How to Fertilize Potted Vegetable Plants


A container garden allows you grow a lush vegetable garden, even if you don't have a regular garden bed available. Nearly all vegetables can be grown in containers, whether you want to grow root crops such as carrots or fruiting plants such as peppers and tomatoes. Nutrients must be provided to the vegetables in the containers, usually through the use of fertilizers. The frequent watering necessary to keep the soil moist in the pot washes out the nutrients, so container vegetables must be fertilized on a regular schedule to replenish the nutrients.

Step 1

Fertilize the potting mixture prior to planting. Mix 1 tbsp. agricultural limestone, 1/2 tbsp. superphosphate and ½ tbsp. slow-release 5-10-10 analysis fertilizer into each 1 gallon of potting mixture.

Step 2

Mix 2 cups 10-20-10 or 12-24-12 analysis fertilizer with 1 gallon of water. Stir the mixture until the fertilizer dissolves completely.

Step 3

Water plants with the fertilizer solution until the excess moisture begins draining from the bottom of the pot. Begin fertilizing daily with this solution one month after planting the containers, as most of the original nutrients have been used.

Step 4

Water the vegetables once weekly with plain, unfertilized water until the excess moisture drains from the bottom of the pots. This washes excess fertilizer salts out of the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • While fertilizer is necessary for healthy plant growth, over-fertilizing can damage the plants or lead to healthy foliage growth but no fruit set.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring spoons
  • Limestone
  • Superphosphate
  • 5-10-10 fertilizer
  • Potting mixture
  • Measuring cups
  • 10-20-10 fertilizer


  • Ohio State University Extension: Container Vegetable Gardening
  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening In Containers
Keywords: fertilizing potted vegetables, container gardening, feeding vegetable plants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.