I know the feeling when you want to start container gardening but are confused about how much space would be needed. 

You need at least 15 square feet of space for container gardening that is 5 feet length by 3 feet width. You can use this space to grow 6 plants in 5 gallon containers. You can grow more smaller plants or less larger plants depending on their size.

Let’s look at how you can figure out how much space you have and how you can use that for starting your container garden.

Figure out the space you have for container gardening

Measure the length, width, and height of the space you want to use with a measuring tape. The length will give you an idea of how many containers can be placed. The width helps you figure out how many rows of containers you can place. The height will help you understand if you can grow plants vertically.

For example, the length, width, and height of my apartment balcony are:

Length = 4 feet (48 inches)

Width = 2 feet (24 inches)

Height = 4 feet (48 inches)

Find out how many plants you can grow in this space

Once you know the growing space you have, you can figure out how many plants you can grow in this space. This is my view, but you need to have at least 5-6 plants to call the space a container garden.

So if you want to place 5-gallon containers in your growing space you will be able to place 6 of them in an area of 15 square feet consider it’s 5 feet long and 3 feet wide.

I calculated this based on the below.

Space required by each 5-gallon container = 1-foot diameter

Space required between two such 5-gallon containers = 1 foot wide

Total 5-gallon containers you can place in a row that is 5 feet long = 3 containers

Total rows of such 5-gallon containers you can have in 3 feet wide space = 2

If you add smaller containers like 1-gallon or 2-gallon, you can place more containers per row of your garden. If you add larger containers than 5-gallons you will have to reduce the number of rows and plants you’re growing.

I’ve written a detailed guide that can help you figure out how many plants you can grow in your container garden.

How much space to keep between the container plants

If the plant needs 1 foot growing space, I would recommend keeping a 1 feet distance between the containers.

This will help you tend to the plants with ease and take care of any issues.

It also helps give the large plants good growing space so they don’t shade each other or cause a humid environment that can invite fungal diseases and pests.

If the plants are smaller and need less growing space, you can also reduce the space between the containers.

How many plants can you grow in each container

You may be able to grow more than one plant in each container. But this depends on the size of the container and the plant space requirements.

You can grow several leafy vegetable plants in a 5-gallon container. But you can only grow one fruit vegetable plant such as tomato or pepper in such a 5-gallon container.

You can find this information on the seed packets or the seedling labels. It will tell you how much space is required between the seeds or plants.

seed packets I bought online
Seed packets I bought online

You can also find this information online so make sure to understand more about the plant before growing it.

I’ve written a detailed guide that helps you know how much space will be required between the plants. It will also show you how to arrange the plants in the container when growing them together.

The guide also contains a list of 100 plants and the required space when you grow several of them in the same container.

You must give the plants in each container the required growing space. If they don’t get this space, the roots will compete for nutrients and moisture, which stunts their growth.

The plants may not be able to get the required sunlight as they shade each other. This could cause humid conditions that attract fungal diseases and pests.

Grow more plants if you have vertical space

If you have some vertical space in the location for container gardening you can consider growing plants vertically. This could be done using hanging planters, baskets, and container racks or stands.

You can grow vining plants vertically on your patio or apartment balcony if you have a support structure in place. You can use a trellis or stake as such a support structure.

Further Reading

Check out the post below to learn more basics of vegetable container gardening. You’ll find information such as when to plant vegetables, which containers to use, how to prepare them with potting soil and much more.

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