, Port Arthur, Texas

April 11, 2011

Micah Meyer: Container gardening

Micah Meyer
The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — Container gardening is a great way to add a splash of color to a landscape or to grow plants in areas with restricted space.

Effective selection and placement of container plants can be quite appealing and is a great way to take advantage of seasonal displays. Plants with cascading growth habits are especially beautiful when grow in a container. Also, nearly any vegetable can be grown in a container. Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are well suited to be grown in a containers that are 5 gallons or larger.

Try using bushel baskets, drums, tubs or wooden boxes. Small containers are satisfactory for green onion, parsley and herbs. Regardless of the type or size of container used, adequate drainage is essential. You can add a 1 to 2 inch layer of gravel or small rocks in the bottom of the container to encourage drainage. Otherwise the container will hold too much water and the plant will suffer.

Plants grown in containers are more susceptible to temperature extremes because the roots are above the ground. This means that container grown plants will likely need more maintenance in the form of frequent water & fertilizer applications to keep the plants in top condition. Because the root area is restricted, it is important to use quality potting mixes in containers. Packaged potting mixes are sold at nearly every garden center or nursery.

The upside down “Topsy Turvey” planting systems havebeen popular over the past few years. I have used one and it did grow a decent cherry tomato plant; but I found the system to more trouble than what it was worth.  It did not out yield or outperform my other plants. Grow in one of them if you’re curious, but I find it much easier to grow in the ground or in a large container.

Also the Jefferson County Master Gardeners Market Day will be held on Saturday, April 17, 2 from 8am-Noon at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport. Parking & admission is free.

Micah Meyer is county extension agent-horticulture of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Jefferson County. He can be reached at 409-835-8461 or