The right size of the pot will make a lot of difference in the health of your plants if the pot is too small it will not let the root grow and absorb nutrients while if the pot is too large all the water and nutrients will directly reach the bottom without the root absorbing them. Planter pot sizes go from 4 inches to 30 inches and shallow pots are usually considered as pot sizes 12 inches or less that are more suited to succulents, herbs, and vining plants. Shallow pots and planters are very popular these days as they suit apartment balconies and small patios. Are you looking for the best plants for shallow pots and planters let us help you.

What kind of plants should be planted in Shallow Pots & Planters?

Plants with a system of shallow roots are the best-suited plants for shallow pots and planters as these plants are easily able to absorb all the water and nutrients even when the space for these plants is less.

Plant Varieties Suited For Shallow Pots & Planters

When choosing shallow root system plants doesn’t mean that you have to choose plants that are small there are a lot of plant types indoors and outdoors that have a shallow root system and enjoy shallow pots.

Vining Plants

Indoor Vining plants like pothos and philodendrons and outdoor vining plants like Nasturtiums and Clematis are great choices for planting in trellises across shallow pots.

Upright Types

Indoor upright types like snake plants and monsteras and outdoor upright plants like Azaleas and Heucheras are great choices for planting in full sun and across shallow pots.

Fruit Plants

Indoor Fruit plants like African violets and orchids and other fruit plants like strawberries and Rhododendrons are great choices for planting in shallow pots.

Best Indoor  & Outdoor Houseplants For Shallow Pots & Planters

1. Petunias

Petunias are a great choice for shallow pots as they have a shallow root system and beautiful flowers and foliage also they can be easily and safely kept on the balcony or patio as they are non-toxic.

2. Pansies

Pansies work well when planted in shallow containers as their roots are above the surface and they have a shallow root system. Pansies can be grown initially indoors but will have to be moved outdoors eventually in summer as they need full and direct sunlight. Pansies need to be grown in clay and terracotta pots as they need air to flow correctly and have good drainage. Make sure when planting pansies outdoors that you provide 6 inches of spacing from nearby plants so that they can absorb nutrients and water.

3. African violets

African violet is a great indoor houseplant that can be planted in a shallow pot however you have to use a unique shallow pot called an Azalea pot for this plant as its roots tend to grow sideways rather than growing down and so a normal pot will not work for this plant as it will face root rot in such a container. African violet are nontoxic plants and are so safe to be kept on the ground.

4. Orchids

Orchids bloom very well when planted in shallow planters especially if they are exposed to good bright but indirect sunlight. Orchids in fact are not suited to deep pots as the environment of the deep pot is against their natural growing environment. Orchids are also not suited for beginner planters as they need light and water conditions that are consistent otherwise they may die.

5. Jade plant

Jade plant is most suited for shallow pots as they have a very compact root system and they enjoy having a lot of growth in confined spaces. Jade plants can store water in their leaves and stems making them very forgiving for long periods of drought and thus can work well for beginner plant lovers. jade plants are however toxic to both humans and pets so try to keep them above the ground

6. Bonsai

Bonsais are the plants most suited for shallow planters because you are intentionally trying to reduce the growth of their roots as well the rate of growth of a plant so that they can recreate a tree indoors. When planting bonsai indoors in a shallow planter make sure you provide careful attention to its water and nutrient needs and provide them with light from a south or west-facing window.

7. Cactus & Succulents

Cactus and Succulents are great choices for shallow pots and containers as they just need a small amount of soil that can cause growth in their roots and foliage. Some Cactus plants can have needles that are sharp and can cause pain and irritation so try to keep these plants a little elevated. They are a great choice for beginner gardeners as they are very forgiving in terms of water requirements as they are desert plants.

8. Leafy Greens

You can always plant leafy greens like baby bok choy, kale, swiss chard, arugula,  and other lettuces in shallow planters as they require pots that are just 8 inches deep to develop their root systems. When growing leafy greens in shallow pots take care to provide them with consistent water and nitrogen-rich fertilizers so that they can adapt better to shallow containers.

9. Money Plant

Money Plant (Pilea peperomioide) has very small roots so a shallow pot that is only 1 to 2 inches deep is enough for this particular plant provided you also take care to provide an airy and well-draining soil. Be careful to provide it with good sunlight and prevent overwatering of this plant.

10. Snake Plant

Sanke plants have a shallow root system so they are great for shallow containers but they would need to be frequently repotted as they tend to become very large.

11. Lavender

You can Plant lavender in a shallow pot though the ideal pot size for this plant is about 12 to 16 inches and you might need to repot the plant at a later stage. Lavender is a beautiful flower.

12. Panda Plant

Panda is a variety of succulents that does very well in shallow pots indoors and on top is a very easy-to-grow plant that looks beautiful.

13. Aloe vera

Aloe vera does not have deep roots so it works very well in a shallow planter though the pot size has to be a little bigger than what you would use for a bonsai plant

14. Pin-stripe calathea

Pin Stripe Calateha plant has shallow roots but grows bigger and fuller on the top making it a great choice for shallow pots also as an added advantage it is a great indoor houseplant.

15. Pebble plants

Pebble plants or lithops are a variety of succulent that is very suited for a shallow planter as most of the plant is under the soil and they don’t have a stem and their maximum height is just 2.5 cm making them a great indoor choice.

Herbs For Shallow Pots & Planters

16. Parsley

Parsely like other herbs have shallow roots that are very suited for shallow planters. Take care to provide it with nitrogen-rich fertilizer and water  in order to ensure that its growth is not restricted

17. Sage

Sage like other herbs has shallow roots that are very suited for shallow planters.

18. Thyme

Thyme like other herbs has shallow roots that are very suited for shallow planters.

Caring for Plants in Shallow Pots & Planters

If you are planting in a shallow pot and planter take care to provide your plants extra care in terms of watering and fertilizing with nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Compared to deeper pots shallow pots have limited space for the plant to grow their roots so some amount of extra care is always needed.

Shallow pots have more advantages in terms of being easier to carry and allowing you to use the space better as compared to deeper pots. By choosing shallow pots for your garden you can not only optimize your garden space but you can also organize your plants to provide more texture and beauty to your garden thus making shallow planters the best option for those living in apartments or having a small patio.

Plants that have a shallow root system actually do better and live longer and shallow pots also help you organize your garden better.


Here is a list of the best plants for shallow pots and planters that you should plant

  1. Petunias
  2.  Pansies
  3.  African violets
  4.  Orchids
  5.  Jade plant
  6. Bonsai
  7.  Snake Plant
  8.  Lavender
  9. Panda Plant
  10. Parsely
  11. Sage
  12. Thyme
  13. Lavender
  14. Plantain lilies
  15. Zinnias
  16. Coral bells
  17. Creeping jenny
  18. Orchids
  19. Prayer Plant
  20. Cactus
  21. Echeveria
  22. Leafy greens
  23. Pin-stripe calathea
  24. Pebble plants
  25. Houseleek
  26. Aloe vera

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By Pete