When it comes to growing plants in containers, one thing we can all agree on is that they’re great! They provide us with an easy way to expand our gardens and create something beautiful without having to spend hours digging holes and planting things out.
But what if you have a small space? What if your pots are too tall for the plant you want? Maybe you’ve tried growing plants in taller containers before, and you’ve not had much luck in the past.
Well, there’s a trick to it. There are some plants that will grow just fine in tall, narrow pots, and there are some which need a little help in order to survive in a taller planter.
Here’s what you need to know.
Recommended Plants For Tall, Narrow Pots
Also known as Amaranthus, this is a perfect plant for a taller container. The plant itself will get quite high at around 3 feet tall depending on the variety,
The inflorescence hangs down from the foliage, hence the name ‘tassel flower’. These vibrant clusters are available in many colors, such as red, pink, and purple.
They have a sweet scent that attracts bees and butterflies to visit your garden, too.
This plant has been used by many cultures throughout history as a medicinal plant, but also as a food source.
Amaranth plants (see also Flower Names Beginning With A) are short-lived, and vulnerable to frost, so you’ll either need to overwinter them, or sow seeds and take cuttings instead.
These gorgeous plants like full sunlight, but they can also do well in dappled shade.
Vines do particularly well in deep pots. Jasmine vines send out climbing shoots, so you’ll need to put the pot against some support or pop a trellis into the container itself.
Jasmine is a very popular plant, but you do have to be careful as some varieties are better suited as houseplants rather than ornamentals.
The plethora of fragrance the white or yellow flowers give out during their flowering season is unforgettable.
If you’re growing jasmine specifically for its fragrance, make sure you pop the container near a seating area to get the best out of it.
One thing to note: jasmine plants like loose, aerated soil which drains well. In a very tall pot, you may struggle with this, so it might be worth putting a smaller pot inside the tall one, and planting your jasmine in that.
Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world, so don’t plant it straight into the ground! Bamboo is best grown in pots, which will ensure that it doesn’t grow anywhere you don’t want it to.
It also helps that this plant makes a real statement in containers, and there are plenty of species to choose from.
If you want to grow bamboo in a container, pick a heavy pot. This is because bamboo plants will often tip over in high winds when they are grown in pots, as the canes are light.
More often than not, this doesn’t harm your plant, but it will guarantee that you’ll have to pick it up after every strong gust of wind, and that can be quite annoying.
One thing to note: you’ll need to provide this plant with excellently draining soil, as bamboo hates water sitting around its roots. One way of doing this is by adding a layer of grit into the bottom of the container, and this will help water drain away easier.
The key to growing clematis in containers is to select the right pot. Specifically, a deep pot.
The roots need plenty of room to grow, and as a rule, clematis likes its feet to be nice and cool in the shade, while its foliage and flowers do best in sunlight. A deep pot can provide you with both conditions fairly easily.
You can also keep the roots cool by adding a layer of horticultural grit or pebbles to the surface of the soil, which stops the soil from warming up.
Clematis plants are very versatile. You can get types which flower all year round, or ones which only bloom in spring and summer, or in the fall. Some even produce fantastic seed pods which look perfect even after the flowers have finished.
Like jasmine, clematis does need support, so make sure you have a trellis, obelisk, or another type of support within the soil of the pot. This will help sustain the plant’s growth throughout its life.
Roses are an excellent choice for container gardening, and they’re certainly among the most beautiful. They come in many different shapes and sizes, and you can find them in any color imaginable.
They’re also extremely easy to care for.
Climbing roses, bush, and shrub roses look beautiful in tall pots.
You could even try patio and miniature versions, but they might not do as well, as their root systems won’t grow big enough for the pot.
Rambling roses (see also Ramblers VS Climbers) are not recommended for pots, as their growth is extremely vigorous.
Make sure you use a loam compost for roses you’re planning to grow in pots (see also How To Grow Roses In Pots). This will help stop the moisture evaporating from the container, while it will retain some goodness in the soil.
