Container gardening 101

Container plant © Jardin botanique de Montréal (Michel Tremblay)
Container gardening 101

Here are a few tips to ensure successful container gardening—a step-by-step guide to help you create a vegetable garden on your balcony...

The container

  • Use pots with drainage holes. Soil that is continuously saturated with water will disturb the function of the roots; deprived of oxygen, they will be unable to fulfil their main purpose of drawing water and extracting nutrients.
  • Choose containers of 12 litres or more (25 cm in diameter or more). In small pots, the soil will dry out and overheat too quickly.

The soil

  • Use soils that are specially designed for containers; these have good water retention while allowing for good aeration. Most of these contain basic fertilizers.
  • On a regular basis, add water-soluble fertilizer (alternating liquid fish and seaweed emulsion or soluble fertilizer such as Pura Vida or Pure Blend Pro) as soon as active growth begins after transplanting, because vegetable plants quickly exhaust the soil’s nutrient reserves.In addition, the minerals are washed away after multiple of waterings.


  • Check the dryness of the soil every day—even twice a day in a heatwave.
  • When the top two centimetres of soil are dry to the touch, keep watering until the water flows out of the drainage holes.
  • To prevent disease, do not get the leaves wet when watering in the evening.

Do you have questions about this blog?
Visit our Green Pages Or, go to the Horticultural information counter at the Jardin botanique for personalized service. One of our experts will be happy to give you more information.

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