plants in containers are either watering them too often or watering them too infrequently.

If your plants are getting too much water, you’ll notice your soil will be fairly wet all the time, which is not a good thing. If your plants are getting too little water, you’ll notice the soil will be dry all the time.

The best thing to do would be to check all the containers every day, even a quick check first thing in the morning or add it to your evening routine, to see if the soil is moist. You don’t want the soil to dry out, but you also don’t want the soil to be water-logged; the soil would ideally have the first inch being moist.

 5. Don’t Forget the Decorating Basics

Even if you’re just growing a few herbs or a single pepper plant in a container, you’ll want to make sure your containers are decorative. It’s best to use pots that are different from each other or in different colours, so they stand out against your balcony rail or patio wall. You can also make use of containers with built-in planters for even more decorative potential.


When starting in any garden it is always important to understand the unique conditions of your garden space. No two gardens are identical, with every garden having its special microclimates, soil, and growing conditions. All our guides and information are provided as general guides, and garden owners need to do their own research for each and every plant before planting. We cannot accept responsibility for plant establishment and survival in individual gardens.

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Updated on April 12, 2023

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