Updated: Sep 28
Winter is a slow time for gardeners, as the cold sends plants into hibernation and less sun means wilting leaves and the worst nightmare of every plant parent - no visible growth for months. But, Spring is officially here and a time for new beginnings!
If you’re a newbie, all the information out there can be intimidating. That’s why we’re here - to make the journey into plant parenthood easy for you.
So, let’s talk about why this spring is perfect for starting your own container garden - if you haven’t already:
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have plants for the aesthetic! Indoor container plants are a visual delight in your space and add character to any room.
Growing your own plants in a container garden is an incredibly rewarding experience and a great way to enjoy nature even if you’re not very outdoorsy.
Having a container garden allows you to control the temperature, soil, and watering requirements that your plants need in order to thrive.
Imagine being courageous enough to grow your own food. If you’re growing vegetables, a spring container garden can give you a head start on the growing season, allowing you to begin harvesting sooner.
Now that Spring is here, you can start laying out, planning, researching your local gardens or online, and most importantly, booking seeds and seedlings for your spring container garden. Check out this list of black-owned gardeners to buy your spring container plants from.
Spring container gardening can be started as soon as the last frost has passed and the soil temperature has risen above 50°F. Early spring is the ideal time to begin preparing the soil, selecting plants, and setting up your containers.
Additionally, you can wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 50s, which usually occurs sometime in March or April.
Varieties of container garden plants to grow in spring
The choice of plants to grow in spring is almost endless, a resourceful gardener is only limited by their imagination. However, it’s important to keep prevailing natural factors like how much rain you’ll get, the intensity of the sun - and wind, and the highest and lowest temperature expectations in mind when planning.
One system to guide you on what to expect in your region is the plant hardiness zone, more commonly known as the USDA zone of your region.
The Plant Hardiness Zone Map guides gardeners and growers to decide which plants are most likely to thrive in a certain area. The map is determined by the average minimum annual winter temperature and is divided into 10-degree F zones.
After all these considerations, you still need an idea of where to start. So, here’s a list of plants perfect for spring container gardening, covering different varieties. You can mix and match different types of plants of start by trying your hands at one.
Herbs: Basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, mint
Cilantro, parsley, sage, and mint can all be grown in containers as long as they receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. When growing herbs in containers, make sure to use light, well-draining potting soil and fertilize the plants regularly. It's best to water the plants deeply and allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Some varieties thrive in heat and humidity, while others prefer cooler temperatures, so be sure to research the cultivar you are growing for optimal growth.
These herbs generally grow best in USDA zones 3–11, with some being hardier than others. Cilantro can survive as low as USDA zone 2, while sage and parsley prefer warmer climates and will only thrive in USDA zones 8–11.
Vegetables: Lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale
These are vegetables to plant in spring and harvest later in the year. These include tomatoes, spinach, radishes, lettuce, cabbage and kale, broccoli, and eggplants. These cool-season biennials can survive frost and prolonged cold weather, up to -10° degrees. They thrive in USDA hardiness zone 2-11.
Greens prefer well-drained soil, partial shade and consistent sunlight and water - ensuring optimal health for their growth
Root vegetables: Radishes, turnips, beets
Yes, you can grow root vegetables, like radishes, beets and turnips, in containers for spring and fall crops. The key to is to use a container that is 2-3 feet deep and wide to give your plants enough room to grow. You should also use a lightweight potting mix with good drainage, and be sure to check the soil moisture daily to ensure your plants are getting enough water. Fertilize periodically throughout the growing season and provide proper ventilation to help keep pests and diseases off.
USDA zones for planting root vegetables in containers are 3-11. Planting in containers is a great way to enjoy these fresh root veggies in cooler climates, as planting them directly in the ground may not work in USDA Zone 3 or lower.
Fruits: Strawberries, melons, peppers
It is possible to grow peppers, strawberries, and melons in containers in the spring. Planting in containers makes it easier to move the plants around to get the best light, and keeps them from becoming too root-bound. When choosing a container for plants like strawberries or melons, make sure that it is wide and deep enough for the plants to develop.
Peppers should be planted in a pot that is at least 12 inches deep and wide. Plant pepper seeds about ¼ inch deep, keeping them evenly spaced and watered.
Flowering plants: cosmos, dahlia, impatiens, petunia, pansies, nasturtiums, primroses
Primroses, especially, are perfect to start in early spring and will bloom before most flowering plants. To maintain them, deadhead the blooms as they fade to encourage new growth.
With enough light and humidity, you can grow flowers anywhere, but they thrive best in USDA hardiness zone 4-8 depending on the specie.
Indoor plants: pothos, Chinese evergreen, dracaena, syngoniums, snake plants, ZZ plants
If you're looking for container garden plants to grow in Spring and keep indoors, there are several choices. Some easy-to-care-for plants, like Pothos, Dracaena, ZZ plants, and cacti, are great options to start with. These plants need bright, indirect light, and once established can survive with little water and only occasional fertilizer.