10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (2023)

Growing Veggies Without a Garden Patch


Kerry Michaels

Kerry Michaels

Kerry Michaels is a container gardening expert with over 20 years of experience maintaining container gardens in Maine. She specializes in writing and capturing photography for gardening and landscape design for print and broadcast media, including the Discovery Channel, Small Gardens, and Disney, among others.

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Updated on 06/08/21

10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (1)

There is no such thing as foolproof vegetable gardening, but container vegetable gardeningcomes close by reducing problems posed by weather and critters. Another great benefit of container gardening is that you do not need a vast space or in-ground garden patch. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow in containers are nightshades like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant, as well as fast-growing crops like peas and lettuce. Take a look at 10 vegetables that you can grow even if you do not have a garden plot but have a patio, porch, or balcony with good sun exposure.


A larger volume of soil will hold moisture and nutrients longer. You might consider starting with a larger container than you think you need to reduce your margin of error.

10 Container Garden Tips for Beginners

(Video) 20 BEST Vegetables, Fruits & Herbs for CONTAINER GARDENING: Growing in the Garden
  • 01 of 10

    Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum)

    Growing tomatoes in containers is easy and incredibly satisfying. Most tomatoes are happiest in big containers and will need staking or a tomato cage. This support keeps the heavy fruit from bending and breaking the vines. If you are buying tomato seedlings, look for short, stocky plants that do not have blossoms yet. Keep in mind the larger the tomato variety the bigger the pot it will require. Small cherry tomatoes will not require the same amount of room and soil as a large beefsteak type tomato.

    Tomatoes do not like the cold, so do not put them out too early. Make sure you harden offor gradually acclimate seedlings to outside living before you plant them. When planting tomato seedlings, remove the seed leaves and the first set of true leaves and place the bottom half of the seedling in the ground. Tomatoes are planted much deeper than most plants. Also, keep dogs and cats away from this plant. The leaves are toxic if ingested by pets.

    • USDA Growing Zones: Grown as an annual in all zones
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Deep, moist, good drainage
  • 02 of 10

    Peas (Pisum sativum)

    10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (3)

    Peas can be planted in early spring and then again when it gets cool in the fall. There are three types of peas: English peas, snow peas, and sugar snap peas. They are perfect for succession planting because they enrich the soil with nitrogen. Depending on the variety grown, most peas will require some type of support. Plant them in early spring. Once it gets warm and they finish producing, pull them out and plant something else in that container. Nitrogen is a vital nutrient fertilizing the soil for the next batch of plants. Peas are also one of the best vegetables to grow with your children; they grow quickly and easily.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Good drainage, enriched or loamy soil
  • 03 of 10

    Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum)

    10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (4)

    Freshly picked potatoes taste entirely different than the potatoes you buy in a grocery store. They have higher water content and a bitter, earthy flavor to usher in the freshness of spring. Growing ​potatoes in containers requires a lot of soil and water but is worth the resources and effort. Containers also add an extra level of protection against fungus or blight (Phtophthora infestans), which spreads easier among in-ground plants.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10B
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Good drainage, loamy soil
  • 04 of 10

    Squash (Curcurbita)

    10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (5)

    Squash is an easy vegetable to grow, and squash blossoms are beautiful, delicate edibles. Most squashes require a lot of space and a reasonably large container. Ideal growing conditions include lots of light, good soil, as well as consistent watering and feeding. If you are going to grow a winter squash such as butternut squash in a container, make sure the variety you choose is not one of the giant types, which can weigh more than 20 pounds and topple the containers. 'Honeybear' is an award-winning smaller variety of acorn squash, and there are even tiny pumpkins you can grow.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich soil, good drainage
    (Video) Top 10 Vegetables To Grow In Containers

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    Lettuce and Salad Greens (Lactuca sativa)

    Growing lettuce and other salad greens in containers is fast. Container growing gives you the flexibility to control weeds and pests more easily than in-ground planting. Most lettuces and salad greens are spring crops although there are newer varieties developed to withstand summer heat. You can also extend your harvest by moving your container to a cooler shady area as the growing season heats up. Lettuce does not need as much sun as most vegetables. Some great salad greens and mesclun mixes you can buy for container gardens that taste great and look good in decorative pots include Johnny's Elegance Greens Mixand Hudson Vally Seed Library's Mesclun Mix.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Partial sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist, fertile soil
  • 06 of 10

    Hot and Sweet Peppers (Capsicum annuum)

    10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (7)

    Both hot and sweet peppers can be spectacularly beautiful, especially orange and purple sweet peppers in containers. They thrive in grow boxes but can be grown in any large containerwith plenty of sun, good drainage, and consistent watering. Dry soil or overly wet soil is disastrous for peppers. One of the most significant benefits of planting peppers in containers is that you can move your plants inside if continuously stormy weather threatens your area for several days. Peppers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Hot peppers range in spice level from mild to searing to hardly edible.

