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Planting something, watching it grow, and enjoying the fruits of your labor is one of life’s greatest joys.

Container gardening can be as fulfilling as large-scale farming when it comes to growing and harvesting your own food.

And you don’t need a vast expanse – all you need is some space for buckets and containers and the ability to give your plants what they need.

Whether planting in your backyard, on a balcony, patio, or urban homestead, here are some of the best plants that are simply perfect to grow in containers.

tomatoes growing in containers on a sunny day

What You Need for Backyard Container Gardening

Plants need certain things to grow. Gardening, no matter the scale or type, needs the same basic things. To have a successful container garden, there are five key things you will need to make sure you have:

  • Space for the plants to grow
  • Large enough containers
  • Easy access to water
  • Enough hours of sunlight
  • Time to care for your plants 
a person wearing gardening gloves picking vegetables in a wooden planter

Plants and Herbs to Grow in Containers

With the five key elements, you can start building your container garden quickly! Here are 20 edible plants and herbs you can start growing right now in containers at home:

1. Tomatoes

This is one of the easiest crops to grow in a home garden, tomatoes are also perfect for containers as the root systems are not overly extensive and they thrive with minimal care needed.

tomato plants in black pots with red and green tomatoes

Related post: How to Support Tomatoes

2. Lettuce

Many varieties of lettuce can be grown in a homestead container garden, but the bushier varieties often work the best as opposed to the larger head lettuce varieties.

Related post: How to Wash & Store Lettuce

3. Strawberries

With a more compact growing habit and a good ratio of plant space to crop yield, strawberries work quite well in containers and are a good way to get fruit into your garden space.

4. Peppers

Pretty much any variety of pepper, from jalapenos to bells to chillis, can be grown in containers, and they make a wonderful staple crop. 

5. Onions

So long as the container is deep enough to allow the bulb to grow properly, onions can easily be grown in containers with minimal care.

a person is planting onions in a yellow painted pot

6. Beans/peas

You have plenty of options with beans and peas, such as green beans, black-eyed peas, and other crops that grow well in containers with a trellis or growing posts in place.

7. Eggplant

On the larger side, even busy eggplants can thrive in a large container to support the root system and provide enough room for the plant to grow freely.

8. Broccoli

Depending on the size of your container, you can grow several broccoli plants in a single container on a balcony, patio, or any other outdoor space with ample room.

9. Cabbage

A little harder than some other crops, cabbage is still a good choice for a homestead garden limited to container gardening due to space constraints and limitations.

cabbage plant in a pot on a brick walkway

10. Potatoes

While you will need large and deep containers for them, potatoes are another edible plant that works well in a container setup and doesn’t require a lot of space overall.

11. Dill

Small in size but packed with plenty of flavor, dill is a common herb seen in homestead gardens that thrives in containers and does well outdoors in a variety of environments.

12. Basil

A staple of kitchens everywhere, when you want to have fresh basil for your cooking adventures, there is no better place to get it than from your own container garden spot.

13. Parsley

While it is often grown in the garden among other plants, parsley can also thrive in smaller containers, making it a great addition to your garden gardening layout. 

healthy parsely plant in a garden container

14. Oregano

One of the big appeals of oregano is that it can easily be grown in a container, and it also offers a wonderful aroma that makes any outdoor space all the more inviting. 

15. Garlic

With big flavor and small packaging, garlic plants do not take up a lot of space and offer a good crop yield for the space they take up, which is why they are so popular in container gardens. Having garlic readily available, you can turn it into garlic powder, roast it, or use it as an ingredient in your mashed potatoes

16. Rosemary

Grown as a flowering plant and a cooking herb, rosemary is another herb well-suited for growing in containers and can be placed in small containers among your other crops.

Related post: How to Dry Rosemary

17. Chamomile

Anyone who wants fresh sleepy-time tea will love having a pot of chamomile on hand for those sleepless nights or when it is time to sit back and relax with some fresh tea. 

chamomile plant with flowers

18. Lemongrass

Full of flavor and tantalizing aroma, lemongrass can easily be potted up and grown in any outdoor space, making it another popular herb for homestead container gardening

19. Cilantro

A common addition to many recipes, you can’t go wrong with a container of cilantro in your garden space as it will keep the flavorful herb available all season long.

20. Catnip

If you have a furry feline friend at home, consider making them their own little potted plant and keep some fresh catnip on hand for them to enjoy as well.

Much of the joy of gardening comes from seeing the fruits of your labor and enjoying it. Container gardening is a great way to practice more sustainable gardening while ensuring you and your family have fresh food on hand when needed!

Tamara White
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Tamara White is the founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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One Comment

  1. This is great !
    We live in snowy Michigan and it’s not too early to think about spring.
    It will be here before you know it!

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