When growing plants in containers, you'll need a full sun location. And you'll need to choose your pot size according to the type of plants that you're growing. It should be large enough to hold the soil and water that the plants need for healthy growth.

Produced by the Department of Communications at Kansas State University. For more information, visit our website at: http://www.kansasgreenyards.org

Growing Veggies in Pots; Select the Right Size

In order to successfully grow vegetable in containers, you still need the most important thing – a full sun location. So, if you don’t have full sun, you need to find a spot where you can put your container so that it will get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day.
The next thing you need are some containers. And then you’ll need some potting soil. We always recommend a potting soil for growing vegetables in containers – not garden soil. Potting soil will drain better, and it’s usually free of any insects or diseases that may cause problems for your vegetables.
The smallest size that I would recommend for a container would be about 12 to 15 inches in diameter. It’s also important when growing vegetables in containers to have a container that’s deep enough. A really shallow container won’t be able to hold enough water for the vegetable to grow well. So the two most important things to consider when choosing a container are having one that is wide enough, and deep enough.
Another important consideration for selecting containers is to make sure that there is a drainage hole in the bottom. This allows excess water to escape the pot so that your plants don’t get overwatered. Almost any vegetable can be grown in a container, although some will be more successful than others.
If you’re only going to use small containers, then you should look for varieties of vegetables that are smaller or more compact. There are many types of tomatoes that are dwarf plants that grow smaller, rather than the large full size tomato plants. Most peppers will do well in containers, regardless of the variety. But, if you want to consider growing plants such as squash, melons, or cucumbers, you’ll need a much larger container. They need that much soil in order to grow well.
A shallow container such as this one is ideal for growing plants such as lettuce or spinach in the early spring when keeping them watered isn’t a problem. Lettuce and spinach don’t have a deep root system, so they don’t mind a shallow container. If you want to grow a larger vegetable such as a pepper, eggplant, or a small tomato plant, you’ll need a larger container. It should be 12 – 15 inches across and about a foot deep. This will provide enough soil area for the plant to do well.
If you want to grow larger plants such as cucumbers, squash, or a full size tomato plant, you’ll need a larger container that will have a large area for soil, and will be a lot easier to keep watered and moist during the summer.
This feature story prepared with Rebecca McMahon, Kansas State University Research and Extension Horticulture Agent, Sedgwick County. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at KansasGreenYards.org.

Horticulture Newsletter

KSU Horticulture Newsletter

Get more information from our weekly newsletter.

Find Your Local Office

Have questions or need help?

Local Extension Office Map

Click the map to find your Local Extension Office.

YouTube Videos

YouTube Videos

Watch K-State Research and Extension Videos.

Kansas Healthy Yards Tagline