Planting Resources

Vegetable Container Size Chart

Use our Vegetable Container Size Chart (included within the body of this post below) to finally know what pot sizes you need for the vegetables you are planting. No more guessing! For new gardeners, especially those growing in pots and containers for the first time, knowing what size pot to grow your precious vegetables in can be hard to understand. Luckily, we have created this easy-to-use Vegetable Container Size Chart to help you make the best choice possible. Before reading through our Vegetable Container Size Chart, there are some things that you should know as a new gardener that will help you understand why the sizing chart is arranged as it is.

Smaller pots dry out faster.

If you are planting a garden for the first time, especially in a warm climate like Zone 9 or 10, remember that the smaller the container, the quicker it will dry out. This happens because the container has more surface area than in-ground plantings, allowing hot, dry air to circulate around the pot to wick away moisture. Additionally, as shown in the Vegetable Container Size Chart, the larger the plant, the more soil it needs. Small pots can only hold a small amount of soil. The roots of a happy, healthy plant planted in a pot too small for it will quickly fill up the space and become root-bound, depriving the plant of receiving the water, oxygen, and nutrients needed.

When in doubt, use a larger pot!

For the reasons mentioned above, you can see that if you are unsure what size to choose when planting a vegetable, choose the larger one if given a choice between two pots! There will be more room for the plant’s roots to grow, and the pot will not dry out as quickly, resulting in a happier, healthier plant.

Add mulch to your pots.

Plants grown in containers of any size, from small 6″ pots to large, raised beds, will dry out more quickly than in-ground plants. To help prevent excess moisture evaporation, add mulch around your plants inside the pot. The mulch will keep your container looking tidy and help your plants keep moisture in the soil.

When using our Vegetable Container Size Chart, keep in mind these are suggestions. We always encourage our growers to play around with what works for them using what materials they have on hand.

Vegetable Container Size Chart  
Plant Minimum Size Preferred Size Number of Plants Per Pot Comments
Artichokes 20 gallon or 16-18″ wide wine barrel size 1-2 Artichokes are short-lived perennials and need deep rich soil.
Basil 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 3-4 Basil can grow in clusters, but you will get larger leaves with properly separated plants.
Beans, Bush 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 2-4 Beans such as OS Blues and other bush varieties grow on smaller, more compact vines.
Beans, Pole 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 2-4 Pole beans require a trellis to grow up.
Beets 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 3-4 Beets are an excellent plant for any container over one gallon. A long shallow container works great!
Broccoli 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1 Plants need deep rich soil to develop large broccoli heads.
Cabbage 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1 Plants need deep rich soil to develop large cabbage heads.
Carrots 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 3-4 Excellent for any container over one gallon. A long shallow container works great!
Cauliflower 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1 Plants need deep rich soil to develop large cauliflower heads.
Celery 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 3-4 Excellent for any container over one gallon. A long shallow container works great!
Chard 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 1-2 Proper spacing helps with fungal disease management.
Cilantro 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 2-4 Cilantro can be grown in crowded plantings.
Collards 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 1-2 Proper spacing helps with fungal disease management.
Corn 20 gallon or 16-18″ wide wine barrel size Plant in blocks of 15+ plants to ensure pollination Plant corn in raised beds or very large containers for best results if not planted in-ground.
Cucumbers 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 2-3 Cucumbers must have a trellis to grow up.
Eggplant 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 1 Eggplant is to grow in pots!
Fennel 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 1-2 The more plants per container, the smaller the plant size.
Garlic 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 1-2 Proper spacing helps with fungal disease management.
Greens (Arugula, Leaf Lettuce, Spinach) 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 3-4 Greens prefer cool weather; harvest and water regularly.
Kale 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 1-2 Proper spacing helps with fungal disease management.
Kohlrabi 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1-2 The more plants per container, the smaller the plant size.
Melons 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1-2 If growing one plant per container, move containers close for pollination.
Okra 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 5-10 The container can be crowded for smaller plants.
Onions 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 4-5 Allow more room when growing bulbing onions.
Parsley 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 2-4 Parsley can be grown in crowded plantings.
Peas 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 3-4 Peas must have a trellis to grow up.
Peppers 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 1 The more plants per container, the smaller the plant size.
Pumpkins 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1-2 If growing one plant per container, move containers close for pollination.
Radishes 1 gallon; 6-7 inch diameter 2 gallon; 8-9 inch diameter 7-8 A long shallow container works great!
Squash 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1-2 If growing one plant per container, move containers close for pollination.
Tomatoes, Determinate 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1 Determinate tomatoes are best suited for growing in pots.
Tomatoes, Indeterminate 20 gallon or 16-18″ wide wine barrel size 1-2 Must have a trellis to grow up. See Blog: DIY Tomato Trellis Systems
Tomatillos 5 gallon; 12 inch diameter 10-15 gallon; 16-18 inch diameter 1 Best to grow one plant per container.
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About Brijette Peña

Image Brijette Peña Brijette Peña is the owner and founder of San Diego Seed Company. Her company focuses on providing the highest quality organic, heirloom, and rare seeds to small-scale growers in the Southwestern United States. The company produces, trials, and promotes local and regionally adapted organic seeds for the unique climates of Southern California and the American Southwest. Her company offers over 300 varieties of vegetables, herbs and flowers for the home gardener and small-scale farmer. Her farm hosts a three-day urban farming course with an emphasis on understanding the importance of regional seed systems and an introduction to seed saving.