Planting Pots In Pots: Gardening With The Pot-In-A-Pot Method

Container Planted In The Ground Around Other Plants
pot in pot
(Image credit: Gardening Know How, via Liz Baessler)

The pot-in-a-pot method of gardening is gaining ground as more people learn about it. Although it may not be for everyone, or for every bed in your garden, there are some great reasons to try this unique gardening strategy.

What is a Pot in Pot Garden?

A pot in pot garden is a simple idea and one that is easy to construct. Essentially, you bury containers in the ground and insert other containers with plants in them. To construct a bed like this, start by choosing the container sizes you’ll use. Dig holes in the bed in the desired arrangements and put the containers into the holes. They should be in the ground all the way up to the lip.

With the empty containers in the ground situate the containers with plants inside them. The potted plants should be a little bit smaller than the empty containers so that they fit snuggly inside. The result, if you do it right, is a bed that looks like any other.

You should not see any pots, and if some stick a little bit above the soil you can use mulch to hide them.

Reasons to Use the Pot-in-a-Pot Method

While traditionally the beds gardeners create are designed to be semi-permanent, planting pots in pots allows you to develop more changeable beds. You can change out plants throughout the year and try different plants from one year to the next much more easily when it only requires lifting out a pot and putting in a new one.

Here are some other great reasons to try burying pots in the garden:

  • Change out annuals in the summer.
  • Experiment with arrangements and test lighting requirements for different plants.
  • Keep blooms going all spring, summer, and fall by changing plants.
  • Move houseplants to outdoor beds for the summer and back in for the winter.
  • Secure plants in the ground and protect against wind.
  • Easily replace dead plants.
  • Have better control over temperature, fertilizer, and water.

You may also find reasons not to use this gardening method. For instance, a plant won’t be able to grow fully when restricted to a container. However, there are many great reasons to try pot in pot gardening, so start with one bed and see how you like it.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.