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The Best Vegetables to Grow in Containers | Gardener’s Guide (2023)

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foods you can grow in containersYou’ve been bitten by the gardening bug but don’t have much space? No problem! With just a few containers, you can grow a bountiful harvest on your patio or balcony. Let your green thumb flourish by trying your hand at vegetables that thrive in pots.

Be adventurous and plant an array of peppers from spicy jalapeños to sweet bell varieties. Grow spinach, kale, chard, and lettuce for nutritious salads. Plant carrots, radishes, and beets for crunchy snacks.

With some trellising, climbing vegetables like scarlet runner beans will climb right up the side of containers. With the right soil, sun exposure, and a little TLC, these containers will be overflowing with homegrown veggies in no time.

So grab your pots and get planting!

Key Takeaways

  • Scarlet runner beans, beets, lettuce, kale, onions, radishes, spinach, and peppers thrive in containers.
  • Dwarf, compact varieties are best for small spaces and containers.
  • Use organic potting mix and avoid overwatering.
  • Plant compatible vegetables together and use trellises and cages for support.

Scarlet Runner

Scarlet Runner
You’ll adore watching those vivid scarlet runner blooms unfurl right before your eyes in a pot on the patio. The scarlet runner bean thrives in containers, rewarding you with not only a bounty of beans but also a spectacular display of blooms loved by hummingbirds.

Its vigorous climbing vines grab onto trellises and stakes, though some gardeners opt to let them scramble.

While traditionally planted in-ground alongside corn or climbing up corn stalks, the scarlet runner bean makes a fine container plant. Pair it with lettuce, spinach, kale, or Swiss chard for a potted medley of edibles.

The blooms attract bees to aid pollination while the vines offer support for heavier vegetables.

Let this beautiful bean enliven your container garden with its floral show and plentiful pods.


Have you considered growing beets in containers this season? The Chioggia and Detroit Dark Red varieties produce colorful, sweet roots in patio pots or window boxes. Start beet seeds directly in containers with ample organic matter for quick germination and healthy growth.


Sweeter than candy, the red and white spirals of Chioggia beets can transform your container garden into a kaleidoscope of color. Their fascinating patterns emerge as edible roots when harvested. Prep by trimming tops and leaving 2 inches of stems.

Boost soil nutrition by planting alongside tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and radishes. Water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry between drinks. The beets’ soil-enriching powers and delicate flavor balance fiery radishes and sweet carrots.

Detroit Dark Red

With their deep crimson interior and earthy-sweet flavor, Detroit Dark Reds make a nutritious addition to any container garden. To ensure an improved yield from your seeds or starter plants, provide fertile, loose soil and strong stakes for these tall beets.

Monitor for pests and harvest the roots when they reach full size. Timing your soil preparation, seeding, and harvesting correctly results in a bountiful crop of beautiful beets.


Growing nutrient-rich chard is easy with a Rainbow Mixture and Ruby Red potted plant. The colorful stems and leaves add visual appeal to any patio or balcony. You’ll enjoy harvesting the tender greens and ruby stalks all season long.

Rainbow Mixture

This colorful rainbow chard is a cinch to start from seed in pots for a visually stunning edible addition to your container veggie garden. The tender greens and bright stems of rainbow chard pair fantastically in salads, while the older leaves cook into a succulent dish.

Grow this easy vegetable among your flower cart of potted cucumber, hanging tomatoes, and windowsill basil. Rainbow chard is a versatile plant to add visual appeal and harvestable greens to any container vegetable garden.

Ruby Red

You’d be tickled pink to grow the ruby red chard in your container garden, since its colorful stems and leaves will jazz up your patio. The ruby-hued stalks and bitter greens of this chard promise a dense harvest when provided ample sunlight and frequent watering.

Its sweet blossoms and shade tolerance allow planting among other sun-loving vegetables. This versatile green produces a continuous small harvest when cared for properly.

Chili Peppers

Chili Peppers
You’re looking to add some spice to your container garden. A couple of fiery options perfectly suited to pots are jalapeno and Thai hot peppers. These compact yet feisty varieties will thrive with full sun exposure, regular water and fertilizer, producing bountiful crops of peppers perfect for salsas, stir-fries, and more.

Jalapeno Early

You’ll love growing jalapenos in pots because they thrive in contained spaces with full sun exposure. Their size makes them ideal candidates – grow them in anything from a 5-gallon container to a window planter.

They have good heat tolerance, but keep pots well-drained since too much water dilutes the flavor. Providing a soil blend with enough nutrients helps jalapenos flower and fruit continuously. Pick often to prompt even more peppers. And for camaraderie, try planting some cilantro or basil with them.

