17 Best Vegetables to Grow in 5 Gallon Buckets & 12 Inches Pots

Sheri Dorn is a versatile homesteader and culinary artist with a strong focus on organic and heirloom gardening. Holding a Master's degree in Culinary Arts, she combines her love for cooking and gardening in a unique way. Sheri is an active contributor to online gardening communities and enjoys quality outdoor time with her family and pets.
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Have a look at the Best Vegetables to Grow in 5 Gallon Buckets! This way, you will be able to get a good harvest in a limited space!

As we all know, 5-gallon volume pots and buckets, which are usually 12 inches deep and of around similar diameter, are pretty common, easy to find, and considered as a standard to grow most container plants. Considering we created this list of Vegetables to Grow in 5-gallon buckets to help container gardeners.

Why Grow Vegetables In 5 Gallon Buckets?

Five-gallon buckets are a great choice, as they are sufficiently deep to hold the roots of most plants and limited enough that they can be adjusted in small spaces like patios or balconies. They are lightweight too and hence can be moved easily during bad weather or inappropriate growing conditions.

You can even get them for free if you know where to find them: try bakeries, restaurants, and delis if they have any spare, or check out our article on where to find free containers to find more such ideas.

Best Vegetables to Grow in 5 Gallon Buckets

1. Eggplants

This member of the nightshade family can be easily grown in containers. Grow a single plant in a 5-gallon bucket, and provide support when fruits begin to emerge. Choose dwarf varieties like ‘little fingers’ or ‘Fairy tale’ for containers.

Learn how to grow eggplant in a pot here

2. Tomatoes


A 12–16-inch pot or 5-gallon bucket is enough for growing most of the varieties. Move the plants indoors or cover them when cold weather endangers them. Make sure the pots have drainage holes. Read details here.

Learn the best way to grow tomatoes here

3. Peppers

This summer crop also does well in buckets, as they have a shallow root system. In cool climates, move the containers indoors or cover them.

While growing pepper in a 5-gallon bucket, plant three dwarf varieties together or grow some herbs alongside. Green Bell, Jalapeno, Anaheim, Padron, Cayenne, and Poblano Peppers are some of the best choices for a 5 gallon container.

Learn about growing hot peppers in containers here

4. Cucumbers


Cucumbers can be easily grown in a 5-gallon bucket; just place it below the trellis so they climb up. Select bush-type cultivars, which show off short vines that grow up to 2-3 feet long.

Varieties like, ‘Picklebush’, ‘Burpless bush’, ‘Bush champion’, and ‘Salad bush’ are perfect options for containers.

Learn about growing cucumbers vertically here

5. Zucchini

Zucchini is a great choice for 5-gallon buckets; grow compact varieties like Magda, Gourmet Gold, Golden Egg, Bush Baby, and Patio Star. Read more growing details here.

Check out 9 zucchini companion plants here

6. Carrots

Home Grown Veg

Carrots are root vegetables, so a 5-gallon planter makes the perfect sense. The planter should have good drainage capabilities, as carrots need well-draining soil in order to grow properly.

Nelson, Scarlet Nantes, Danvers Half Long, Parisienne, and Chantenay Carrots are some of the best varieties for 5-gallon containers. Read more here.

7. Kale and Other Brassicas

Gary Pilarchik (The Rusted Garden)

Kale, cauliflower, or broccoli are good options for a 5-gallon bucket. If you are living in a warm climate, you can easily move the leafy crops to a shaded area.

8. Potatoes

For growing a single potato plant, a 5-gallon bucket will be sufficient; you will get 10 potatoes from each one.

Fill the bucket one-third with growing media, place a seed potato (eyes or chits) on top of potting mix, and cover it with later of a growing medium. Find the best potato planting ideas here.

9. Beans


Most beans, including lima beans, black beans, snap beans, and kidney beans, will do well in five-gallon containers.

Fill the container with well-draining potting soil and make sure it is watered regularly and fertilized every 4-6 weeks. The beans will need at least six hours of sunlight a day and should be picked when the pods are tender.

Check the best beans varieties here

10. Onions


Growing onions in 5-gallon containers is possible. Fill the container with a mixture of potting soil and compost. Water the plants regularly and fertilize them every two weeks with a diluted liquid fertilizer.

Harvest the onions when the tops of the onions begin to dry and fall over. Learn everything about growing green onions here.

11. Peas


Growing peas in 5-gallon containers is possible, although it is best to use dwarf varieties like Sugar Snap Pea, Lincoln Pea, Dwarf Grey Sugar Pea, Cascadia Pea, Tom Thumb Pea, Dwarf White Sugar Pea, and Maestro Pea for this purpose.

You will need to ensure the container is deep enough for the roots to go down. Fill the container with quality potting soil and mix in some compost or manure for added nutrients. To support the plants, provide a trellis or other type of support.

Read more about growing peas in pots here

12. Lettuce and Other Leafy Greens


Loose-leaf lettuce can be grown by beginner gardeners; just sprinkle the seeds on the surface of potting mix in the bucket, leaving a space of 1/2 to 1 inch. Thin to about 3-4 inches for cut and come again plants.

You can also grow Asian greens, arugula, spinach, chard, and mustard greens in 5-gallon pots.

Fruits That Can be Grown in 5-Gallon Bucket

13. Blueberries

Blueberries can be grown in 5-gallon containers, by choosing varieties like ‘Peach Sorbet’ and ‘Jelly Bean’ are good options that grow up to 1-2 feet tall.

It is important to provide the plant with plenty of sunlight. Make sure to rotate the container every few weeks to ensure even growth and exposure.

Prune the blueberry plant every season to maintain a healthy shape and encourage new growth. It will also help control the size of the plant, so the roots don’t become too cramped in the 5-gallon container.

Learn more about growing blueberries in pots here

14. Strawberries


Growing strawberries in a 5-gallon container is an excellent way to enjoy fresh, healthy strawberries in a small space. The container should have ample drainage holes in the bottom, as well as a layer of gravel or pebbles to help prevent soil erosion.

Fill the container with nutrient-rich, well-draining potting soil. Water the plants regularly and ensure that they get plenty of sunlight. With proper care, you should have a plentiful harvest of sweet, juicy strawberries in no time.

Read this post for growing strawberries indoors year-round here.

Find out the best strawberry companion plants here

15. Raspberries


Growing raspberries in a 5-gallon container can be a fun way to enjoy homegrown raspberries in a small space. Grow Autumn Britten, Tulameen, Heritage, Caroline, and Prelude for best results.

Water the plants regularly, and keep an eye out for pests and diseases. Also, make sure the plant gets a minimum of 6-7 hours of direct sunlight. With proper care, the container can produce delicious raspberries for years to come.

16. Citrus

The best container size for a citrus tree is a 5-gallon container. This will provide enough space for the roots to develop, but not so much that the soil stays overly moist.

When selecting a container, make sure it has drainage holes. When the citrus tree becomes rootbound, re-pot it into size bigger container than the old one.

Learn about the best citrus trees for containers here

17. Banana


Yes, it is possible to grow a banana in a 5-gallon pot, but a 7-8 gallon bucket would be an apt choice. Make sure to choose a dwarf variety of bananas.

Use a quality potting mix that is high in organic matter. Be sure to water the plant regularly, as well as fertilize it every few weeks because bananas are heavy feeders.

Check out our article on growing bananas in pots here

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