The Q&A Archives: Potted Plants on Patio

Question: I live in an apartment and just have a small, sunny balcony to grow flowers and plants on. Are there any vegetables that will grow in pots? Also, I'm dying to tackle roses. Are there miniature varieties that can be grown on my balcony?

Answer: Yes, there are many vegetables which will do well in containers. Leafy greens lettuce, spinach and chard, root veggies like raddishes and short carrot varieties suchas 'Thumbelina', fruiting veggies like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant as well as bush types of squash are especially adapted to a container. Even vining veggies can be grown and provided a trellis for support.

It is important to choose containers that have drainage holes and fill them with a good potting soil rather than garden soil.

Container size is very important. The larger the container the better. Half whiskey barrels are great but you may not have that much room! Tomato plants need about a 5 gallon pot. Most other veggies will grow successfully in pots that are at least two gallons.

Because the roots are limited by the container, you will need to water more often and apply a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Or, you can dilute the fertilizer and apply it each time you water to provide a steady flow of nutrients to your plants.

Roses will also do well in containers. Miniatures can grow in a two gallon container but would prefer a 5 gallon container. There are some small statured types that are not miniatures which I have had good success with in containers. These include the old rose 'Marie Pavie' (give Marie a half whiskey barrel if you can), 'The Fairy' (5 gallons will do), 'Red Cascade' (5 gallons or more) which can be trained to a trellis, wrapped along a railing or allowed to cascade over a balcony.

Good luck with your container garden!

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