Container Vegetable Plants: Suitable Vegetable Varieties For Containers

balcony veggies
Image by HeikeRau

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

You may think vegetables aren’t well suited for container gardening, but there are many good container vegetable plants. In fact, nearly any plant will grow in a container if the container is deep enough to accommodate the roots. Read on for more info on some good container vegetables.

Veggie Plants for Container Growing

As a general rule, the best veggie plants for container gardening are dwarf, miniature or bush types. (A few suggestions are offered in the list below, but there are many varieties – check the seed packet or nursery container). Most container vegetable plants need a container with a depth of at least 8 inches. Some, like full-size tomatoes, need a depth of at least 12 inches and a soil capacity of at least 5 gallons.

The larger the container, the more plants you can grow, but don’t crowd the plants. For example, a single herb plant will grow in a small container, while a medium-sized pot will accommodate one cabbage plant, two cucumbers or four to six leaf lettuce plants. A large pot will grow two to three pepper plants or a single eggplant.

Vegetable Varieties for Containers

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Use this helpful list of container vegetable plants to inspire you to try your hand at porta growing with vegetables.

Small Pots (1/2 gallon)

Parsley
Chives
Thyme
Basil
(and most compact herb plants)

Medium Pots (1-2 gallon)

Cabbage (Baby head, Modern Dwarf)
Cucumbers (Spacemaster, Little Minnie, Pot Luck, Midget)
Peas (Little Marvel, Sugar Rae, American Wonder)
Leaf lettuce (Sweet Midget, Tom Thumb)
Swiss chard (Burgundy Swiss)
Radishes (Cherry Belle, Easter Egg, Plum Purple)
Green onions (All varieties)
Spinach (All varieties)
Beets (Spinel Little Ball, Red Ace)

Large Pots (2-3 gallon)

Dwarf carrots (Thumbelina, Little Fingers)
Eggplant (Morden Midget, Slim Jim, Little Fingers, Bunny Bites)
Dwarf tomatoes (Patio, Tiny Tim)
Brussels Sprouts (Half Dwarf French, Jade Cross)
Sweet peppers (Jingle Bell, Baby Bell, Mohawk Gold)
Hot peppers (Mirasol, Apache Red, Cherry Bomb)

Super-Large Pots (3 gallon and up)

Bush beans (Derby, Provider)
Tomatoes (Needs at least 5 gallons)
Broccoli (All varieties)
Kale (All varieties)
Cantaloupe (Minnesota Midget, Sharlyn)
Summer squash (Peter Pan, Crookneck, Straightneck, Gold Rush Zucchini)
Potatoes (Needs at least 5 gallons)
Pumpkin (Baby Boo, Jack Be Little,
Winter squash (Bush Acorn, Bush Buttercup, Jersey Golden Acorn)

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