The 27 Best and Easiest Vegetables That Grow and Thrive in Pots

Written by Jennifer Hollohan
Published: August 27, 2023
Share on:


Are you dying to start your own garden but are short on space? Do you only have a small patio or balcony but want to move past an herb garden? Good news! There are many vegetables that not only grow well in containers but will produce an abundant harvest throughout the season. The best part is that, regardless of your growing zone, you can use containers to extend your harvest season into the fall or winter since they are mobile. Below, you will find 27 vegetables that are easy to grow in containers.

Let’s take a look.

1. Arugula

This cool season leafy green often struggles in the heat of summer. However, in a container, you can easily offer enough shade for it to continue producing tasty leaves. Plant this vegetable as soon as the soil can get worked. Make sure you have a nutrient-rich blend in your pot and that there are adequate drainage holes. Arugula can get harvested young (after roughly 30 days) and matures within 60 days. 

Only The Top 1% Can Ace our Animal Quizzes

Think You Can?
Wild rocket arugula salad growing in the garden

Arugula can get harvested young (after roughly 30 days) and matures within 60 days. 


2. Beans

You can grow either pole beans or bush beans in a container. But there is one caveat. Pole beans love to climb. So, if you plant them, you will need to provide trellis support (and have room for that trellis support). Plant your seeds an inch deep in a well-balanced, nutrient-rich potting mix. The pots need plenty of drainage holes to allow water to escape.

bush beans

Beans grow well in containers as long as any pole beans have the proper trellis.

©yul38885 yul38885/ via Getty Images

3. Beets

While beets are a root vegetable, they have relatively shallow roots. That makes them a great addition to pots, provided you plant them in the right size. Select one that is at least ten inches deep with plenty of drainage. Pre-soak your seeds for 24 hours to improve the germination rate. Once beet greens grow approximately six inches, you can start harvesting them as leafy greens while you wait for the bulb to form.

beet in garden with shovel

Beets need full sun and fertile soil.

©Vlad Antonov/

4. Bok Choy

This cold-weather leafy green does not tolerate the summer sun well. So planting them in containers is a good solution. You can move them around to avoid the most intense heat, even in the heart of the summer. Plus, bok choy is a fast-growing green, allowing you to get plenty of successive plantings. 

A white ceramic bowl of baby bok choy in an oyster sauce with Shitake Mushrooms and fried garlic. The bok choy has been cooked. Its leaves are darker green than its stems. the mushrooms and garlic are different shades of brown and gold. a brown sauce/juice is visible in the bottom of the bowl. It looks like soy sauce, but is oyster sauce. The bowl sits on a table covered with a white table cloth. a wooden (bamboo?) spoon and fork are resting on a napkin behind the bowl. The cloth covered table takes up the background.

Bok choi does not tolerate the summer sun well, so planting it in containers is a good solution.


5. Broccoli

Broccoli may not be the first vegetable that comes to mind when considering container gardening. But it grows exceptionally well in a properly sized pot. Look for a container between 12 and 18 inches deep so the roots have room to stretch. Larger containers can even fit two or three plants. Plant them a few weeks before your last average frost date to ensure they have plenty of time to develop.

Broccolini stem growing in a vegetable patch

Broccoli grows exceptionally well in a properly sized pot.

©Verity McColl/

6. Cabbage

This relative of broccoli also thrives in containers. You will want to find a large enough pot, at least 12 inches deep. Plant the seeds roughly a month before the last frost date in nutrient-rich soil. 

Fresh cabbage

Cabbage grows remarkably well in containers.


7. Carrots

Another root vegetable that grows surprisingly well in containers is carrots. They need loose soil to grow deeply and develop the carrots you love. Match the type of carrot you want to plant to the proper container size. Since carrots are a cool season crop, you can get a lengthy growing season out of them, even in containers. Make a successive planting plan to get the most out of your space!

Fresh Yellow Carrots on white Background, Isolated.

Another root vegetable that grows surprisingly well in containers is carrots.

©Food Impressions/

8. Chard

Chard is a cool-season crop that is nutrient-dense. It makes a fantastic addition to things like stir-fries. Additionally, it is easy to grow. Plant your seeds a few weeks before the last frost. Then, you can succession sow throughout the season. Just be sure to offer shade during the hottest part of the year.

Bright lights swiss chard grown in a garden in Boylston, Massachusetts

Chard is a cool-season crop that is nutrient-dense and easy to grow.