You will have to be vigilant with watering, as roses require consistently damp but not water-logged soil.
Bird Of Paradise
Another plant that looks particularly beautiful in large pots is the bird of paradise (see also Growing A Bird Of Paradise Outdoors Or Indoors). Kept outdoors, it might even flower.
But if you live somewhere where temperatures drop below freezing, then you should consider keeping it indoors. The bird of paradise, is, unfortunately, not tolerant of colder temperatures.
It needs bright light, and lots of it. If you don’t give it full sun, it may not flower at all.
As with other tropical plants, you’ll want to add a layer of gravel or grit to the base of the pot. This helps improve drainage.
If you want to add plenty of tropical vibes into your garden, the canna lily is the plant for you. Like the bird of paradise, it has beautiful, large foliage, but the real star of the show is the flowers.
These are huge, and they can be white, red, yellow, orange, purple, pink, or combinations thereof. And they’re absolutely stunning!
In colder climates, they are often grown as annuals, but you can overwinter them inside in pots, too.
Canna lilies can reach up to 6 feet tall, but some varieties only get up to 2 feet tall, so choose one that fits your container.
One advantage of growing canna lilies in large pots is that they like a lot of water. This means there is slightly less to worry about if you plant them in a bigger container, as the soil will be wet for longer.
When you think about container planting, the first thing you probably wouldn’t consider is ornamental grass.
Fountain grasses are lovely perennials that look great in containers.
Like other grasses, they prefer moist conditions, and they thrive in partial shade.
You can buy fountain grass seeds online, or you can start these from seed yourself. Either way, this is a very forgiving plant.
Why Are Only Some Plants Suitable For Tall, Narrow Planters?
Well, there are a few factors to think about, as several things can mean that some plants are more suitable than others.
The water needs of your plant is one of these, as well as the root length of your plant.
One thing you have to consider when growing plants in pots is the water level.
Every container has a ‘perched water table’ which is the point where the soil is saturated, and does not drain through the holes like you would think. This is where the soil’s retention ability is canceled out by gravity.
This extra moisture will evaporate, be used by the plant, or cause it to rot. Exactly how much water there will be is dependent on the type of soil, not the size of the container.
If you fill five pots of different heights with the same soil, each with their own drainage hole, the water level will be the same in each pot.
Smaller, wider pots will be more saturated than taller pots.
Taller pots provide a greater volume of usable compost which holds air in the soil, without being drowned by water. This makes the plants less prone to root rot.
If you choose top-heavy, tall plants in these containers, there is a great risk of them blowing over in heavy wind, unless you have a way to anchor the pot, or you choose a heavy material for the pot to begin with.
Why Should You Have Tall Pots?
For those with not a lot of outdoor space, taller pots are much more useful than wider pots, as you’ll save a lot of room. This means you’ll be able to have quite a lot of pots, expanding your plant collection.
One thing that you do need to know is that these planters need to cater to the plants you’re putting in them.
It sounds obvious, but taller pots are better suited for plants with deeper root systems, or even taproots, such as sunflowers, mint, and shrubs or dwarf trees (see also Top Tall Annuals And Perennials).
If you want to put bedding plants or smaller plants in there, you can do this too. It does look visually strange, so the best way of doing it is to mix some taller plants in there, too.
How To Get The Best Out Of Plants In Tall Pots
The first, and probably most important rule, is not to overwater the plants in your tall pots. Forget how big the planter is. Remember exactly how much water you need to give your plants, and only give them that.
If you overwater plants in large pots, the moisture doesn’t evaporate as quickly, as there’s less of a surface area from which moisture can evaporate.
Overwatering plants can lead to disease, withered growth, and root rot. Too much water within the soil will drown your plant, as not enough oxygen will be able to get to the roots.
You should also choose your plants carefully. Some plants will strangle their neighbors, such as aggressive vines or ramblers.
A good example of a great planting scheme would be a tall canna lily, with bedding plants with similar watering needs planted underneath.