What Can I Grow In A Container Garden? Best Plant Choices + Tips

During a crisis, you need to make sure you have enough supply of food for survival. If you can create your own survival garden, then you’re off to a good start. With that, you’re probably wondering: What can I grow in a container garden?

Peas and lettuce are fast-growing plants you can grow in a container garden. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes can also thrive in containers with nightshades.

For more tips on container gardening, read on.

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What Vegetables Do Well in Containers?

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Here are some of the best vegetables you can grow at home for your vegetable garden:

1. Arugula

Arugula leaves are tasty. This is an excellent patio plant and can survive in small containers. They only need at most 6 hours of direct sunlight and must be moved to a partially shady area when the sun’s heat is intense.

2. Beans

For small gardens, beans are also ideal vegetables to plant in containers. There are two varieties of beans that you can plant in your container garden – the bushy type and the climbing type.

Bushy beans can easily grow in pots without extra support. While climbing beans would require that you run pole beans across a trellis. Varieties of beans that you can consider planting are Porch Pick and Scarlet Runner.

3. Beets

Beets can fully thrive in small containers. All they need is a deep pot for adequate root growth. Some varieties of beets that you can grow are Chioggia and the Detroit Dark Red.

4. Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is another great addition to your container garden. These are healthy vegetables that are easy to grow in pots. Bitter melons have similar growth requirements to squashes and cucumbers.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is a crop that grows all year round. They grow best in cold weather. These are fast-growing crops that you can enjoy right away and serve to the whole family.

6. Carrots

A carrot is considered a cool-weather crop that can also grow in pots. They need to grow in moist soil with regular watering.

7. Chard

Leafy greens such as chards are the best vegetables to grow in containers. They can thrive in small pots because of their shallow root systems. 


They also don’t need too much sunlight to grow. The Rainbow Mixture and Ruby Red are excellent varieties of chard that you can plant in your container garden.

8. Chilli and Sweet Peppers

Chili and sweet peppers are best grown in a large pot with good drainage and should be placed in a sunny and warm place. They need to be watered consistently. These fresh veggies need to be monitored for they won’t survive with overly wet soil or even dry soil.

These can be grown all year round. They need to be exposed to full sunlight and should be moved indoors when there is a storm outside. Jalapeno Early and Thai Hot are good varieties of peppers.

9. Cucumbers

Cucumbers grow in pots fast. Cucumbers like water and large containers or ceramic pots. This plant food needs full sun or partial shade exposure. The USDA growing zones for cucumbers is 4-12.

10. Eggplant

Your vegetable garden won’t be complete without eggplants. Large containers are necessary for eggplants to support their growing roots. They thrive best in moist soil.

11. Garlic

Garlic is a staple in any kitchen. Thus, growing them in your own home can be very beneficial. Garlic can grow in a pot with a potting soil of 6-8” deep. You need a container that is wide enough to space out each garlic clove.

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12. Lettuce

Leaf lettuce and salad greens are easy-to-grow edible crops in containers with moist and fertile soil. You can easily remove pests and weeds when they are planted in containers instead of in-ground planting. 

They can easily be moved to shady areas to avoid the summer heat. These crops don’t need as much sun exposure, partial sun exposure is enough.

13. Okra

If you are a beginner, you may want to start growing okras. Okras are not high-maintenance crops. All they need to grow is enough sunlight exposure and enough fertilizer.

14. Onions

Green onions are a staple in every food preparation. The best thing about green onions is that they can grow in containers. Tokyo Long White and White Lisbon are varieties of green onions that you can consider for container gardening.

15. Peas

Peas are best planted during cool weather like early spring and fall. There are 3 types of peas you can plant – English Peas, Snow Peas, and Sugar Snap Peas. Peas enrich the soil with nitrogen thus, are perfect crops for succession planting.


16. Potatoes

You need a lot of soil and water when growing potatoes. They need full sun exposure, loamy soil, and good drainage holes for their optimal growth.

17. Mustard Greens

Mustard greens can grow in small containers with a lot of sun exposure. Mustard greens are edible crops perfect for curries and salads.

18. Radishes

Radishes can fully grow in a span of one month. They can thrive in containers with minimum pot depth. These edible crops require full to partial sun exposure.

19. Squash

Generally, growing squash needs a lot of space (requires a large container), good soil, a lot of sun exposure, as well as consistent watering and feeding. For container-growing squash, you need to choose the smallest variety you can find.

Two varieties of squash for container gardening that you can try are Tiny Pumpkins and Honeybear (acorn squash).

20. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow in containers. When buying tomato seedlings go for the short and stocky variety. Generally, tomatoes prefer large containers and a tomato cage is necessary to support their heavy fruit.

Tomatoes need to be planted in deep and moist soil with a good drainage container. These plants can be grown all year round.

Tips on How to Grow Plants in a Container Garden

Here are some tips on how you can start your own container garden as well as container gardening ideas.

Pick the Right Container


Picking the right container is important because it can dictate how well your plants will grow. You choose a container depending on the type of plants you are planning to grow. 

For instance, leafy greens have shallow roots. Thus, you don’t need a deep container for them. 

If you intend to plant potatoes or any root crops, you need a deep container for them so they can develop properly. 

Choosing a container would largely depend on your budget, container size and style, and garden space. Here are different kinds of containers for your plants that you can choose from:

Terra Cotta 

These are also called clay pots. These are very versatile and inexpensive. They can be decorated to suit your taste. However, they can be very fragile.


These containers are very durable and can withstand any type of weather condition. The downside, however, is the fact that concrete containers are very heavy. You need to choose the right spot for this container to minimize moving it around.


Cedar and non-toxic-treated pine woods are durable to be used as plant containers. To make them last longer, you can apply a clear waterproofing sealer.


For container gardening, you may opt for galvanized tubs or buckets. However, metal containers heat up fast which makes them unhealthy for your plants. If you must use this type of container, make sure to position your container plants in a shady spot.

Plastic, Fiberglass, and Resin

These containers are lightweight and cheap. However, they are not durable for long-term use.

Repurposed Containers

If you have a lot of old baskets, watering containers, or tin buckets laying around, you can repurpose them for your potted plants.

Select the Plant Combinations for Your Garden

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You can also research and experiment with different vegetable combinations for your container garden. There are certain vegetables that can be grown in the same pot because they have the same growth requirements. 

Similar growth requirements for plant combinations include light levels and watering frequency.

Limit the Number of Plants on the Container

As much as possible, avoid overcrowding your containers. An overcrowded container is detrimental to the growth of your plants. Here is a guideline for you to consider when determining the proportion of plants when planting in containers:

  • 3-4 plants (10”-12” container)
  • 5-7 plants (14”-16” container)
  • 6-9 plants (16”-20” container)

Use Potting Mix to Fill the Container

Fill your containers with potting mix ⅔ full. A potting mix is not too heavy and can drain the water better. Avoid placing rocks at the bottom of your container for they can’t drain the water well.


A small or limited space should not hinder you from starting your own container garden. Container gardening allowed more people to grow their own food in the comforts of their own homes, especially during a crisis or SHTF.

Growing your own food and using different types of containers like hanging containers is very cost-efficient, especially in urban settings. To further help you with prepping, you may want to read more about urban farming and using grey water for your garden.

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