How to Grow a Plant in a Container


A surprisingly large number of plants can be grown in containers, such as flowers, herbs and vegetables. It is the only thing you can do if your passion is gardening, but you don't have the time or room to create a full-fledged outdoor garden. And best of all, growing a plant in a container is generally not difficult, and is perfectly appropriate for a beginner.

Step 1

Choose a container. You can use any kind of container. Even a milk carton or jug can be fashioned into a plant container. The important things to consider are that it has adequate drainage and is an appropriate size for the plant. If you don't plan ahead, a mature plant will need a larger space for its roots and you will have to transplant it later.

Step 2

Scatter some stones along the bottom, over the drainage holes, of the container. This will help the water to move smoothly out of the bottom of the container. It also keeps the drainage holes from becoming stuck with soil.

Step 3

Fill the container with commercial potting soil, up to 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top. In time, the dirt will settle and recede a bit.

Step 4

Plant your particular seed choice according to the manufacturer's recommendations for depth and spacing. This information will be on the back of the seed packet. However, the general rule is that you should plant a seed three times deep as the seed is long.

Step 5

Spray the soil with water from a water bottle mister. Cover the container with a sheet of clear plastic wrap. Place the container, indoors, by a sunny window or outdoors if the temperature has warmed past the last frost date in your location.

Step 6

Remove the plastic sheet after seed germination takes place (when the seedling pops through the soil). Continue to mist the soil and seedling to keep the soil moist, but not sopping wet.

Step 7

Keep the planted container indoors by a warm window until the last frost has passed in your area. Move the container outdoors to a protected area, under a patio or porch for 2 to 3 days. This is called hardening (acclimating the plant to its new environment).

Step 8

Fertilize your plants about once a month, generally. However, different plants require different types and amounts of feeding. All-purpose fertilizers can be purchased at your local garden center that will work fine for most plants. Follow the manufacturer's directions on the package.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Stones
  • Potting soil
  • Seeds
  • Water bottle mister
  • Clear plastic wrap
  • Fertilizer (optional)


  • Agri Life Extension Texas
  • Container Seeds
Keywords: container plants, planting in containers, container garden

About this Author

Karen Ellis has been a full-time writer since 2006. She is an expert crafter, with more than 30 years of experience in knitting, chrocheting, quilting, sewing, scrapbooking and other arts. She is an expert gardener, with lifelong experience. Ellis has taken many classes in these subjects and taught classes, as well.