16 Perfect Plants For Shallow Planters


16 Perfect Plants For Shallow Planters

Choosing the right sized pots for your plants is crucial for their health and development. Shallow Planter plants with limited depth can restrict root growth and nutrient absorption if the wrong plants are selected.

However, certain plant varieties with naturally shallow planter root systems can thrive in confined containers. I have explored unique shallow planter root plants ideal for pots, window boxes, and planters.

Shallow Root Systems

Shallow rooted plants are adapted for growing in tight spaces. Their roots rapidly branch out horizontally rather than growing down deeply. This allows them to maximize nutrient and moisture uptake from the limited soil available in shallow planter pots.

Though small in size, these dynamic root zones support vibrant vegetative growth, brilliant flowers, and even fruit production above ground. 

Both sun-loving outdoor varieties and low-light houseplants can succeed in shallow planter pots given adequate care. From cascading strawberries to majestic orchids, shallow rooted plants bring beauty and functionality wherever space is scarce.

 Vining Types

Vining Types

 1. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums by the gardenation

Nasturtiums are a versatile vining plant that produces edible flowers and leaves with a peppery flavor. Their shallow roots rapidly fill out the soil profile in pots and window boxes. As a bonus, these trailing vines mask the sides of containers with their round leaves and bright, trumpet-shaped blooms. 

  • Ideal Position: Shallow planter pots, window boxes, hanging baskets
  • Care: Full sun, well-draining soil, occasional nitrogen feeding

 2. Pothos 

With its iconic heart-shaped leaves, pothos is a popular indoor vining small pot plant. Each vine can grow up to 10 feet long, making pothos ideal for shallow planter pots placed on high shelves. The trailing stems beautifully drape over bookshelves, side tables, and other surfaces. 

  • Ideal Position: Shallow indoor pots, high shelves
  • Care: Bright indirect light, moderate watering, general houseplant fertilizer

 Upright Plants

 3. Azaleas

Azaleas by the gardenation

Azaleas are spring-blooming shrubs with abundant flowers ranging from pure white to deep pinks and purples. They have fine, shallow feeding roots requiring frequent irrigation in pots and containers. With the right care, azaleas transform shallow planter pots into works of art through springtime.

  • Ideal Position: Outdoor shallow pots, partially shaded
  • Care: Moist, acidic, well-draining soil

 4. Snake Plant

Snake Plant

With sword-like upright leaves, snake plants are virtually indestructible small pot plants. Their shallow roots help restrict growth, making them perfect for shallow planter pots. Snake plants tolerate low light and inconsistent watering, adding durable greenery to shelves or tabletops.

  • Ideal Position: Shallow indoor pots 
  • Care: Bright indirect sunlight, avoid overwatering

 Flowering or Fruiting  

 5. Rhododendrons

Rhododendrons by the gardenation

Rhododendrons and azaleas are close small pot plant relatives, sharing their need for moist, acidic soil. These spring-blooming shrubs explode with color in shades of purple, red, white, yellow, and orange. Their fine surface roots thrive in the cool conditions provided by shallow planter pots with adequate moisture.

  • Ideal Position: Outdoor shallow pots, partially shaded  
  • Care: Moist acidic soil, sheltered location

 6. Strawberries

Strawberries by the gardenation

Nothing beats the experience of plucking homegrown, sun-ripened strawberries straight from your container garden. Strawberries produce copious runners that fill out small spaces. Shallow pots kept consistently moist can yield buckets of berries from just a few starter small pot plants.  

  • Ideal Position: Sunny shallow planter pots outdoors
  • Care: Consistent moisture, monthly feeding, well-draining soil

Perfect Plants for Shallow Planter Pots 

Perfect Plants for Shallow Planter Pots 

 7. Herbs


Herbs like parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, and marjoram have shallow roots that adapt well to life in pots and window boxes. These edible small pot plants provide a convenient harvest of fresh seasonings right on your windowsill or patio. I ensure healthy growth with nitrogen fertilizer and consistent moisture.

  • Ideal Position: Sunny shallow planter pots
  • Care: Moist, well-draining soil, nitrogen fertilizer  

 8. Leafy Greens

Leafy Greens

Nutrient-rich leafy greens like kale, chard, lettuces, and bok choy are great for urban vegetable gardening. Their quick crop time and shallow roots are perfect for harvesting fresh greens from limited spaces. I sow seeds densely and harvest outer leaves to make room for new growth.  

  • Ideal Position: Sunny shallow planter pots, minimum 6 hours sunlight 
  • Care: Moist soil, balanced liquid fertilizer

 9. Pansies


Few flowers can match pansies for sheer color diversity, ranging from solid yellows to near-black blooms streaked with every hue. Though delicate in appearance, pansies are cold hardy and bloom persistently through spring and fall. Their shallow roots love the cool, moist conditions provided by shallow planter pots.

  • Ideal Position: Outdoor shallow pots, 6-inch spacing
  • Care: Sunny site, moist soil

 10. Petunias 

Petunias by the gardenation

Petunias are a gardener’s best friend for effortless summer color. Available in every color except true blue, petunias bloom continuously from spring to frost. Though heavy feeders, their shallow roots adapt well to smaller pots that are kept consistently watered. Deadheads spent blooms to encourage new flowers.  

