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Creative Portable Garden Ideas for People on the Move

Even if you are living someplace temporarily, you can still grow all sorts of gardens. We'll show you how with this list of ideas.

Contributors: Susan Martin

Even if you are living someplace temporarily, you can still grow all sorts of gardens. We'll show you how with this list of ideas. You might be surprised to learn that you can grow enough veggies for grilling all summer, a water garden, pollinator gardens and even your favorite hydrangeas all in a way that makes it easy enough to pick up and move when it's time to go. Let’s take a closer look.


Pack One Planter with All Your Favorites

Sometimes, all you need is one. Maybe you’re living someplace just for the summer or renting a place with a porch or small deck that works for growing plants. Grab one large container and pack it with your most-loved flowers or plants. We used our Beachside Drive recipe here. A trip to a local flea market landed us the classic wooden folding chair which we spruced up with a little paint, and the beach towel basket was from our stash. When it’s time to pick up and go, it’ll take just two trips to the car and you’ll be off to your next adventure. 



leafjoy H2O®
 – The Ultimate Portable Houseplant

Talk about easy to move – and a cinch to grow! Hydroponic leafjoy H2O houseplants are the simplest solution for anyone looking for an easy way to bring nature inside. There’s no messing with soil or fertilizer since all these plants need to grow is about an inch of water. Nature does the rest! Cylindrical leafjoy H2O Mini plants are completely enclosed and corked shut, while leafjoy H2O Bowls have an opening in the cork from which the plant’s leafy top emerges. Both are perfectly petite, fitting easily on a bookshelf, desk or windowsill. Their portability also makes them very giftable.



No Ground to Garden In? Think Vertical.

It might be hard to believe if you live someplace with ample room to garden, but lots of city dwellers live in places like this where you have to get creative if you really want to grow some plants outdoors. This person made great use of a blank brick wall by mounting terra cotta pots and filling them with the kinds of plants they’d want to walk past every day—Superbells® calibrachoa, Goldilocks creeping Jenny and Sweet Caroline Raven sweet potato vines. Come wintertime, or when it’s time to move, just remove the pots from their brackets and pack them up.



Renting a Small Place? Create an Outdoor Room Using Lightweight Planters and Patio Furniture.

We created this outdoor room for a renter to make the most out of the little outdoor space they had available. Knowing it would all need to be packed up and moved in a year or two, we selected all lightweight planters, furniture and accessories that wouldn’t be a burden to move. Sunny yellow and sky blue blossoms make the space feel extra cheerful.

Flowers used include:

YELLOW - Supertunia Mini Vista® Yellow petunia, High Noon® bush daisy, Luscious® Royale Lemon Tart lantana, ColorBlaze® Royale Pineapple Brandy coleus, Lemon Coral® sedum

BLUE - Blue My Mind® Evolvulus, Rockin’® Playin’ the Blues® salvia



Build and Plant a Portable Living Screen

Even when you live in close proximity to neighbors, it’s still nice to have some privacy out on your porch or patio. We built this living screen and set it on wheels to make it easy to move. When the lease is up, it can be emptied and set in the back of a pickup truck to bring with you to your next place. The wheels also make it easy to move into a garage for the winter.



Not Staying More Than a Year? Plant Your Garden in Raised Beds and Boxes.

Staying at a house with a yard for just a year or two? You can still grow a garden there without digging up any grass if you use raised beds and boxes. If you are concerned about damaging the grass underneath, choose the type of raised beds and boxes that are elevated so it will still get some light. Here’s the kind of soil you’ll need to fill them with. This idea is especially useful if the best sunlight you have to work with is out in the middle of the yard. Less expensive models will last 2-3 years before needing to be replaced, so you may decide to toss them when it’s time to move.



Grow Your Greens and Veggies in Containers on Your Balcony

If growing in raised beds and boxes out in the yard isn’t possible, don’t worry! There are loads of dwarf vegetable varieties available that can easily be grown in containers and will still yield a substantial harvest. Plus, by cycling your planters through cool season crops and summer crops, you can get more than one harvest from them per season. A good place to start is with our Proven Harvest® varieties and compostable Eco Pots.

A big advantage of growing fruiting crops like tomatoes and peppers on a sunny balcony is that the buildup of heat from the surrounding walls can help the fruit ripen faster. You’ll be picking peppers to make your famous salsa in no time!



Plant a Temporary Pollinator Garden Using Annuals

The words “pollinator garden” may conjure up grand visions of sun drenched prairies dotted with purple coneflowers, buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies. While that’s a noble goal, there’s another way to bring in the pollinators if you’re gardening on the go: plant flowering annuals. This is especially useful if you don’t plan to live in your current home long term but still want to do your part to help pollinators. For a smaller investment than a garden with all hardy plants, you could fill a small space with flowering annuals that are known to draw in bees, butterflies or hummingbirds. In the garden pictured here, we used Truffula Pink Gomphrena, Vermillionaire® Cuphea and Blue My Mind® EvolvulusSee more annuals for pollinators.



Grow a Pollinator Garden in Containers

Similar to the idea above, you can also grow a pollinator garden using containers. For the project pictured here, we wanted to combine flowering annuals with hardy perennials, so we used larger containers to accommodate their larger root mass. The larger sized containers also help the perennials overwinter more easily in place. Bee balm, salvias, lantanas, petunias and cuphea are sure to bring in a parade of all sorts of butterflies, skippers, hummingbird moths and pollinating bees throughout the summer. Get a closer look at this project.



Dreaming of Having a Water Garden? Here’s a Portable Option.

If the idea of having a water feature is intriguing but you don’t want the work or permanence of a full out water garden, consider a smaller portable option like you see here. A bowl-shaped container without a drainage hole holds Queen Tut dwarf papyrus, ‘Ogon’ Acorus and water lettuce. Mosquito dunks can prevent your portable mini pond feature from becoming a breeding ground for those pesky biters. At the end of the season, simply empty the bowl and start over again the next year. Get our guide for creating a simple water garden.



Bring Your Hydrangeas with You When You Move

It’s tough to find anyone who doesn’t love hydrangeas. Those summertime blooms are what we live for after a long winter. The good news is that whether you have a landscape or only containers work with, you can grow many of your dream hydrangeas. Maybe you’re thinking of moving, so you’d like to plan ahead and make it easy to pick up and take them with you when it’s time. Considering how long and well modern hydrangeas like Let’s Dance ¡Arriba® bloom, you could even grow them for all-summer color in containers on your deck.

There are some key factors you’ll want to consider if you are growing hydrangeas in containers, starting with which varieties are well-suited for this purpose. You might also be wondering what to do with them at the end of the season. Here’s where you can find all of that important information.



Need to Set Up a Flexible Outdoor Dining Area? Use Portable Containers.

Outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants is ubiquitous across small towns now, and a wonderful yet unexpected side effect of this has been an increase in businesses displaying flower pots and boxes outside. Often, they are used as a barrier between the street or sidewalk and diners, like you see pictured here. If set on wheels, they are easy to shift as needed to accommodate additional seating or to redirect the flow of guests. The Corten Steel planters pictured here are mounted to wood caddies which can be rolled if they need to be rearranged. Learn how to build a wheeled planter box.



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