Naturally Inspired

Container Gardening

Ornamentals, vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers. This gardening option is ideal for people who live in the city or in apartments. Planted containers are also a wonderful accent for homes and patios. Typical containers include planter boxes, barrels, window boxes and hanging baskets.

Choosing A Container

  • Think big: Small containers will restrict root growth. Select containers that have wide openings. Containers should have bottom drainage holes about ½ inch in diameter.
  • Line ground containers with newspaper so that soil will stay in when water drains out. Line hanging baskets with sphagnum moss so they will hold moisture.
  • Glazed ceramics with drainage holes in the bottom are a safe choice. Avoid plastics and be careful of wood, which may rot (exceptions are cedar, redwood, teak and other outdoor-friendly woods).
  • Do not use wood that has been treated with creosote and other toxic coatings that can harm plants.
  • Clay containers can work, but because they dry out quickly, check moisture levels often.
  • If you live in a hot region of the country, select containers that are light in color.


Planting A Container

Always set containers on blocks so they can drain. The soil in your containers should retain moisture but should not become soggy. If drainage is a problem, you may want to add a little sand.

Use potting compost to create an optimal growing environment. Potting soils are usually not ideal for container gardens.

Fill the container to within a couple of inches from the top edge to leave room for a thin layer of mulch.


Unlike houseplants and in-ground plantings, container plantings drain often and profusely and thus may require frequent fertilizing. Consult with your GRO-WELL retailer about the right fertilizer for your planting.

Special Considerations

  • Containers dry out faster than soil in the ground. Some plants in some locations may require daily watering.
  • The same rules apply to container placement as to in-ground plantings: Select a location based on the plants in your container, remembering that different varieties require differing amounts of sunlight and shade.