9. Collard Greens

If you haven’t tried collard greens, now is the time. This flavorful leafy green grows extremely well in containers. A twelve-inch pot is sufficient for a single plant. However, if you want to plant additional plants or include other vegetables or flowers next to it, opt for a larger 24-inch barrel. Plant your seeds in nutrient-rich potting soil before the first frost.

Collard greens growing.

Collard greens thrive in containers but do need plenty of space.

© Shaw

10. Cucumbers

Successfully growing cucumbers in a container only requires a stable trellis. Cucumbers are a naturally sprawling plant. So, you will want to train the tendrils up a trellis to keep it contained within the pot. This vegetable is relatively quick-growing and produces a large harvest. Feel free to use multiple containers and stagger your plantings to keep yourself in fresh cucumbers all summer.

Green plant with ripe cucumbers in garden on sunny day

Successfully growing cucumbers in a container only requires a stable trellis.

©New Africa/

11. Eggplant

Eggplant plants get very heavy, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid planting them in containers. Just make sure to select a pot that is large enough for their root system and wide enough to have a stable footing. Plant or transplant your seeds in a high-quality potting medium that drains well, and keep your plants watered regularly. 

Fresh ripe globe eggplants.

These plants are heavy, so make sure to use a sturdy container.


12. Garlic

It may come as a surprise that garlic grows well in pots. However, it is an ideal plant for smaller spaces. Garlic takes a long time to develop and needs to be left alone while it does. So, planting this pungent member of the Allium family in a small container is a great choice. Select a container that can withstand temperature fluctuations since your garlic will be in the soil for roughly nine months.

Garlic Cloves and Bulb in vintage wooden bowl.

Garlic takes a long time to develop and needs to be left alone while it does.

©Marian Weyo/

13. Kale

Kale is perfectly suited for container gardening. The plants typically grow relatively compact, so they don’t need large containers. Small to medium-sized will suffice. Since they are a cool season crop, they do best in the spring, fall, and even into winter. 

fresh cut, dark green kale

Kale is well-suited for containers; you get the bonus of multiple plantings!


14. Lettuce

Plant this quick-growing vegetable in containers as soon as spring. Most varieties cannot withstand summer’s heat. So you can replant your seeds in the fall for an additional harvest. Depending on your growing zone, you may be able to move the container under shade to extend the harvest. Lettuce needs moderate sun and water. Overall, it is an easy plant to grow.

woman hands picking green lettuce in vegetable garden

Lettuce is a quick-growing vegetable that thrives in containers.


15. Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are another tasty, cool-weather crop that thrives in containers. Mustard greens like arugula, bok choy, and lettuce do best in cooler weather. Plant them in rich, well-draining soil in the spring and fall. 

mustard plants in the nursery, mustard greens growing in pots, mustard leaves close up.

Mustard greens are another tasty, cool-weather crop that thrives in containers.

©ByPict projects/

16. Okra

Since okra grows up more than out, it is perfectly suited for a container. The primary thing this flavorful vegetable needs is the sun. Okra thrives in warm, sunny environments. But the best part about containers is that you can move them as needed to ensure your okra gets plenty of sunlight. Once they start producing, you will be pulling in a significant harvest.

Close up of ladyfingers vegetable on hand. Close up of Okra .Lady fingers. Lady Fingers or Okra vegetable on hand in farm. Plantation of natural okra.Fresh okra vegetable. Lady fingers field.

Okra plants produce huge, abundant harvests as long as they have sun and warm weather…even in containers.

©Lahore Qalandars7/

17. Onions

Onions don’t need much room to grow, which makes them ideal for container gardening. But they do take a long time to grow, so you will want to find a spot where your pot can live for some months. Feel free to plant any variety that catches your attention. Green onions grow exceptionally well in pots. 

Green onions grow in the garden. Growing greens. Organic vegetables and herbs for the kitchen

Onions don’t need much room to grow, which makes them ideal for container gardening.


18. Peas

Peas are a cool weather plant that thrives in containers. Many varieties will need some support to keep your pea plants upright. One of the bonuses to planting peas in pots is that you can get extra mileage out of the containers. Peas won’t grow mid-summer in most growing regions. So you can plant them in the spring and in the fall. Then, in the middle of the summer, plant a short-season crop.

Sugar snap peas

Enjoy sugar snap peas straight out of the container!


