What to Know About Container Plants Part 2

Welcome to the second post in our 3 part series on container plants. Container plants are stylish, and sometimes necessary in smaller, intimate outdoor spaces and today we’ll cover what container plants are most likely to thrive in the Portland, Oregon area.

Some Notes on Soil for Container Plants

It turns out there is a lot of myth surrounding the soil you should use in containers. Research proves that potting soil or planter mix is the best option, despite other theories. Potting soil is designed to be very course as opposed to gardening mix which is very fine. The coarse texture of potting soil provides the best drainage to your potted plants, while too fine of particles can clog up drainage paths, killing roots, and ultimately resulting in insufficient air, AKA: dead plants. Don’t go overboard with coarse materials either, it is ill-advised to add a layer of rocks or pebbles to the bottom of planters. This practice in facts inhibits drainage, not supports it. When it comes to soil, using a potting mix is best practice for potted plants.

Best Plants to Grow in Containers

The following is a recommended list of container plants from the Oregon State University Extension Service. Almost anything can be grown in a container, but if you are a beginner, any of the following are great place to start.

peppers are a great choice for container plants in Oregon
Black Pearl Peppers


  • Bush cucumbers
  • Chard
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes


  • Alyssum
  • Begonia
  • Dianthus
  • Dwarf Zinnia
  • Fuchsia
  • Lobelia
  • Marigold
  • Nicotiana
  • Pansy and viola
  • Petunia
  • Salvia
  • Verbena


  • Aster
  • Bulbs
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Coreopsis
  • Dahlia
  • Fern
  • Geranium
  • Herbs

    Dahlia make great flowers for container gardens in Portland, Oregon
  • Lamium
  • Sedum
  • Sweet William

Shrubs and Small Trees

  • Acuba
  • Barberry
  • Boxwood
  • Conifers
  • Fatsia
  • Grecian Bay Tree
  • Hebe
  • Hydrangea
  • Rose
  • Skimmia

All Oregon Designs Intimate Space in Portland

Have some ideas on what you might grow in your containers? Need to know about picking the best pots? read our previous post, What to Know About Container Plants Part 1. If you think you need help choosing the right pots or plants for your container garden, give us a ring and let our landscape designers Carl and Elida “wow” you with their colorful and creative intimate space designs.

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