16 Shares

Looking for the best vegetables for container gardening? You’ve come to the right place. Container gardening is a simple way to begin gardening, add more space to an existing garden, or make a garden portable. Through the years I’ve grown many crops in containers, and these are my top picks for the 20 best vegetables (fruit & herbs too!) that grow well in containers.

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.

When you are deciding what to plant in your containers, here are a few guidelines to follow: 

When choosing to grow in containers, look for “dwarf”, “bush”, or “compact” varieties. These are smaller versions of full-size plants that do better in containers. 

Because containers limit the size of the roots and available water, some plants are better-suited to grow in containers. Adding an olla to your container helps provide regular water for your plants. 

What is an olla? 

A clay pot with a narrow neck and bulging body used as a watering technique that reduces evaporation and makes water available where it is needed by the roots

The olla is regularly filled with water, which seeps out through the porous wall of the pot into the surrounding soil and root zone of the plant. I use ollas from Growoya in most of my containers. 

20 Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

1. Tomatoes

Choose a large enough container (at least 10 gallons) and water it well. Tomatoes grow happily when given an oya or self-watering container that will ensure consistent watering. Plant one tomato plant per container and add a trellis when you plant. Determinate varieties are best for all but the largest containers.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow tomatoes

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

2. Peppers

Good drainage is a must for peppers, and containers provide that. Peppers also grow well with an olla. Choose at least a medium size container (5 gallons or larger). They also prefer warm soil, and containers will warm up more quickly in the spring. In cold climates, you can bring those same containers inside to overwinter the peppers. Provide support for peppers at time of planting.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow peppers

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

3. Citrus Trees

Growing citrus in containers limits their size so I can add more varieties to my garden.  Growing citrus in containers also keeps the roots out of your garden beds. In cooler climates, container-grown citrus can be brought indoors. Use an extra large container that holds at least 20 gallons of soil.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow citrus trees

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

4. Potatoes

I prefer growing potatoes in containers – it makes harvesting so simple! When the potatoes are done, just dump the container into a wheelbarrow. Choose at least a medium size container (5 gallons or larger) and use slightly acidic soil.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow potatoes in containers

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

5. Squash

Summer squash can take up a lot of room in your garden, but grow happily in a container (5 gallons or larger). Leave plenty of room around the container for the plant to grow large. Ollas are a great choice to add with squash. Most winter squash grow too large to grow well in containers, but smaller varieties like mini jack pumpkin also do well.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow summer squash.

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

20 Best Vegetables for Container Gardening (cont.)

6. Lettuce

Lettuce, spinach, arugula, and other greens are a perfect choice for small containers (2 gallons or larger). Most greens have a small root system and grow quickly. Give lettuce regular access to water (an olla is great for this) and they often grow better in containers.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow lettuce

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

7. Eggplants

Choose compact varieties like fairytale and bambino. Eggplants prefer warm soil; if you grow in containers then you can plant earlier in the spring. Stake eggplants to support branches and grow in a medium size container (5 gallons or larger).

Read this post to learn more about how to grow eggplants

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening

8. Peas

Put supports in place at time of planting. Peas’ shallow root systems make them a good choice for medium size containers (5 gallons or larger). Peas are easy to plant from seed. Look for dwarf varieties of peas like little Marvel, Sugar Ann, and Tom Thumb. 

Read this post to learn more about how to grow peas

9. Sweet Potatoes

Growing sweet potatoes in a container (at least 10 gallons) keeps them contained. Sweet potato vines grow quite large; let them grow and direct all that energy to the growing potatoes. Growing in containers makes harvesting sweet potatoes simple  just dump the container into a wheelbarrow.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow sweet potatoes.

10. Carrots

Choose a container that is 10-12 inches deep and holds at least 3 gallons of soil. Plant carrots by seed, and thin to 3 inches apart when carrots are 2-3 inches tall.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow carrots

20 Best Vegetables for Container Gardening (cont.)

11. Cabbage

Cool-season crop that grows well in containers. It grows well in containers that are at least 10-12 inches deep and hold at least 5 gallons of soil. 

Read this post to learn more about how to grow cabbage

12. Onions

I love interplanting these in containers with other crops. Onions are an excellent companion plant. When growing bulbing onions, choose a container that is at least 12 inches deep. When growing green onions, choose a container that is at least 6 inches deep. 

Read this post to learn more about how to grow onions.

13. Garlic

Garlic is a great choice for containers. Grow it all by itself or interplant with other crops. Garlic grows well even in small containers (2 gallons or larger).

Read this post to learn more about how to grow garlic.

14. Okra

This warm-loving crop grows through summer and into fall. Interplant quick-growing crops like beans or carrots, and then let okra take all the space when those finish. Grows best in a medium size container (5 gallons or larger). 

Read this post to learn more about how to grow okra

15. Swiss Chard

Swiss chard grows happily in small containers (2 gallons or larger). This good-for-you vegetable tolerates a little cold and a little heat. Easy to grow from seed or transplant, harvest as needed for months.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow Swiss chard. 

20 Best Vegetables for Container Gardening (cont.)

16. Kale

Cool-loving and easy to grow. A frost improves kale’s flavor. Grows well even in small containers (2 gallons or larger)

Read this post to learn more about how to grow kale

17. Cauliflower

Can be tricky to grow because cauliflower doesn’t like it too hot or too cold. It grows well in containers that are at least 10-12 inches deep and hold at least 5 gallons of soil. 

Read this post to learn more about how to grow cauliflower. 

18. Strawberries

Growing strawberries in containers keeps them up off the ground and away from pests. Day-neutral and ever-bearing types of strawberries do best in containers. Spinach is an excellent companion crop for strawberries. Choose a container that is at least 8 inches deep and holds at least 3 gallons of soil.

Read this post to learn more about how to grow strawberries.

19. Fig Trees

Growing fig trees in containers helps to control their size and slow the growth. In cooler climates, they can be brought indoors. Use an extra large container that holds at least 20 gallons of soil.

20. Most Herbs

Most herbs, especially invasive ones like oregano, mint, and lemon balm, grow well in almost any size container and will expand to the size of the container.

Container Gardening for Beginners: 10 Steps for Success

More resources for container gardening:

Best Vegetables for Container Gardening
Best Vegetables for Container Gardening
16 Shares

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *