Grow Vegetables and Flowers in Containers

Did you know that you can grow many types of vegetables in containers? You may be surprised to find that

Did you know that you can grow many types of vegetables in containers?

Romaine Lettuce with Sugar Snap Peas

You may be surprised to find that you can also add flowers to the same containers, with your vegetables.

Leaf Lettuce growing with Dianthus

This is what I call a ‘perfect marriage’ of plants – beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables in a single container.  Flowers add visual interest to pots, where you have vegetables growing.  As an added bonus, the flowers attract pollinators for many of your vegetables as well.

Growing vegetables and flowers together is easy:

Place containers where they will receive at least 6 hours of sun and fill your containers with planting mix, which is specially formulated to hold just the right amount of water.  Avoid using potting soil, which doesn’t always drain well enough.

Gather vegetable and flower transplants, or you can use seed.

Add a slow-release fertilizer to the top 2 inches of soil before planting, which will slowly release nutrients – vegetables need fertile soil.

Add your plants and water deeply.  Watering is the key to growing vegetables and flowers in containers, is proper watering.  Because the amount of water needed varies, depending on weather and sun exposure, it’s important to check to see when water is needed.  Simply insert your finger 1 inch deep and if it is moist – then you don’t need water.  However, if it’s dry – then water deeply.

After eight weeks, here is what it will look like:

Nasturtiums, Bell Pepper, Spinach and Violas

So, are you ready to start?

Here is a list of vegetables that do well in containers:

Beans, Lettuce, Peppers, Spinach – I have grown all of these in containers with good results.

Cucumbers and Tomatoes also do well in containers, when given support such as a small trellis or tomato cage.

*Some vegetables DON’T do well in in pots such as asparagus, cauliflower, corn, most melons and root vegetables like carrots, radishes and turnips.

The potential combinations of flowers and vegetables are endless.  Just be sure to choose flowers that will grow at the same time that your vegetables do.

– Match cool-season vegetables such as lettuce and spinach with alyssum, nasturtiums, petunias, violas or perennial flowers.

– Plant warm-season vegetables like peppers, beans and cucumbers with celosia, verbena, sweet potato vine or vinca just to name a few.

Of course, you can simply purchase whatever flowering plant that catches your eeye – just be sure that the plants you select will grow to approximately the same size, so that one plant doesn’t overwhelm the others.

So, get started and fill your containers with beautiful AND delicious plants!

Get more ideas for combining vegetables and flowers from Birds & Blooms: “Veggie Revolution”

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.