    • USDA Growing Zones: Grown as annuals in all zones
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist soil with good drainage
  • 07 of 10

    Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus)

    10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (8)

    (Video) Five Best Vegetables For Container Gardening

    Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are a fast-growing vegetable commonly grown in containers. These water-loving plants do best in large plastic or ceramic pots that help retain soil moisture. Growing cucumbers in containers is a great way to give them the heat they love (hotter ambient temperatures raise soil temperature quicker in pots than in-ground). There are two main types of cucumbers: bush and vining. You can also choose to grow a variety more commonly used for pickling or one more popular for eating. Both types are good in salads but slicing cucumbers will not generally make good pickles. Either can grow in a container. Bush cucumbers tend to be shorter with smaller yields. Vining cucumbers will require a trellis or tomato cage.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 12
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Good drainage with moist, fertilizer-enriched soil
  • 08 of 10

    Radishes (Raphanus sativus)

    10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (9)

    Radishes grow quickly; most go from seed to harvest in just a month. They also do not need much space—they can grow in containers that are 4 to 6 inches deep. These plants will bolt in hot weather, but you control this easily by moving the plant into the shade or adding water to cool them down. There are many varieties, which means you can select your seeds based on appearance and flavor; some types are gorgeous. The tops or radish greens are also edible, as are the pods.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Good drainage with moist soil

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10

    Arugula (Eruca vesicaria)

    10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (10)

    Spicyarugula leaves are tasty, and its edible flowers are a sweet treat. They are also beautiful. Arugula does not need a huge container—a pot 8 inches deep and 6 inches in diameter works. Another benefit of growing arugula in a container is that you can move it. Arugula needs about 6 hours of direct sunlight but does not like scorching, afternoon sun. It is best to let this plant get full morning sun and move it or position it so that it only gets partial sun in the afternoon.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 11
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Good drainage with moist soil
  • 10 of 10

    Eggplant (Solanum melongena)

    10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers (11)

    Eggplant is one of those great vegetables that also works as an ornamental. Some eggplant varieties can get dense and heavy; do not use those types in your container garden. Look at compact cultivars like 'Fairytale' and 'Hansel' which are beautiful and tasty. Large containers are needed to support the roots of this plant and its bush-like growth. Also, if you are getting ceramic pots, consider getting glazed pots, which retain water longer.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 12
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Good drainage, evenly moist soil

Watch Now: 8 Mistakes You're Making in Your Container Garden

Article Sources

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  1. Solanum lycopersicum. North Carolina State University Extension.


10 Awesome Veggies to Grow in Containers? ›

10 Best Vegetables That Grow in Containers
  • 01 of 10. Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) ...
  • 02 of 10. Peas (Pisum sativum) ...
  • 03 of 10. Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) ...
  • 04 of 10. Squash (Curcurbita) ...
  • 05 of 10. Lettuce and Salad Greens (Lactuca sativa) ...
  • 06 of 10. Hot and Sweet Peppers (Capsicum annuum) ...
  • 07 of 10. ...
  • 08 of 10.
Jun 8, 2021

What vegetable grows well in container? ›

Vegetables that are ideally suited for growing in containers include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green onions, beans, lettuce, squash, radishes and parsley. Pole beans and cucumbers also do well in this type of garden, but they do require considerably more space because of their vining growth habit.

What fruits and vegetables can be grown in pots? ›

Almost any fruit or vegetable plant can be grown in a container, provided your container is large enough. You can easily grow herbs, peppers, tomatoes, onions, summer squash, beans and eggplant in summer, as well as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and greens in spring and fall.

What are the easiest plants to grow in pots? ›

Easy Plants You Can Grow in Containers
  • Vegetable: Leaf Lettuce.
  • Tropical: Mandevilla.
  • Tree: Japanese Maple.
  • Evergreen: Dwarf Alberta Spruce.
  • Sun Annual: Marigold.
  • Shade Annual: Coleus.
  • Sun Perennial: Chrysanthemum.
  • Shade Perennial: Coral Bells.
May 8, 2020

What is the quickest vegetable to grow? ›

1. Radishes. Radishes are one of the fastest vegetables, taking just three to four weeks to reach harvest time. They're also exceptionally easy to grow.

What plant can grow in 1 week? ›

If you provide the correct environmental conditions, marigold, cosmos, zinnia and dianthus seed will all sprout within one week.

What is the quickest growing plant? ›

The tiny aquatic plant Wolffia, also known as duckweed, is the fastest-growing plant known.

What plants grow in 3 days? ›

Cress is probably just about the fastest sprouting plant you'll find. If it's slow to sprout, it will take three or four days.

What's the quickest fruit to grow? ›

What are the quickest fruits to grow? The quickest fruits to grow are strawberries, blackberries and autumn-fruiting raspberries. These plants should all produce a crop of berries in the first year after planting.

What vegetables can I grow in 1 gallon pots? ›

Suggested Vegetables and Varieties Suitable for Container Gardening
Container SizePlant TypeSpacing/Planting
One gallon containersgreen beans2-3 plants
leaf lettuce4-6 plants
spinachdirect seed, thin to 1-2 inches apart
Swiss chard1 plant
10 more rows

How deep does a planter box need to be for vegetables? ›

For most plants, a 6-to 8-inch-deep planter box is sufficient. The depth may vary for some vegetables, however. Turnips, cucumbers, broccoli, beets, lettuce and green onions can all grow well in a planter box at that depth, but other vegetables, like cabbage, need a deeper depth of at least 10 inches.

What kind of soil should I use for container vegetable gardens? ›

To grow a successful container vegetable garden, start with great soil—not soil from your yard, but what's known as a potting mix. These mixes, like Miracle-Gro® Potting Soil, contain the right blend of materials like coir, peat moss and/or compost to create an ideal growing environment for roots inside a pot.

How deep do vegetable containers need to be? ›

Most vegetables require between six and 12 inches of container depth to grow healthy and strong.

How many tomato plants can I put in a 15 gallon container? ›

If you have the space and the containers, then one plant per 15 gallon container. If you are experimenting with varieties, then you could put 2-3 in the container, but you will not have the production or trouble free growth.

What can I grow in 2 gallon buckets? ›

A handy size chart
PlantMinimum SizePreferred Size
Basil1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter
Parsley1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter
Leaf lettuce; spinach1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter
Green beans2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter5 gallon; 12 inch diameter
5 more rows
May 3, 2019


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