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The Best Potting Plants

By Sharon Sweeny ; Updated September 21, 2017
Try growing plants in pots if you have limited garden space.

Increase your available growing space by potting plants and growing them in containers. Nearly every type of plant has a species or variety that will successfully grow in a container, including annual flowers, greenery and roses. Keep a close eye on potted plants growing outdoors during the hot summer months; their soil can dry out within hours on an extremely hot, windy day. Check plants that are growing in full sun morning and evening, and water if necessary.

Moss Rose

Moss rose (Portulaca grandiflora), which is a low growing flowering annual, is ideal for growing as a potted plant. It prefers full sun and is extremely tolerant of dry soils, providing they are light and friable. It produces rose-like flowers from early summer until early fall. The foliage is somewhat thick and succulent, and the leaves are finely divided.

The flowers of moss rose can be rose, orange, yellow or white, including bi-colors, and are about 1.5 inches across. Growing to a height of about 8 inches, the moss rose will quickly fill in a pot and soon begin to trail over the edges.

Asparagus Fern

With its gracefully arching branches that resemble the tops of the edible asparagus plant, the asparagus fern (Asparagus densiflorus 'Sprengeri') is an excellent hanging plant to pot up. Native to Africa, it is commonly grown outdoors as an addition to container gardens and indoors as a featured potted plant. Its needle-like leaves are deceptively soft; they conceal small thorns that grow along the main branches.

Asparagus ferns grow 12 to 24 inches high and rapidly spread up to 3 feet when they are planted in the ground outdoors in frost-free areas. The spread of potted specimens is limited by the size of the pot. Grow asparagus ferns in partial shade or part sun. They like reflected light but will do poorly if they are placed in reflected heat. The roots develop fleshy nodules which can be divided to increase your supply. They are somewhat hardy, only dying down to the roots when temperatures drop into the mid 20s.

Miniature Rose

Primarily developed from the floribunda rose known as “Rosa chinensis 'Minima,'” miniature roses are true roses. A rose is considered miniature if its blossoms are less than 1.5 inches across. Miniature roses grow from 6 to 18 inches tall, but some varieties are climbing and can grow to 5 feet high, covered with tiny blooms.

Roses prefer rich, well-drained soil that is full of organic matter. Fertilize them regularly with specially formulated rose food, following the manufacturer's application rate. Water them when the soil on the surface of the pot feels dry to the touch and do not let the soil dry out completely. Roses require six hours of full sun a day in order to produce flowers, but they prefer the cooler morning sun and protection from the hot late afternoon sun.


About the Author


Sharon Sweeny has a college degree in general studies and worked as an administrative and legal assistant for 20 years before becoming a professional writer in 2008. She specializes in writing about home improvement, self-sufficient lifestyles and gardening.