Vegetable plants to grow in containers

Small yard or no yard, growing vegetables in pots could be the way to cut grocery prices or just have fun growing plants! Most vegetable plants need full sun, or at least six hours of sunshine a day. There are some vegetables that will grow in partial shade. In addition to seed or starter plants, you will need appropriately sized containers, potting soil, water soluble fertilizer formulated for vegetables, and in some cases, a support to keep the growing plant upright.


Vining plants can be grown in pots. Let the vine tumble off the side of the container and trail along the ground. Squash and eggplant can each be grown in containers. Choose a 5-gallon container or a pot at least 15 inches across for each plant. Plant cucumber in a 1-gallon container. If growing the vining plants on a balcony where the vine will be touching a hard surface, consider protecting the growing vegetables by placing something between the vegetable and the hard surface, like a thick newspaper held in place by the weight of the container. Plant these vegetables in full sun.

Bushy Vegetables

Bushy vegetables maintain a short stature of about 3 feet or less. Bush green beans will grow in a 2-gallon container or a pot about 10 inches in diameter. Green peppers and broccoli require a large container of about 5-gallons or a pot about 16 inches across. Plant these vegetables in full sun.

Requires Support

Dwarf varieties of tomatoes, like Tiny Tim or Poor Boy varieties, may not need support. You may choose to grow other varieties of tomatoes that require support in the form of a wire cage or three or four stakes positioned in the pot around which sturdy cord can be wrapped. Whatever variety of tomato you choose, the plant will need full sun and at least a 5-gallon container, which may be about 16 inches across. If growing tomatoes on a balcony, cord can be wrapped around the growing plant and secured to the balcony railing.

Partial Shade

Some garden plants can tolerate partial shade, which is three to six hours of sunshine. Vegetable plant options for partial shade include leaf lettuce, green onion and parsley. Each of these plants can grow in a shallow or small pot, like a window flower box or a 1-gallon container that could hold three to five plants. Spinach doesn't need a lot of room and can be grown in a 1-gallon container or a pot about 8 inches across.

TIPS: Containers tend to dry out quickly and may require watering more than once per day. If you are growing plants on a balcony, turn the container regularly to expose the leaves to sunshine.