  • Ideal Position: Sunny shallow planter pots, 6-8 hours sunlight  
  • Care: Moist soil, balanced fertilizer every 2-3 weeks

 11. African Violets

African Violets by the gardenation

Grown for their velvety leaves and purple, white, or pink blooms, African violets thrive in small pots with their shallow, compact root systems. However, they require specialized soil mixes and potting techniques to grow successfully. With the right care, African violets will bloom persistently indoors.  

  • Ideal Position: Shallow planter pots, bright indirect sunlight
  • Care: Fast-draining soil, room temperature water, African violet fertilizer 

 12. Orchids

Orchids by the gardenation

Don’t be intimidated by growing orchids as small pot plants – their aerial roots adapt beautifully to shallow planter pots. Oncidiums, phalaenopsis, and moth orchids are especially easy, thriving in bright indoor conditions. I avoid overwatering, and rely on specialized orchid fertilizer to support prolific flowering.

  • Ideal Position: Shallow planterpots, bright indirect sunlight   
  • Care: High humidity, orchid potting mix, bloom-booster fertilizer

 13. Chinese Money Plant

Chinese Money Plant

Chinese money plants are treasured for their coin-shaped leaves emerging on long petioles from the soil. Their architectural appeal and shallow roots have made them an Instagram sensation. I avoid overwatering, as they store moisture in their fleshy stems and tolerate occasional neglect once established. 

  • Ideal Position: Shallow planter pots, bright indirect sun  
  • Care: Well-draining soil, avoid overwatering

 14. Jade Plant 

Jade plants are cherished as houseplants for their smooth, rounded succulent leaves. Getting over 2 feet tall, they eventually outgrow shallow planter pots unless constantly pruned. However, their sparse water needs make them highly adaptable to small containers. 

  • Ideal Position: Shallow planter pots, minimum 4 hours direct sun
  • Care: Fast-draining soil, avoid high humidity  

 15. Succulents


From tiny rosettes to spiky architectural forms, succulents come in endless shapes and colors perfect for shallow  planter pots.

Their drought-tolerant, shallow root systems store moisture in fleshy leaves, stems, or swollen bases. I mix varieties for stunning combinations requiring little care beyond sun exposure and occasional watering.  

  • Ideal Position: Shallow planter pots, minimum 6 hours direct sun  
  • Care: Fast-draining soil, avoid overwatering

 16. Bonsai

The art of bonsai involves carefully stunting trees and shrubs to maintain a miniature size. Developing bonsai requires consistent pruning, wiring, and root reduction performed annually to control growth. With proper care, bonsai can thrive for decades in shallow planter pots as contemplative natural sculptures.  

  • Ideal Position: Outdoor shallow planter pots, maximum sun exposure  
  • Care: Species-specific care, annual pruning/wiring/repotting

For more information more about gardening you can visit: Tall Potted Plants For Privacy

 Plant Care for Shallow Pot Plants

Plant Care for Shallow Pot Plants

Caring for small pot  plants in shallow planter pots has its unique requirements. I avoid overwatering, as excess moisture has nowhere to drain in confined containers.

I allow soil to partially dry out between waterings. Shallow planter pots also require more frequent fertilization with a balanced or slow-release plant food to replace nutrients leached with each watering.  

I group plants with similar needs in terms of sun exposure, soil moisture, and feeding requirements for easier care. For example, I keep moisture-loving plants separate from drought-tolerant succulents.I also check soil moisture frequently, and water each grouping based on its needs.  

When repotting becomes necessary, I minimize root disturbance which can set back small pot plants. I slide root balls out whole, trim any circling roots, and replace a portion of soil with fresh potting mix. Then I select a container no more than 2 inches larger in diameter to retain a compact root structure.


Gardening in shallow planter pots allows plant lovers to cultivate beauty even in the most confined indoor and outdoor spaces. I explored unique varieties exhibiting vibrant growth, flowers, and fruit production despite their compact root structures. 

Tailor your selection to the growing conditions available, and tend to regular care requirements to keep plants happy in tight quarters. With a little creativity, small pots offer endless possibilities to enhance your personal surroundings with living greenery and blossoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are good shallow rooted plants for indoor pots?

Great indoor plants for shallow pots include pothos, Chinese money plant, jade plant, orchids, and succulents like echeveria and aloe vera. All these plants tolerate low light levels and inconsistent watering typical of indoor environments.

Should I fertilize plants in small pots?  

Yes, fertilizing is important when gardening in shallow containers. The limited soil volume is quickly depleted of nutrients with regular watering and plant growth. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season to maintain vigorous growth.  

What are some good plants for shallow window boxes?

Some of the best shallow rooted plants for window boxes include trailing nasturtiums and petunias, upright pansies, compact herbs like thyme and oregano, leafy greens, strawberries, and small vegetable crops like radishes and cherry tomatoes.

How often should I water plants in shallow pots?

Check soil moisture frequently, and water plants in shallow pots whenever the top 1-2 inches become dry. Plants in small volumes of soil depend on more frequent irrigation to supply their needs. However, take care not to overwater, as poor drainage can lead to root rot in confined containers.

What is a good flower for small pots?

Excellent flowers for small pots include pansies, violas, and mini petunias, which come in a wide range of bright colors. These small-scale flowers thrive in the confined soil space that small containers provide. Trailing nasturtiums and miniature trailing lobelia also bloom prolifically in pots and window boxes, adding vertical interest.

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