Pots provide a wealth of versatility for those who don't have land for planting, and even those with generous plots still use them for visual appeal and functional purposes. Vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs and small trees thrive in pots. They also allow for easy pre-winter transfers of plants indoors; these plants would otherwise only grow as annuals in cool climates. Always choose pots that allow for drainage, and keep optimal plant sizes and light requirements in mind when choosing varieties.
Container Gardening Guide suggests growing cherry tomato varieties in pots that are at least 18 inches deep. The Ohio State University Extension advises using plastic pots rather than clay, the latter of which dry out more quickly and therefore require more frequent plant watering. Place a wooden stake in the pot before filling it three-quarters full with potting soil. Plant the seedling or young plant at the same depth as it grew in its smaller container, water it thoroughly and keep filling the pot with soil until the level is ¾ inch from the pot's top. Provide potted tomatoes with full sun in a spot that offers some wind protection.
These small, compact vegetables are also some of the quickest growing, maturing in within 20 to 60 days. Texas AgriLife Extension Service states Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe and (White) Icicle are suitable container varieties that can be grown in any size pot. Plant the radishes about two weeks before the predicted last spring frost date in pots that will receive some shade during the day. Sow the seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart. Thin the emerging seedlings to 3 inches apart. Consider successive seed sowing at 10-day intervals to extend the harvest season.
Petunias are often planted in pots because their growth habit allows them to cascade over the edge, creating a more graceful appearance. They are particularly useful flowers when coupled in the same pot with a "filler" plant with a low, but upright growth habit; and with a "thriller" plant that reaches the highest and has a striking look. Plant smaller varieties that have tinier flowers, such as multiflora and milliflora, and place them in a spot that receives full sun.
Crape myrtles are flowering bushes that bloom throughout the summer in the South and are easy to maintain, which are reasons enough for the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension to suggest using them in home landscapes. They are hardy to USDA zone 5 or 6, depending on the variety. Place the containers in full sun. Choose a dwarf crape myrtle variety that only grows up to 5 feet tall, such as Petite Orchid and Cordon Bleu. Water these bushes thoroughly after planting them and once each week for the first two months thereafter. Once they are established, they are more drought tolerant. Prune them about 6 inches above the soil level in the winter during their dormant season to influence their shape and size.