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Container Gardening: The Complete Guide

See which plants are in these containers

The secret is out. Container gardening is fun, easy and rewarding. Think of all the creative possibilities!

Container gardening is the perfect way to exercise your green thumb whether you live in a house with a yard, a patio home, or a condo with a balcony.

Think beyond garden beds and create captivating containers, filled with lush color and fascinating texture.

  • Create a traffic-stopping pot of color to place by your front door. 
  • Hang baskets of billowing blooms from the balcony or around the patio.
  • Fill a window box to enjoy as part of your kitchen window. 

Container gardening lets you add visual interest anywhere you want to draw the eye or direct traffic. Container gardens provide focal points that grab attention and screen the unsightly.

Top Container Garden Ideas

16 Full Sun Annuals for Pots & Window Boxes

container recipes

Container Garden Recipe Search

potting soil for containers

The Best Potting Mix for Container Gardening

How To Create Beautiful Container Gardens

You don’t have to buy a pre-planted container to get great results. All you have to do is follow the information below and you’ll have a combination you’ll be proud to say you grew yourself.

Container Garden Design - Planting
Learn how many plants are needed for a container and how to place those plants for maximum effect. 

Thriller, Filler, Spiller
For container gardening and patio containers, one common way to start designing is to use the “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” concept. 

Best Colors for Flower Pots
The first thing to consider when you start designing your container garden is color.  There are a number of different ways to combine colors in a combination planter.

Foliage & Texture for Containers
Incorporating colorful foliage plants and a variety of textures will take your container plantings to the next level. 

Get more inspiration from these container gardening projects

What Are the Best Plants for Pots?

Many plants can be grown in containers, including:

  • Annuals
  • Perennials
  • Shrubs
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Vegetables
  • Herbs

Your climate and sun or shade conditions will determine what plants will do best in your containers. Make sure the plants you select have the same light and water requirements. 

Shop for container plants - Order plants online and have them shipped right to your door

Check out these popular plant choices for containers:

Top 10 Shrubs for Containers & Small Spaces

Growing Hydrangea in Pots

How to Grow Hibiscus in Pots

Thriller Plants for Containers

Can I Grow Shrubs in Containers?

How to Grow Tomatoes in Pots 

How to Take Care of Potted Plants

Once you've picked your plants and planted them in your container, you'll need to provide the proper care to make sure they thrive. Your plants will be at their best when you are watering properly, providing the right nutrients, and trimming them back if they become overgrown. 

Learn more about container care in the following articles:

How to Water Potted Plants
Proper watering of the plants in your pots is crucial to having the plants perform their best. When should you water? For containers, it’s best to soak them once a day, maybe twice in extreme heat. Water in the morning and near the roots rather than directly over the foliage of the plants.

Overwintering Potted Perennials & Shrubs
Learn how to grow and overwinter perennials and shrubs in containers.

Container Gardening Tips
Learn how your choice of container and soil and correct watering and fertilizing practices will produce great planters.

10 Container Gardening Mistakes to Avoid
Let’s take a look at the most common mistakes people make when growing plants in containers so you can be sure to avoid them.


Take the guesswork out of watering your containers with these self-watering ceramic planters.  

Learn more and
buy AquaPots online

 container plantsThe plants in this container include three different petunias and an angelonia.
View Recipe

Proven Winners Container Recipes

With Proven Winners, landscaping means more than adding bedding plants to your yard and garden. With our healthy performers and some step-by-step advice, you can create a garden in a basket or a landscape in a container!

When combining container plants, here are some useful resources:

For your combinations, purchase equal numbers of each plant – 2 each for a 14" container and 3 of each plant for larger containers.

Tips for Picking the Right Pot

When selecting your pots, pick something that suits your style and consider the following:

  • Make sure your containers have drainage holes to prevent plants from drowning due to over-watering
  • Terra cotta pots aren't frostproof and may crack when freezing temperatures strike
  • Unglazed pots will dry out more quickly than glazed ones
  • A plastic pot retains water more effectively than a ceramic one
  • Small pots will dry out faster than larger pots because they have less soil
  • Try unique garden planters such as galvanized metal buckets, old milk cans, washtubs, teapots, roasting pans, or watering cans

Here are two ways to make gardening in containers more convenient: One, put planters on casters, or rolling plant caddies, to make them super-easy to move. Two, use drip irrigation to water your containers automatically. Try our WaterWise® Container Watering Kits.

See more container gardening articles.


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