Why Care Is Different in Pots

When growing plants in containers, you’re responsible for the sunshine, soil, water, and food. Consider this:

You Control Access to the Sun

Almost all vegetables and herbs need a lot of sunlight, and sometimes that is only found on patios, decks, or the edge of the driveway. Put containers wherever you can see your shadow most of the day.

You Provide the Soil

It pays to use a premium quality potting mix. Don’t use garden soil or compost, which are too dense and will smother roots. After 12 to 18 months, potting mix loses its original texture—compost it and replace with new. In cool climates, a two-year rotation is usually fine. The container must have drainage, too.

Watering Has to Be Consistent

Pots dry out faster than the ground, so you must water regularly. This may be the biggest reason novice gardeners have trouble. Hook up a drip system on a timer, so potted plants will get water no matter what your schedule. Veggies aren't forgiving about drought.

Fertilizer Is the Only Food Source

Veggies in a pot need water more often than those in the ground, so granular fertilizer doesn't last as long, no matter what the label says. In warm climates, a 9-month formula may only last half that long and may be diluted. Follow up with a liquid plant food during the growing season, such as our Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food.

Tips from Experience »

  1. Try lightweight pots to make handling and moving easier.
  2. For big, heavy, decorative pots, insert a smaller lightweight pot inside.
  3. Put heavy pots on casters to move easily.
  4. Put a drainage dish under the pot or use a self-watering pot.
  5. Water with a drip system on a timer. No worries when you're not around.
  6. Mulch to help conserve moisture.