Large Plants for Containers

Quite a few large plants grow well inside containers. Choices include small trees, edibles, ornamentals and tropical plants. Growing inside containers makes large plants easier to maintain; they are generally closer to the house and add color and lushness to a bare patio, and protection for frost sensitive plants is more convenient. The most important step is selecting a container large enough to house the plant long-term.


Banana (Musa acuminate) is a member of the family Musaceae. Gardeners have many choices in dwarf varieties well-suited for containers such as the dwarf Cavendish. Banana plants are tropical and sensitive to frost, so those in cooler areas of the United States will have best luck growing them inside containers. Optimal temperatures for growth and flowers range between 78 and 86 degrees F. Banana plants stop all growth when temperatures drop to 50. Bring containers into a warm area if frost is present. Containers approximately three times larger than the banana's root ball are suitable, and you should use a well-draining potting mix rich in organic material, as bananas are heavy feeders. Plants require full to partial sun for best growth and the soil kept moist but not flooded. Fertilize with a 6-1-12 fertilizer every other month during the growing season. Depending on cultivar, plants range 7 to 30 feet high and produce a flower stalk in 10 to 15 months, with the harvesting of bananas in 80 to 180 days.

Bush Allamanda

Bush allamanda (Allamanda neriifolia), also called bush trumpet, is a perennial, flowering shrub that is adapted to growing in USDA planting zones 9 through 11. Cooler regions experiencing frosts will have best success growing bush allamanda inside containers that are approximately two to three times larger than the plant's root ball. They make a colorful addition to the landscape, and their yellow trumpet-like flowers bloom year-round. If your area experiences frost, you should bring containers inside to a warm area during cold weather. Plants grow relatively fast, reaching heights of 5 to 15 feet with a spreading habit of 4 to 10 feet. Container-grown allamandas usually do not reach the maximum height and width. Use a well-draining, organic potting mix and situate the plant in areas receiving full to partial sun; these plants bloom poorly in shade. Bush allamanda is relatively drought-tolerant once established but will benefit from regular watering.


Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), also called cape jasmine, grows well planted in the ground in USDA planting zones 8 through 10. Cooler areas are suited for growing the plant inside containers two to three times larger than the plant's root ball. Deep green foliage and white, fragrant, rose-like flowers blooming throughout summer make gardenia an attractive, containerized addition to the landscape. Use well-draining potting mix with peat moss included; gardenias are acid-lovers. Situate the container is full to partial sun for best growth and water regularly, keeping the soil moist. Fertilize every two months throughout the growing season with a gardenia-blend fertilizer including iron. Plants grow 4 to 8 feet in height and spread.

Keywords: large container plants, plants for containers, selecting container plants

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.