Twelve Vegetables for Spring Containers: Choosing Food Plants for Pots

Many edible plants have been grown in containers for centuries. Even gardeners with ‘brown thumbs’ have been known to successfully cultivate herbs, fruits and vegetables in containers.


Not all vegetables do well in containers but the choice of plants which can be grown in pots may surprise many gardeners. Some are simply too large, their root systems need more space than a pot provides or they grow too tall and wide making them too heavy to stand in containers.

The selection of vegetables which can be grown in containers includes many varieties ensuring something for everyone in the family.

What Not to Plant in Pots

  • Large ‘root’ vegetables. (large turnips, beets and others)
  • Vegetables which become top-heavy as they mature.
  • Slow maturing plants.

Good Choices for Containers

  • Dwarf varieties of all possible plants.
  • Quick maturing vegetables.
  • Most leafy vegetables.

Twelve Vegetable Choices for Pots

Asian Greens


Grow pole-type green snap-beans in large containers outfitted with a tripod made of bamboo and twine or a trellis made from wood stakes and wire.


Grow cultivars which remain small at maturity.


Carrots should be grown in deep containers and may be harvested young for tasty baby carrots.


Small or miniature type cucumbers are perfect for the container garden but larger varieties may also be grown. Provide support for vines the same as snap beans.


This is an easy vegetable to grow. It is fast to mature and a very prolific fruiter.


Although some small-heading lettuces may be grown in containers, the leaf type lettuces are the easiest to grow in pots. Leaf lettuce is also well known as a cut-and-come-again vegetable.


Bunching onions and small flat-globe type onions such as ‘Barletta’ can be grown in pots of moderate depth.


The choice of peppers which can be grown in containers is unlimited. Prepare enough pots to grow sweet, mild and hot varieties for a good supply all season.


Planting small cultivars in moderately deep containers ensures a good harvest of this salad favorite.


Spinach is perfect for containers and is also a cut-and-come-again vegetable.


If growing large bush tomatoes, they need large containers; five-gallon buckets are good for tomatoes. The will also need to be trellised to keep them from falling over. Grape and cherry sized tomatoes can be grown in containers which allow them to drape over the edge. Hanging pots accommodate these well.

This is only a sampling of the vegetables which can be grown in containers. There are many others. Gardeners who would like to grow food this way should experiment with different types and sizes of containers, soil mixtures and vegetables until the best combination is found.