19 Vegetable Container Garden Ideas That Show Off Your Yield

purple reigns floral and vegetable planter
Photo: Carson Downing

Growing vegetables in planters is an easy way to enjoy fresh, homegrown produce no matter the size of your outdoor oasis. These container vegetable garden ideas are productive, beautiful, and can be up and running in no time.

01 of 19

Use Colorful Containers

multi-colored planted containers on steps
Cameron Sadeghpour

Boost the color in your garden by using bright pots. These glazed containers in cheery shades of blue, orange, and yellow instantly add interest to a display of purple basil, Hungarian wax pepper, tomato, parsley, and golden oregano.

02 of 19

Hang Natural Baskets

hanging basket with basil and tomatoes
Hopkins Photography

If ground space is limited, why not plant your vegetables in hanging baskets? Compact or "bush" varieties are best, though many herbs grow well in hanging baskets too. This pairing of tomato and basil, for example, creates a delicious and attractive display.

03 of 19

Upcycle Old Containers

wine crates planted with flowers and vegetables
Peter Krumhardt

Give your garden personality—and save money—by using recycled containers as planters. Here, old wine crates provide a perfect home for small produce varieties, including lettuce, Thumbelina carrots, everbearing strawberries, and signet marigolds.

04 of 19

Play With Height

multi-colored containers with vegetables and herbs
Adam Albright

Select containers of different sizes to create a dymaic grouping and offer additional visual interest. These four containers filled with cucumbers, tomatos, peppers, basil, thyme, and parsley add lots of visual appeal to a landscape.

05 of 19

Grow Colorful Vegetables

red-stemmed swiss chard in gray container
Marty Baldwin

Use vegetables with attractive foliage, flowers, or fruits in your favorite planters for a look that's both edible and visually stunning. Here, red-stemmed Swiss chard, glowing 'Lemon Gem' marigolds, and hot peppers add great color and texture to a container garden scene.

06 of 19

Mix in Edible Flowers

painted wooden boxes with vegetables
Peter Krumhardt

Add color and cheer to your container garden (not to mention your salads, desserts, and other dishes) by growing edible flowers. Here, calendula and signet marigolds brighten a patch of Swiss chard, cabbage, basil, and tomatoes.

07 of 19

Make A Window Box

window box container with herbs
Carson Downing

Let delicious scents waft in your home each time you open a window by growing herbs in your window boxes along with vegetables. In this example, 'Pesto Perpetuo' basil serves as a focal point, while compact 'Tumbling Tom' tomatoes, spearmint, lemon thyme, and oregano spill over the side. Purple sage, red-veined sorrel, purple kale, and rosemary all add to the mix of scents, flavors, textures, and colors that make this window box irresistible.

08 of 19

Use Textural Contrasts

multi-textured plants in containers on deck
Jason Donnelly

Make a stunning statement—even if you're growing all-green plants—by combining textures. Here, rosemary's fine needles are a perfect balance to the big, bold leaves of an eggplant. A potted citrus, lemon verbena, and thyme further enhance the scene.

09 of 19

Add Some Ornamental Grass

onions chives and tomatoes in containers
Peter Krumhardt

Grasses seem to go with everything because their fine textures show off other plants well. Add a few to your container garden, or score a similar look with onions and chives. They work well with the cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers shown here.

Test Garden Tip: Lemongrass is another great pick for adding a grassy texture.

10 of 19

Contain Vining Vegetables

cucumber vines in gray elevated container
Marty Baldwin

While some vining edible plants like watermelons or pumpkins usually require a lot of space to grow, others will do just fine in a container, like the scrambling cucumber seen here. With its big leaves and bright flowers, it's a natural showstopper—especially when paired with an upright plant such as rosemary. Look for lemon cucumbers for an added splash of color.

11 of 19

Add Stylish Support

bounty in a box garden planter
Carson Downing

Vining edible plants such as cucumbers, beans, or peas work best in a container when given a trellis to climb. You'll also want to stake taller plants such as tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers to keep them upright. Here, simple bamboo stakes are enough to hold up a 'Patio' tomato plant that gets about two feet tall, while pumping out a prolific crop of fruit. At the base, 'Indigo Moon' wishbone flower and 'Silver Falls' dichondra provide a pretty contrast to the tomatoes' bold red color.

12 of 19

Try Succession Planting

vegetable succession planting in metal container
Julian Wass

Gardeners can get more produce from a small space by using a technique called succession planting. Once your plants are finished producing fruits or veggies for the summer, replace them with something else (such as a cool-season vegetable like broccoli if warm weather is coming to an end). The lettuce seen in this container will fade in summer, allowing you the space to grow eggplant, peppers, or another heat-loving veggie.

13 of 19

Keep It Compact

multiple grey containers with vegetables on deck
Marty Baldwin

You may be able to get more plants than you think in a tight space. Here, just four pots provide several kinds of produce, from cucumbers, kale, and Swiss chard to tomatoes, eggplants, basil, peppers, and more. Limit the number of varieties you grow to only what you will use to save time and effort.

14 of 19

Keep Containers Handy

easy-access contsainers with tomatoes
Marty Baldwin

Situate your containers where you'll be able to access them easily, whether that's right outside your kitchen door, next to the grill to enhance a summer meal, or beside your favorite bench for convenient harvesting. Or try placing pots of herbs near paths so you can brush your hand over the plants to enjoy their fragrance.

15 of 19

Pick A Color Theme

purple reigns floral and vegetable planter
Carson Downing

For an elegant-looking container vegetable garden, try focusing on one main color, such as purple. In this example, two varieties of dark purple eggplant ('Little Fingers' and 'Patio Baby') are beautifully complemented by the softer purple flowers of ornamental verbena and calibrachoa. Tricolor sage also echoes the color theme with purple tones on its variegated leaves.

16 of 19

Compliment Your Decor Style

colorful plants in front of bamboo screen
Peter Krumhardt

Create a lush look by growing plants that explode with color, texture, and fragrance that coordinates with your existing decor. Here, nasturtiums, signet marigolds, peppers, tomatoes, basil, and pineapple sage fill this area with cottage garden elegance.

17 of 19

Accessorize Your Container

container with obelisk for climbing vine
Marty Baldwin

Adding a little extra garden decor to your container vegetable garden—such as an ornamental trellis or objecet—can help it appear even more beautiful. Here, a cucumber clambers up the trellis and an eggplant leans on it for support. Trailing plants such as nasturtium and fillers such as kale, and signet marigolds balance out the container arrangement.

18 of 19

Think Seasonally

sweet as summer bite-size garden planter
Carson Downing

Some vegetables prefer the cooler weather in fall and spring, while others like it hot. Make sure to combine veggies, herbs, and flowers accordingly so everything in your container vegetable garden looks good at the same time. Here, bright 'Lunchbox Orange' peppers, 'Spicy Globe' basil, and 'Superbells Yellow' calibrachoa all thrive in summer's heat.

19 of 19

Turn Things Upside Down

plant stand growing hanging tomatoes
Scott Little

Why not try growing your tomatoes beneath their pot? Whether you choose hanging baskets, a five-gallon bucket with a hole on the bottom, or something else, it can be an interesting way to cultivate your favorite vegetable. Herbs are also fun to grow upside down in easy-to-make DIY planters.

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