Thai Hot

Last night’s curry still tingling on your tongue, you eye the potted Thai Hot pepper plant, a daring bloom beckoning adventurous taste buds. The petite peppers pack a powerful punch, their searing heat and fruity undertones inspire bold new dimensions of flavor.

Let your culinary creativity run wild – slice thinly for pungent garnish or add whole for an extra kick. Though diminutive in size, these peppers promise a world of daring possibilities in your container garden.


When selecting kale to grow in containers, consider compact varieties like Dwarf Blue Curled Vates and Dwarf Siberian. These dwarf kale cultivars thrive in pots and produce tasty greens without taking up too much space.

The ruffled leaves of Dwarf Blue Curled Vates offer ornamental appeal with a frosty blue-green color, while Dwarf Siberian is a hardy variety with classic dark green kale foliage. Both remain compact at 12-15 inches tall, making them excellent choices for container vegetable gardens.

Dwarf Blue Curled Vates

Blue Curled Vates kale grows great in pots, with its ruffled green leaves happily curling over the edge. This compact, cold-hardy variety thrives when overwintered in containers. Its tasty crinkled leaves pack dense nutrition.

Interplant with beets, onions, or herbs. Let some leaves reach full size for harvesting while pinching others for salad mix.

Dwarf Siberian

Dwarf Siberian kale thrives when grown in containers, producing a hearty harvest of tender greens despite its compact size.

  1. Choose dwarf varieties like Dwarf Siberian that reach just 18 inches tall.
  2. Harvest leaves from the top down to promote new growth.
  3. Fertilize lightly to avoid leaf burn.
  4. Plant with beets, onions, or herbs as companions.
  5. Use organic potting mixes to ensure healthy green leaves.

Growing Dwarf Siberian kale in pots lets you enjoy fresh greens and beautiful foliage even with limited space.


You’ll find lettuce varieties like Burgundy Delight and Slow Bolt Arugula thrive in pots and planters. The deep red hues of Burgundy Delight contrast beautifully with greens for a salad mix. Slow Bolt Arugula is known for lasting longer before bolting in summer heat – perfect for continuous harvests.

Both looseleaf lettuces prefer part sun and rich soil, producing tender leaves with complex, nutty flavors.

Burgundy Delight

You’re gazing at the deep red leaves of Burgundy Delight lettuce thriving in your container garden. This variety produces a delicious harvest of tender leaves perfect for salads. It requires full sun, moist soil, and adequate spacing in containers for ideal growing conditions.

Check leaves daily for pests and diseases. With proper care, you’ll enjoy harvests of richly colored, flavorful lettuce all season long from your patio or balcony.

Ideal Conditions:

  • Full sun
  • At least 6 inches between plants
  • Moist, fertile potting mix

Container Spacing:

  • 1 plant per gallon container
  • Greater spacing for larger leaves

Soil Nutrition:

  • Warm weather
  • Compost/organic fertilizer

Consistent moisture.

Slow Bolt Arugula

Your quick-growing Slow Bolt Arugula greens thrive prolifically in tiny pots on your patio.

  1. Rich in vitamin K and antioxidants, these tangy greens boost your health.
  2. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep in rich soil, thin to 2-4 inches apart.
  3. Keep moist, harvest outer leaves often to keep producing.
  4. Delicious in salads, sandwiches, pesto, and more.

This easy-to-grow spicy green brings nutrients and intense flavor to dishes all season long. With shallow roots and rapid growth, arugula fills containers quickly for frequent harvests.


Let’s talk about growing onions in containers! This versatile vegetable comes in many types that can thrive in pots. For example, the Tokyo Long White is an heirloom onion that forms long white roots. You’ll appreciate its mildly sweet flavor. Or consider the White Lisbon bunching onion, which continuously produces green onion stalks instead of bulbs.

Snip the crisp leaves as you need them for cooking. With the right care, onions are an easy-to-grow crop that adds flavor to any dish.

Tokyo Long White

Onions are a great choice for container gardening. Tokyo Long White is an heirloom variety that grows well in pots and produces sweet, crisp bulbs. You’ll enjoy the mild, sweet flavor of Tokyo Long White onions in salads, salsas, and more.

Grow this sturdy white onion from seed or sets in a pot at least 10 inches deep. Tokyo Long White matures in 100-110 days. Harvest the onion bulbs when the tops turn yellow and fall over. Fertilize every 2-3 weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer during growth for the best yields.

White Lisbon

You’d savor the delicate bite of White Lisbon scallions harvested fresh from your container garden.

  1. Use a deep pot that is at least 8 inches wide.
  2. Place it in full sun, with a minimum of 6 hours of daily light.
  3. Grow it alongside companion plants like beets and lettuce.
  4. Prune the leaves regularly for a continual harvest through summer.

