I use container gardening to grow my plants because I have limited space on my apartment balcony. But there are pros and cons that you need to be aware of.
This will help you decide if you can use container gardening even if you have the space to grow in-ground or use a raised bed garden.
Pros of container gardening
1. Container gardens can be grown in limited space
The biggest benefit of container gardening is you can grow plants in very small spaces as well. You don’t need to have a large backyard to grow them.
This is especially useful for those living in urban areas that only have access to such small areas as a balcony, apartment, patio, windowsill, or rooftop.
Container gardening is also beneficial if you live in a rented house where you cannot grow plants in the ground due to restrictions.
2. It’s easy to move the containers if you need
Another benefit of container gardening is you can move the containers if you need to. You may need to do this if there’s a better location that gets good sunlight and heat.
You may move the plants if you want to change the aesthetic look of the garden.
It is easier to move smaller containers than huge ones. You could place them on a trolley that makes it easy to move even large containers around.
3. Container plants have fewer weeds
You grow container plants in a controlled environment of the container. You control the type of soil you use and the seeds that go into the soil.
This helps reduce the chances of weeds growing with the container plants. There can still be some weeds growing because birds, animals, or wind carried some seeds into the container.
But the weeds will be significantly lower than what you would find in a raised bed or in-ground garden. This means you don’t need to spend as much time taking care of weeds in your plants.
4. Container plants have fewer pest and disease problems
Container plants have fewer issues with pests and diseases similar to the weeds. They are grown in a controlled environment which means good quality potting soil, light, and heat conditions.
The container plants that tend to get infected with pests and diseases won’t spread it to the other plants that are isolated from them. You can move the plant away from the other plants till you get rid of the problem.
5. Container gardening does not need expensive tools
Container gardening can be cost-saving because you don’t need to spend money on heavy-duty gardening equipment such as tillers, weeders, etc.
The only materials you need are the seeds or seedlings, containers, potting soil, compost, fertilizer. Maybe a trowel, gardening gloves, and pruners but those are optional.
You can use any container to grow your plants as long as they are big enough and have drainage holes in them. You could reuse pots, paint cans, buckets, milk jugs, and even kiddie pools to grow plants.
6. Container gardening helps grow invasive plants
There are some plants such as mint, comfrey, lemon balm, etc. that are considered invasive. This means they will grow aggressively when planted in the ground. They will take up the space and resources of the plants growing near them.
Container gardening can help you grow such invasive plants without worrying about them becoming invasive. They are restricted to grow in a container with limited space and resources.
Even if you want to plant them in the ground, you could grow them in a pot and place the pot inside the ground to limit how much these invasive plants can grow.
Cons of container gardening
1. Container plants need frequent watering
Container plants have a limited amount of soil to grow in. One of the problems this causes is the soil gets dry fast.
This means you need to water container plants more often than if they were grown in a raised bed or ground.
If you don’t give them the required water, you risk your container plants drying up and becoming unhealthy.
It becomes important to check the moisture in the potting soil every day whether it has dried out. And then give the plant a good watering depending on its watering requirements.
2. Some plants are too big to grow in containers
Certain plants need a lot of space, and you can’t grow those with container gardening. This also includes trees such as fruit trees.
If you want to grow large plants, you can only do that by putting them in the ground.
If you try to grow such plants in pots, the roots won’t have the required space. They won’t be able to get the required nutrients and moisture that can stunt plant growth.
Another limitation is you can only grow a certain number of plants if your growing space is small. This will depend on the size of each plant and how much space you need to keep between them.
3. Container plants need good soil and fertilizer
Container plants have a limited space to grow so you need to take extra care of their nutrient needs.
You need to make sure the container plants grow in good soil with the right texture and nutrients. It should retain sufficient moisture but drain out the excess.
You need to either get the right potting soil or make your own by mixing materials such as perlite, vermiculite, coco coir, and compost.
The container plants also need your support to get their nutrients. You can do this by adding compost and organic fertilizer to the potting soil.
It’s best to add these to the soil when preparing the container. And every 2-4 weeks once the plant has developed a few leaves.
4. Container gardening has a high initial cost
Container gardening does not require the expensive gardening equipment you would use when growing in the ground. But the initial cost of materials can still be high.
The most money you may need to spend is on good quality potting soil, compost, and organic fertilizer.
5. Some people don’t find container gardening appealing
This is just based on people’s opinion but some don’t like the look of a container garden. Container gardens give an urban feel that is different from the traditional gardening look.
There are no rows of plants growing in beds which may not be aesthetically pleasing to some people.