19. Peppers

Pepper lovers can rejoice. This flavorful vegetable is easy to grow in containers! Feel free to plant your starts in a container, whether you like bell or hot peppers. They are relatively low-maintenance. Plant your starts in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil and place the container in a spot that receives full sun. Make sure to give your plant(s) consistent water throughout the growing season.

Lemon drop peppers

Hot and sweet peppers do very well in containers. They only need plenty of water and sun.

©Wirestock Creators/

20. Potatoes

Protect your potato plants from the blight that can travel in soil by planting them in containers or grow bags. You will need large containers and plenty of soil. But the investment will be worth it. Plant your potatoes early in the season and keep them watered consistently.

Fresh Baby Potato Crop with earthworm Just Dug Out Of The Ground in farm. man holding dirty potatoes harvest in garden

Potatoes do exceptionally well in pots or grow bags. They only need ample, loose soil and plenty of water to grow.


21. Radishes

If you like a bit of kick in your salad or pickles, consider planting radishes in your containers. This fast-growing vegetable doesn’t need a large space or deep soil to thrive. It only needs well-draining, high-quality soil. And the best part is that you can enjoy your harvest in roughly thirty days. 

Radishes are an edible root plant

Radishes grow best in loose, nutrient-rich soil.


22. Rhubarb

The biggest challenge to growing rhubarb in containers is keeping your plants consistently watered. Rhubarb requires moist sun and plenty of sun. The latter isn’t a challenge, but the former can be. Containers tend to dry out faster than raised beds or in-ground gardens. Look for a deeper pot, roughly 20 inches deep and wide (or larger), to ensure your plant thrives.

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) growing in garden

Rhubarb is easy to grow in containers if you keep it well watered.


23. Spinach

Spinach is one of the easiest plants to grow in containers. They don’t need much. Place your seeds in a pot roughly six inches deep in well-draining soil. As long as it gets plenty of partial sun and a moderate amount of water, you will have an ample harvest in no time. 

Green spinach grown in rows.

Grow spinach in the spring and summer in smaller containers.


24. Summer Squash

This delicious vegetable is perfect for containers if you find a summer squash variety with a compact growing habit. Squash needs very healthy, fertile soil, lots of water, and plenty of sun. Once you provide those necessities, you will find yourself overrun with squash before you know it.

Squash plant with blossoms, yellow zucchini in the garden, organic vegetables.Courgette plant (Cucurbita pepo) with yellow fruits growing in the garden bed outdoors

Summer squash is typically a compact plant that is well-suited for containers.

©Zhukovskaya Elena/

25. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato vines grow quite long, so if you are interested in planting them in containers, you will want some sort of support. Beyond that, sweet potatoes don’t need much. Plant the slips in loose, high-quality soil. Ensure the pot is at least 10 gallons (which means plenty of soil), and water the plant consistently. Then, all you have to do is wait!

uncooked sweet potatoes on a rustic plate served on a wooden table

Sweet potato vines grow quite long, so if you are interested in planting them in containers, you will want some sort of support.

©Angelika Heine/

26. Tomatoes

Growing tomatoes in containers couldn’t be easier. All you need is a larger pot and a way to stake the plant or a tomato cage. You can start them inside, or the purchase starts. Either path requires transplanting, which needs to happen deeper than most plants. Pinch off the lowest leaves and nestle your start deeply into nutrient-rich, well-draining potting soil.

A closeup of a female hand picking very small ripe pea sized cherry tomatoes in a vegetable garden.

All you need to grow tomatoes is a larger pot and a way to stake the plant or a tomato cage.


27. Turnips

Like beets, turnips don’t need too much space. Plant your seeds in a pot that is at least eight inches deep in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. They are a relatively quick-growing crop, so you can typically get an early harvest in 45 days and a full harvest in 60 days. 

Tunips (Brassica rabe)

Turnips only need a medium-sized container to thrive.

©Tiger Images/

Summary of 27 Best and Easiest Vegetables That Grow in Pots

4Bok Choy
9Collard Greens
15Mustard Greens
24Summer Squash
25Sweet Potatoes

The photo featured at the top of this post is © eugenegurkov/

Share on:
About the Author

Jennifer Hollohan is a writer at A-Z Animals, where her primary focus is on gardening, mammals, and travel. Jennifer has over twenty years of writing experience. She holds a Master of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, which she earned in 2005, and is a Herbalist. Jennifer lives in Colorado with her family. She loves hiking, admiring wildflowers, gardening, and making herbal tea.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.