Container Gardening

Exterior container

Container Gardening

Container gardening is a great way to express your individuality and artistic ability. Plants in containers are easy to care for and they’re almost guaranteed to stay small and not creep into other gardens. They can be moved around for variety or out of the way when you need the space. Best of all, they can be kept close to where you can enjoy them. Use your imagination and you will have beautiful container plantings to enjoy through all the seasons!

What You Will Need

  • A container with drainage (see below)
  • Plants (see below)
  • Potting soil – best to use soil mix that is specifically formulated for containers (water retentive)
  • Pottery sealer to seal the inside of pottery container
  • Gloves
  • TrowelSmall container near house


Almost anything that holds soil and lets water drain is suitable for containers. There are an amazing variety of nice looking and inexpensive glazed and plastic pots and large containers available at nurseries and even big-box stores. But you don’t need to buy one, for often perfectly serviceable used or discarded containers may be found around the home.

  • Terra cotta pipes
  • Watering cans
  • Shoes
  • Tins
  • Pottery containers
  • Wood containers (preferably cedar)

Container Plant Suggestions

Consider colors and shades that compliment each other, alternating bloom times to keep your garden fresh and interesting throughout the season, and plant textures that work well with each other.

  • Annuals – can also be used for fillers such as: sweet alyssum, sweet potato vine, lobelia, bacopa, petunia, geranium
  • Perennials – heuchera, campanula, lavendar, scabiosa, rosemary, verbena, moss roses
  • Evergreens – hebe, dwarf boxwood, spirea, yew, camelia, cotoneaster, nandina, mugo pine
  • Grasses – black mondo, sedge, purple fountain grass, blue fescue
  • Vines – clematis, wysteria, potato vine, trumpet vine
  • Trees – any small tree, pee gee hydrangea, harry lauder walking stick, twisty baby black locust

Container Water Feature

Small water feature

To make a container water feature, use anything with an interesting shape that will hold water, such as:

  • An old birdbath
  • Ceramic container without drainage holes
  • Concrete bowl
  • An old wheel barrow

Fill with any planting material that thrives in water or a marshy soil, such as azola (fairy fern),  variegated four-leaf water clover, water lettuce. The simple water feature shown here contains Azola, which is a small leaved aquatic plant that thrives in morning sun.


The amount of sun, wind and amount of soil in your container will determine how often you will need to water. It is usually better to give good soaking with the soil dries out than little amounts of water very often. If your plants are not doing well in the location you have chosen, move the container so that it gets more or less light, more or less shelter.