Small Container Plants

My favorite container plants are all kitchen herbs. 


Kitchen Herbs


Kitchen herbs can be directly seeded in small pots. Usually, if you buy living flowers or herbs from the store they give you a small approximately 5 inch in diameter pot. These are perfect for seeding any herb. As soon as the plant has many leaves you can start to harvest, this will encourage branching and new growth. An herb plant can remain in this pot size until you start to see the white roots crowding the top of the soil or it’s knee-high with many branching stems. You can transfer your herbs to midsize containers and keep using their new growth. I start more baby herbs as soon as I transplant because most full-grown herbs are annuals and only live 1-2 years. 


If you would rather buy herbs seedling from a nursery that works the same, I suggest you transplant them into medium-sized pots within the first week of buying them.


Favorite Herbs to Plant

rosemary, thyme, basil, chives, oregano, cilantro and parsley. 

Mid Size Container Plants

For midsized plants, I like a mix of edible as well as decorative.
I usually call this the 3-5 gallon bucket size group. Depending on the plant they can be comfortable in the size of a normal household cleaning bucket up to the size of a large paint bucket.

If you are starting food plants from seeds you will want to seed in small trays or pots and transplant to their final containers when they are many inches tall and strong.

Edible plants:
Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, aloe vera, a bunch of carrots, leafy greens or lettuce, ginger, and others.
Any kitchen herb mentioned above, when it’s completely filled a small pot.

Mother in law’s tongue, desert rose, spider plant, most flowers, telephone or other traditional houseplant vines. ​

Large Container plants


Vines and Ferns 

I love growing these in big containers because you can plant directly into the final size. I won’t even pretend to begin to know the names of all the ferns available at the local nurseries. Pick the plants that speak to you and will look good in your space. Most you pick up at the local nursery can be planted in their final pot size. Give them a big one (50cm) and you won’t have to worry about them again. 


Vine Options

Passion fruit, bougainvillea, telephone, and many more.



When planning to plant trees in containers I always buy all the sizes of the container needed so there is no excuse to be lazy and “forget” to transplant the poor tree later. Your first container should be 2-3 times bigger than the root ball of the tree you are buying. The second container should be 2-3 times bigger than your first. Your final container should be big enough to support the weight and size of your final tree.


Some trees I like for container gardening: Palms, plumerias, banana trees.


Thanks for reading. Find out more on how to find the right container size and other gardening tips here →


Article by Nik Jameson 

Nik Jameson's Tip On 

Container Landscaping in Yucatan

One thing I love about los Yucatecos are their clever ingenuity. One of the best methods of gardening in urban areas is containers. Los Yucatecos have been container gardening since before it was a cool fad. They have always lined their garden and balcony with plants to filter out the hot sun and because of the extremely rocky soil growing in pots has always been easier to manage. Not to mention the ability to move more delicate dry weather plants when the heavy rainy season begins. 


Let’s start with the shortest and work our way up. In the case of container gardening the shorter the plant naturally is, the smaller a pot it will need. Sometimes, but not always small plants are a good place to start, especially for new gardeners. However, the biggest exceptions are if your balcony or patio is very sun-scorched, you will need some taller shade cover first. I’ll explain later how to use palm trees but other shade options include building a small roof, buying a sun cloth (medio sombra) or growing a vine over trellises. 


All containers should have a good drainage hole on the bottom. The only alternative is a good clay pot that will naturally release extra water through pores. If you don’t have good drainage you will see water pooling at the top of containers after the rain. A plant left in this condition will rot. 

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