White Lisbon scallions offer a mild onion kick to salads, sandwiches, and more when picked straight from their container garden home.


Have you considered growing radishes in containers? Radishes are a perfect veggie for container gardening, especially quick-growing varieties like Solaris Hybrid and Cherry Belle. These crisp, pungent roots thrive in pots and provide a satisfyingly fast harvest.

Just sow the seeds an inch deep in a container filled with potting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist as the radishes germinate and grow. In only 3-4 weeks, you’ll be harvesting a tangy crop of round red radishes with bright white interiors.

Radishes are an ideal veggie to start your container garden.

Solaris Hybrid

With radiant purple skin and crisp white flesh, this hybrid radish variety brightens up any container garden. Keep the soil moist for rapid germination in 7-10 days. Water regularly for fast growth. Combine Solaris with lettuce, carrots, and beets. Pick every 3-4 weeks before the roots crack.

Cherry Belle

You can grow Cherry Belle radishes in containers. They’re an easy, quick crop for beginner gardeners. The cherry radish sprouts thrive in pots. Enjoy the round, cherry-sized fruits in just 4 weeks. Pinch off the peppery flowers to encourage root growth. Water the compact bushes regularly.


After a quick and easy spring crop like radishes, extend your container harvest into summer heat with Okinawa spinach. This heat-loving spinach thrives when regular spinach bolts. Its dark green leaves with striking purple undersides make an attractive edible groundcover.

Though technically a spinach, Okinawa spinach grows more like a spreading vine. Select compact varieties if growing in containers. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last spring frost. Transplant into pots, window boxes, or hanging baskets.

Use a quality potting mix and keep the soil consistently moist in full to partial sun.

Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers
You’ll be delighted by the beautiful, bountiful peppers you can grow in pots. The Confetti Hybrid produces a rainbow of mini bell peppers in red, orange, yellow, purple, and chocolate colors. Its compact 10-12 inch plants are ideal for containers. For a conversation starter, try Jungle Parrot – its tapered fruits ripen from green to yellow, orange, and finally crimson with zigzag stripes.

These sweet, crunchy peppers add vibrant colors and flavors to salads, pasta, and stir-fries.

Confetti Hybrid

These brightly colored sweet peppers jazz up any container garden with their mix of red, orange, and yellow miniature bell peppers.

  • Grow in Jake’s salad mix and a simple soil blend.
  • Use a vertical trellis for support.
  • Stagger plantings for continuous harvest.
  • Site in partial sunlight.
  • Enjoy fresh in salads all season long.

The Confetti Hybrid pepper is a fun, tasty addition to any patio or balcony garden. Their vivid hues and sweet flavor make salad time a fiesta. With a bit of care, you can have these compact peppers producing armfuls of flavorful fruit.

Jungle Parrot

The vibrantly colored Jungle Parrot pepper, with its striped yellow, orange, and red hues, thrives when grown in a container on a sunny balcony or patio. My neighbor Barbara has a Jungle Parrot plant in a pot on her deck that produced dozens of sweet bell peppers last summer.

This heirloom variety originated in South America. The fruits are 3-4 inches long with a crisp texture and sugary taste. Jungle Parrots are easy to grow, high-yielding, and add vibrant color to any container garden.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of soil or potting mix should be used for container gardening?

You’ll want to use the finest organic potting mix around, naturally. After all, only the most delicate soil will properly cradle those pricey hydroponically-grown rarities you planted on a whim.

How often and how much should container plants be watered?

Like a thirsty child, container plants need TLC. Check soil moisture daily; water when the top inch is dry. Don’t drown them! Give 1-2 inches per week, adjusting for size, sunlight, and weather.

What kind of fertilizer is best for plants grown in containers?

For robust container plants, use a balanced organic fertilizer formulated specifically for containers. Apply monthly according to label rates. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can burn roots in a confined pot.

How much sun exposure do vegetable container gardens need daily?

You’ll want your vegetable container garden in a spot with at least 6-8 hours of full sunlight daily for best results. Different veggies need varying amounts of light, so check each plant’s requirements.

What are some tips for dealing with pests like aphids on container grown veggies?

Check under leaves often and spray off aphids with a strong stream of water. Apply neem oil or insecticidal soap weekly to smother them. Introduce ladybugs as natural predators. Trim off heavily infested parts if needed.


What a fantastic coincidence that you’re interested in growing veggies in containers, and this guide covers the finest edible choices. You’ll find everything from leafy greens like kale to sweet peppers that are perfect for small spaces.

With this diverse selection of container-friendly foods you can grow, your patio or balcony is sure to become a bountiful edible oasis. Let your container garden flourish with delicious homegrown produce like beets, radishes, lettuce, and more with the help of this knowledgeable gardener’s guide for the best vegetables to grow in containers.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.