How to start container gardening the right way

Little to no gardening space? Container gardening is a great solution.

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Want to start a garden but have limited space? No worries! Pot gardens are a great solution for those who have a patio, balcony, window sill, or empty space in a driveway. 

This guide will take you through the basics of container gardening, starting with the materials you’ll need to start your container gardening journey.

Materials for container gardening 

  • Store-bought or recycled plant containers 

  • Your choice of plants or seeds 

  • A gardening trowel 

  • Potting soil and potting mix

  • Fertilizer 

  • A watering can 

What is container gardening? 

person holding plant in container

Container gardening is the process of growing plants in containers such as pots and recycled tins instead of planting them directly on the ground. This method of gardening is ideal for those new to gardening or who live in highly urbanized areas with limited space. And don’t worry: Just because you’re planting in containers doesn’t mean you can’t have your pick of flowers and vegetables to grow! Let’s dive in. 

How to start a container garden 

Step 1: Choose a space for your garden 

When choosing a location for your container garden, it’s important to have the right temperature and light for your plants. Some plants flourish more when they’re in a relatively hot and sunny space, while others grow better when there’s more shade. This guide lists down the best pot plants for container gardening.

Step 2: Choose your pot plants and seeds 

Next, decide which plants you want to have in your garden. Are you excited to grow your own vegetables? Do you want to get into herb gardening? Or maybe you want to fill your garden with flowers. 

planting seeds for container garden

To help you make a decision, below is a list of edible plants that grow well in containers: 

  • Tomatoes 

  • Peas 

  • Potatoes

  • Lettuce 

  • Hot and sweet peppers 

  • Cucumbers 

  • Radishes

  • Arugula 

  • Eggplants

And here are some of the best plants for container gardening that’ll add a splash of color to your home: 

  • Roses 

  • Petunias

  • Marigolds 

  • Coleus 

  • Pansies 

  • Hydrangea 

  • Nemesia 

  • Euphorbia 

  • Angelonia 

  • Geranium 

  • Begonia 

  • Coral bells 

  • Starflower

Step 3: Select your plant containers 

unique container garden ideas with teacups

Looking for eco-friendly container ideas? You can repurpose containers you already have in the house, such as buckets, used cookie and biscuit tins, or even an old laundry basket. Just make sure to make drainage holes at the bottom of these containers, and you’re good to go! 

If you want to have a more aesthetic and polished look, the different types of garden storage containers on the market include:

1. Wooden containers or planter boxes 

wooden planter boxes

Wood is a great material for growing leafy vegetables! This material is ideal if you have allotted a slightly bigger space for your container garden, as wooden planters tend to be bigger than regular pots.

2. Terracotta or ceramic containers

terracotta plant containers

You can’t go wrong with these classic gardening pots. Terracotta and ceramic containers tend to be heavy, so make sure they have a solid base. Placing these pots on your balcony may not always be the best idea, especially since the soil becomes heavier once wet.

3. Plastic containers  

bright-coloured plastic plant containers

With plastic pots, you get to have your pick of colors and patterns. Plus, they’re relatively cheaper than other containers. One thing to watch out for with plastic pots is that they heat up easily, and this could affect your plants’ growth. Plastic might not be the best option if your container garden gets a lot of sunlight.

4. Metal containers

metal plant containers

Metal containers are a good option because they’re light and durable. But just like plastic containers, there’s a chance your plants might heat up easier when growing in metal containers. You can easily remedy this by placing your metal pot in a location where it’ll get some shade.

5. Hanging containers

hanging plant containers

Aside from being space savers, these hanging planters will add some character to your garden! One thing to note, though: Hanging planters need to be watered more frequently because they get more exposure to the wind and sun than planters located on ground.

Step 4: Make sure to use the right soil 

preparing soil for container garden

It’s important not to skimp when it comes to potting soil and potting mix for your container garden. When you go to your nearest supermarket or gardening store, there will be different types of soil for varying purposes. There’s potting soil for growing edible plants and vegetables, while some are mixed specifically for ornamental plants and flowers. 

Once you’ve decided on which plants you want to grow, it’s best to do your research to find out which potting soil is best for them.

Step 5: Be a responsible and loving plant owner

Once you’ve potted your plants with the best soil out there, don’t forget to water and fertilize your garden regularly! Try to keep your pets away from the plants, and make sure to check your garden for signs of pests. Then, you can hire a pest control service to get rid of any garden pests.

☞ Learn more tips: Gardening for beginners 

Easy container garden ideas

Aside from mixing and matching different containers in your garden, you can actually combine two types of plants in one container! Get creative by putting different kinds of flowers, foliage, and ornamental grass together. 

Here are some lovely plant combination and container garden ideas for your inspiration:

1. Different species in one large planter  

variety of flowers in one large planter

2. Several flower varieties in one pot 

variety of flowers in one pot

3. Container balcony garden

container balcony garden

4. A spring-inspired container garden  

a spring-inspired container garden with colourful flowers

5. Quirky plant containers 

container plants in kettles for a quirky container garden

Need professional help with container gardening? 

If you’ve done everything right and are still having problems growing your plants, it’s time to seek an expert’s help. You can easily hire a Tasker to maintain your garden, repot your plants, or even do landscaping work. Our gardening cost guide can help you determine how much you’ll need for gardening services.  

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FAQs on container gardening

All plant containers should have drainage holes. If your container of choice doesn’t have holes yet, you can punch some in them using a simple electric drill. To prepare your container for planting, place it in its final location to avoid having to lift a heavy pot. Fill it with good quality potting soil, water it thoroughly, and proceed to insert your plant or seed.

You can use lightweight pot fillers, such as recycled plastics, cardboard, and newspaper if you’re looking for cheap container gardening ideas. Another option is heavyweight pot fillers like broken pieces of ceramic, cinder blocks, or wood logs. When gardening, you don’t need to fill the whole container with potting soil. Good quality soil can get expensive after all.

Proper maintenance is the key to any beautiful garden. Make sure your plants get the right amount of sunlight and water. Plants that grow in containers also need regular fertilizer because they can’t get nutrients from the soil – no matter how good your potting mix is.

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