Raised Beds or Potted Plant Gardening – Which is Right for You?
If you are a new gardener, you may not be sure whether to grow your plants in raised beds or pots. Each has pros and cons. Planting directly in the ground may not be an option, especially when the soil is too heavy or sandy. If it’s not, raised beds and potted plants are great alternatives. In this post, we look at considerations that can help you decide which option is right for you.
Raised Beds or Potted Plants – Two Factors to Consider
1 – Size of Your Growing Space
Raised beds require a larger outdoor space than potted plants. With pot gardening (or container gardening), you can succeed even when you have limited space. You can place your plants anywhere that gets enough sunlight – on the balcony, rooftop, or driveway. Some plants will thrive indoors.
2 – Plants You Want to Grow
The size of your plant matters. Deep-rooted plants may not flourish in pots. Tall plants may fall over when grown in pots due to strong winds. Raised beds allow the growth of tall plants and those with deep roots.
Setting Up Raised Beds
For maximum productivity, your raised beds should have a minimum of 6-inches depth. However, some deep-rooted plants require a depth of up to 12 inches. Before establishing the bed, loosen the soil under it to ensure it is not compacted. If there are weeds, remove them. Add topsoil combined with organic matter and compost. Locate your bed in a place where it will receive maximum sunlight, depending on the plants you select. Many plants require at least 6 hours of full sun daily.
Pros of Raised Beds
- Do not require frequent watering
- Beneficial microbes can get into the soil
- Better drainage, which means no root rot and higher productivity
Cons of Raised Gardens
- Higher cost of construction
- Plants can quickly spread diseases and pests to each other
- Constructing can be time-consuming
Types of Plants to Grow in Raised Beds
Deep-rooted plants are ideal for growing in raised beds. However, this will depend on the depth of your beds.
You can plant many annuals in raised beds, including marigold, zinnias, geraniums, and cornflowers.
You can plant herbs all year long. Most of them do not require special plant care and attention. Basil, oregano, parsley, mint, thyme, rosemary, and sage are some of the herbs that will do well in raised beds.
Upward growing vegetables, such as pole beans and peas, are more suitable for raised beds. Root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and radishes typically do well in raised beds.
Growing plants in larger pots is easier than growing them in smaller ones typically. With larger containers, you will not need to repot them. However, the pot’s size will be dependent on several factors, such as available space and whether you will be moving your plants from one place to another.
The type of plants you intend to grow will be a determining factor too. Larger plants require larger pots. You can place your pots on the ground, hang them on your porch, or mount them on walls. They are available in different materials such as plastic, fiberglass, terracotta, and clay.
Watering your plants will depend on your container’s size, the types of plants you grow, and the weather conditions.
Pros of Growing Plants in Pots
- There are many pots to choose from if you’d like. You can design your garden according to your taste and preference.
- If pests or diseases attack a plant, the probability of spreading them to other plants is very low.
- You can move the pots from one place to another easily.
Cons of Pot Gardening
- The soil dries out fast.
- Some plants may outgrow the pots.
- Some containers are expensive.
- You will need to add fertilizer frequently.
Plants That Do Well in Pots
Almost all plants can grow in pots. Dwarf varieties are the best, especially when you are using small pots.
Herbs and Vegetables
You can grow several types of vegetables in pots. These include tomatoes, broccoli, cabbages, and pumpkins. Herbs like basil, mint, and rosemary also do well in pots.
Marigold, scarlet sage, dahlias poppy, and coleus are some of the annual flowers you can grow in pots.
Shrubs and Perennials
There are many hardy shrubs and perennials to grow in pots all year round. These include hostas, ferns, daylilies, lavender, and sedums.
Ultimately, raised beds and pot gardening can be great ways to enjoy gardening, and depending on your yard, you may try both. If you need more help deciding which options may work best for your yard, reach out to your local garden center or try the PlanTAGG Ask an Expert feature. Once you’ve got your selection, be sure to set up your yard in PlantTAGG (it’s free — text ‘PLANTS’ to 46376), and we’ll help make sure your garden stays beautiful and fresh year-round.