Planting outdoors in pots or containers is a good way to garden in a limited space. Pots, for the most part, are portable and can be moved to take advantage of sun, moved out of the weather or arranged in any type of configuration you like. Virtually any type of plant can be planted in a pot, including vegetables, perennials, annuals and small fruit trees.
Herbs and Vegetables
Pots can be used to plant herbs and vegetables outdoors. A strawberry jar, which is a planting jar with pockets, is useful for planting different herbs together. A larger pot, divided into fourths, can contain an even greater variety. Herbs such as chervil, compact marjoram, parsley and chives grow well together. Larger-growing herbs, such as rosemary and bay, will need their own pot.
Vegetables planted in pots need more maintenance than flowers, according to "The Encyclopedia of Gardening," by The American Horticultural Society. Vegetables need more frequent watering, so make sure the pot either has holes to allow for drainage or use terracotta pots, which are porous and allow the roots to breathe. The best pot-grown vegetables are compact, such as lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and radishes, although root vegetables like potatoes can be grown in pots provided the container is large enough.
Perennials and Annuals
Flowering perennials can also be planted in outdoor pots. Group potted perennials together on a patio, balcony or roof garden as they would be in a mixed planting bed, either by size, color or personal taste. Flowering perennials that do well in containers include daisies, glory lilies, calliandra, fuchsia, hibiscus, neomarica and heliotrope, according to "Spectacular Container Plants" by Byron E. Martin and Laurelynn G. Martin.
Tender perennials such as begonias, dahlias, bacopa and caladiums do well in pots or you can overwinter them and bring them indoors until the next growing season. Annuals such as impatiens, lobelia, nasturtium, pansies, perilla and vinca are also good options for container gardening. Annuals live for only one season, so flower choice can change by the growing season.
Growing fruit outdoors in pots is a solution to poor soils or unpredictable climate, according to the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Proper maintenance is necessary to maintain fruit plants. Avoid overwatering and overfertilizing. In fruit trees, fruit production depends on pollination and the size of the tree, so consider planting dwarf cultivars that are self-pollinating.
Tropical fruits that do well in pots include papaya, pineapple and avocado. Citrus fruits include lemon, lime and grapefruit. Shallow-root fruits such as blueberries and strawberries do well in outdoor pots. Blueberries, especially, need acidic soil to grow and the soil in a pot can be easily managed. Grapes also do well in outdoor pots but should be pruned after the second year of growth to keep the plants manageable.