Can You Grow Vegetables in Metal Containers?

Also known as container gardening, growing vegetables in metal containers is a trending way to keep a small and mobile garden. 

Since they are versatile and are a successful planting pot, metal containers make for a wonderful vegetable garden. For example, galvanized metal tubs can be used as plant pots and are a good match with the rustic exterior decor. 

While growing vegetables in metal containers is a common practice, it is vital to understand which plants grow best in those types of containers and the best process to garden them. 

Throughout this article, we will go over everything you need to know about gardening in metal containers. You might be really surprised to learn that growing peppers or even carrots from seeds is a possibility in these metal tubs.

Here are the topics we will discuss:

  • Growing vegetables in metal containers
  • How to plant in metal containers
  • Best plants for metal containers
  • Metal container planting FAQs

Read on and learn all the key information to ensure container gardening success!

Metal planters in a garden

Growing Vegetables in Metal Containers

No matter your reasoning for embarking on a metal container gardening adventure, you will find that using growing vegetables in metal containers doesn’t have to be a difficult task. 

The durable design, lightweight, and varying sizes make it easy and effective. When using containers for your vegetable garden, you must ensure that they are safe for the plants and won’t rust out.

Metal containers coated in zinc provide a rust-proof barrier that helps ensure your metal pot won’t waste away. Because metal and water don’t mix well, this layer of protection is vital to the longevity of your container and the health of your vegetables.

It is also crucial to provide the potting soil with room to breathe and release any excess water. You can do this by poking several holes in the bottom of the pot. 

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How to Plant in Metal Containers

Planting vegetables in metal containers is simple and varies slightly from planting directly into the ground. The first step you want to take is to ensure the container has a protective zinc layer. If not, adding one will help our plants succeed.

Once you select your metal container and ensure it is properly lined, it’s time to prepare the pot for planting. As previously noted, the soil needs a way to drain any excess water from the container. To do this, drill several holes in the bottom of the pot. 

When deciding where to place the container, give it some height so it can drain the water more efficiently.

Height can be added below the container by placing two bricks or large rocks where the pot will sit to help the water flow through the drilled holes. 

You may also consider adding small gravel to the bottom of the container before adding soil, which will ensure the release of excess water and prevent too much dirt from escaping through the holes. 

The type of gravel used to aid in excess water drainage can vary from landscaping rock you purchase at the store to gravel from the bottom of the creek bed. Or, placing one rock over each drainage hole should do the trick if you don’t want to spend money on gravel from the store. 

Filling Metal Pots

Now, it’s time to begin planting! Plant your vegetables as in any other container or pot. Fill with your favorite potting soil and place the seed or plant in the recommended soil depth. Water and wait for new life to spring up!

One of the more notable aspects of planting in containers is the ability to move the plant from one area to another. When using a metal container, it is vital to ensure the plant is not getting too much sun. 

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Heat radiates off of metal. Therefore, placing the metal pot in full sun runs the risk of the roots getting too hot or drying out. Move the container throughout the day for the plant to get some shade or locate a spot with enough shade and place it there. 

Best Plants for Metal Containers

Container gardening helps gardeners keep track of their vegetables and easily maintain weed growth. Therefore, experts have found ways to grow a variety of vegetables in containers

If your metal container is appropriately equipped for planting, it can grow vegetables found in your average garden. 

While you can plant almost any garden vegetable in metal containers, vegetables that tend to thrive in container gardens include:

Fruit and Veg

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Beans
  • Lettuce
  • Squash
  • Green onions
  • Asparagus

Cucumbers also do well in containers but require their own space as their vines will take over a larger area.

If planting vining plants in containers, you may consider constructing a vine wall that allows the plants to grow upwards onto the constructed wall for easier harvesting.

Herbs also thrive in containers; dedicated container gardeners often plant individual herbs in their pots for easy identification and harvesting. Some of the more popular include: 


  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic

Just because the container doesn’t have endless depths like the ground doesn’t mean you can’t plant root vegetables there. While a deep container is required, growing the following root vegetables in metal containers makes for easy harvesting:

Root Veg

  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Small potatoes
  • Onions
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Whether you’re short on space, need a mobile garden, or like the aesthetics, metal containers bring to your home, container gardening is a popular and successful vegetable gardening trend. 

The ease of the process and the ability to grow just about any garden vegetable make this way of gardening all the more enticing.


Here we’ll answer some common questions about growing vegetables in metal containers.