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Plants for Container Gardens

Just about any flower, fruit, or vegetable can be grown in a container, depending on the size of course, and the amount of sunlight available. Many plants, especially vegetables, need a specific number of hours of sun in order to flower and produce fruit and vegetables. If you're not sure there's enough sunlight on your balcony or patio to support plants that need full sun, pick a sunny day and observe the path of the sun. There's no point in planting a gorgeous flower that will never bloom because there isn't enough sun!

Annuals look especially nice in containers and can be changed each year to give the yard, balcony, terrace, or deck a different look every year. Many annuals thrive in shade, impatiens, nasturtiums, and begonias for example. Marigolds and pansies seem to flower all summer long and are really low maintenance. Hummingbirds love bright red flowers so if you'd like to attract some of these tiny birds, make sure you include red flowers.

Fruits that do well in container gardens include strawberries, low-bush blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries. Keep in mind that they need full to partial sun to flower and produce fruits.

Most herbs are ideal for container gardening and thrive, again under conditions of partial to full sun. Some herbs such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme originate on Mediterranean climates and prefer it hot and on the dry side. Others like mint and basil prefer moister soils and do well even if there's some shade. In fact a little shade might slow them down! Parsley and chives are also good choices, easy to grow and low maintenance.

Perennials can also be grown in containers but are better suited to climates with year round growing conditions. Dwarf cultivars of Shasta daisies and black-eyed Susan's along with sedum, veronica, and chrysanthemums are excellent choices that offer color throughout the summer and fall.

Last but not least are the numerous vegetables that can be grown in containers, among them summer squash, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, leeks, scallions, carrots, Swiss chard, tomatoes, beets, cabbage, and bell peppers.

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