Ideas for Potted Plants

Cultivating plants in containers offers opportunities for versatility and diversity, not just for homeowners with limited space, but also for people with plenty of in-ground gardening room. Balance the size of each pot with the plant or plants that will grow in them. Rather than limiting yourself to traditional concepts, branch out, so to speak, by using them to grow plants you didn't think you could and by considering them key landscaping elements.

Grouping

Group potted plants of varying sizes at or near a seating area, such as on a porch, patio, deck or near chairs that circle around a fire pit. Clusters with odd numbers draw the eye to them. Grouping the containers will also help protect them and the plants from wind, which dries out the soil more quickly than that in the ground. Ensure the pots are large enough to accommodate plants, particularly roots, when they reach full maturity.

Vegetables

Just because you don't have a large plot of land to grow vegetables and herbs doesn't limit your cultivation opportunities. Use containers with drainage holes to create a mini garden. Almost any vegetable will grow well in pots, according to Texas A&M University Extension. Grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions and carrots in pots. Pole beans can also be cultivated above-ground as long as there is enough vertical space for them to climb. In very limited space, cultivate smaller variety vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes, and rapidly growing types, such as radishes.

Herbs

Select a site that receives full sun and late afternoon or evening shade to grow herbs in pots. Set potted herbs next to the outdoor grill and close to the kitchen for easy access when you're cooking. Allow each herb 1 gallon of potting mix. Cultivate herbs with aggressive growth habits, such as mint, in separate containers. Choose types with compact growth habits rather than taller plants, such as dill, that may cause the container to blow over in the wind. Consider growing trailing herbs that drape over the pot for visual appeal.

Shrubs and Trees

Potted shrubs and trees lend the appearance of permanent structure and landscaping to an area, but with the added benefit of portability. Plant dwarf varieties of trees and shrubs in containers. Place them near a home's front entrance to draw visitors. Choose varieties that spread all year long and can easily be controlled. Try smaller evergreen shrubs and ornamental Japanese maple trees that provide good foliage cover and distinctive canopy form.

Bring Them Indoors

Pots allow those who live in northern, colder climates to cultivate year-round plants that are normally considered annuals in those regions. Grow cold-sensitive perennial plants, such as basil, hibiscus and Meyer lemon trees, outdoors in pots in the summer and then bring them inside for the winter.

Keywords: potted plant ideas, potted plants, container gardening ideas

About this Author

Joy Brown is a newspaper reporter at "The Courier" and www.thecourier.com in Findlay, Ohio. She has been writing professionally since 1995, primarily in Findlay and previously at the "Galion (Ohio) Inquirer" and "Toledo City Paper." Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history from Miami University.