Tips for growing successful container gardens

Follow this advice about container gardens to grow healthy flowers, herbs and vegetables almost anywhere.


Planting a garden is a traditional springtime activity, and planting container gardens is growing more popular every year. Container gardening is the perfect solution if you don’t have enough garden space for a crop of vegetables or a bed of flowers. Growing container gardens also makes it possible to grow herbs, flowers and even vegetables on decks, patios, balconies, or right outside the kitchen door.

There are three things you need to consider before you dive into container gardening. The first is where you want to put your container garden. The second is determining what plants you want to grow. Third, you must choose the right containers for your container garden.


Choose the Right Location for Your Container Garden

Sometimes it’s easy to select a spot for your container garden. If all you have is a balcony or a spot next to your doorstep, deciding where to put your growing containers is simple. Just pick a sunny spot in the space that’s available.

But what if you have several locations to choose from when planning a container garden? If you’re growing most vegetables or flowers, selecting a spot that gets about 6 hours of sunlight is a good first step.

Another important consideration is access to water. The best locations are within easy hose distance. It’s also smart to choose a location that isn’t against a hot, sun-facing wall. Plants that are grown in containers can easily get too hot and too dry in conditions that resemble a bright, sunny oven.

Also, make sure your container gardening spot is easily accessible. You don’t want to tuck it away behind the garage and forget about it. Choose a location that’s visible so you can see and enjoy your plants.


Choose the Right Containers for your Garden

container gardening is a wonderful way to grow flowers on a deck
Summer flowers look great in this container garden.


As container gardening has grown in popularity during the past few years, many different kinds of containers have been introduced that make container gardening easier and more productive. Traditional terracotta or ceramic pots with a single drainage hole in the bottom can be used to grow small plants like flowers and herbs. Self-irrigated containers, which have a built-in water reservoir that keeps plants comfortably moist, make it easy and efficient to plant salad greens, larger edible plants and even a bee-friendly flower garden.



A GrowBox™ self-irrigated container offers a great way to grow tomatoes, spinach, peppers, and a wide variety of edible crops. A colorful GrowBox container fits nicely on any balcony, patio or deck. It even makes planting easy, because every GrowBox comes with a cut-out planting guide that shows gardeners exactly where and what to plant.

strawberries grow in GrowBox container gardens
Strawberries grow well in containers like these GrowBoxes.

A GrowBox measures about 1 foot wide, 2.5 feet long and 1 foot deep, so it’s large enough to grow two full-sized tomato plants or bee-friendly pollinator garden. Herbs such as lavender, catmint, thyme and fennel grow well in these containers. So do annuals and perennial flowers including calendula, sunflowers, zinnia, hollyhocks and aster.

Included with every GrowBox is a Nutrient Patch™ cover that automatically releases fertilizer as the plants need it. Just fill the 4-gallon water well at the bottom of the planter, and water is automatically wicked up through the potting soil at the correct rate. That means your plants never dry out.

girl holds cucumbers in front of her container garden
Cucumbers harvested from a GrowBox container garden.

A GrowBox can be set up and planted in about 15 minutes. These containers now come in six different colors to fit any patio or backyard décor. A GrowBox in the classic colors (Terra Cotta and Dark Green) sells for $29.95; the new designer colors (Cauliflower, Celery, Eggplant and Lime) sell for $37.95. To order GrowBox planters, visit or call 800-519-1955.


Maintenance-Free Raised Garden Beds

Container gardening can be a great choice for specific areas in a backyard. Raised bed containers are useful to define garden spaces in a yard and provide favorable garden conditions in places that may lack fertile soil.

A Maintenance-Free Raised Garden Bed from Gronomics is a great planter for both beginning and experienced gardeners. Raised garden beds are perfect for small vegetable gardens—and they work great for flower beds, too.

maintenance free raised beds for container gardening
A maintenance-free raised garden bed from Gronomics.

By using raised beds, you can eliminate the need for tilling and soil amendment. Plus, raised bed container gardening minimizes the need for weeding. Maintenance-Free Raised Garden Beds are great for “square foot” gardens that maximize the vegetables and flowers that can be grown in a smaller space.

A Maintenance-Free Raised Garden Bed from Gronomics is easy to assemble. They are made of durable vinyl, so they resist fading, need no maintenance and provide many years of gardening enjoyment. These raised bed container garden kits come in two colors: black/gray and black/walnut. The kits are available in three sizes: 36” x 36”, 48” x 48” and 24” x 48”. Maintenance-Free Raised Garden Bed kits are available at


Choose the Right Plants for Container Gardening

Last but certainly not least, it’s important to select the right plant varieties for container growing. Because containers are confined spaces, the mature size of a plant is an important factor to consider when choosing plant varieties for container gardens. This is especially true when growing vegetables in containers.

Spinach is perfect for container gardening
Spinach is a great choice for container gardens because it is easy to grow and the plants stay small.

Salad greens are great for growing in containers, because leafy edibles such as spinach, lettuce and arugula stay small. Radishes and chives are great for container growing because of their small size. Many herbs, including parsley, basil and coriander make great container garden plants.

Peppers and eggplants, which grow on medium-sized woody plants, grow well in larger containers. Some tomatoes can thrive in container garden situations—but you must choose the right varieties and the right containers.

Tomato varieties are classified as indeterminate or determinate. Indeterminate plants keep getting bigger and bigger all summer long, while determinate plants grow to a certain size and stop. For that reason, only determinate tomato varieties can be successfully grown in small containers. If you want to grow indeterminate tomatoes in your container garden, grow them in a GrowBox or a raised bed.


But Wait, There’s More

For additional information about vegetable varieties that will grow well in container gardens, read Top 10 Vegetables for Container Gardening.  You’ll also enjoy Best New Vegetable Seeds for Your Garden.




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