Pots or In ground???

Hi everyone,

Just wondering if most of you plant your seedlings in pots or straight in the ground? I have so many seedlings this year and some have not bloomed yet and it is getting quite expensive to keep buying potting mix. It looks like I might have to section off a small part of my yard for testing beds for the seedlings. Do you find seedlings grow faster in the ground than in a pot?


Most years I put most plants into the ground. I use extreme crowding, with a spacing of 2" or less in the rows a ft apart. so you get 60 plants in a 10 ft row or 1/6 sq ft/plant. For all but the big shrubs that’s plenty. and the strong outgrow the weak some, but mostly it is winter death that gets them.

If I see something really special, I put it in a cut off 1/2 gal milk carton. We use 50/yr or so. I mix peat + soil, so its half the price of potting mix. When packed together these pots give about the same area, as directly in ground, but I place them in a crawl space in winter.


I plant most of my seedings in 4" peat pots…After they have started I select the better seedlings and transfer them to a garden area. I plant the peat pot using a good quality soil mix and a desirable watering system. Regardless if you grow seedlings in either pots or in the ground they require the same amount of care such as water, sunlight , proper nutrients , and TLC. So I think the choice is yours

Seedlings seem to grow better in ground than in pots. The down side to growing in ground: if you want to move the plant after a couple of years, it is difficult to do without a lot of damage. Better to clone by rooting or budding, but for me this is rarely done.

Jeannie and Dave,

I agree on the better, more vigorous and healthy plant in the ground unless you use some really big pots-like 15 gal for a standard size rose, and then it needs more monitoring for watering and nutrients. Dave-I have been using chicken wire screen cages-about 1 gal size but deeper, to protect my roses from the gophers and ground squirrels, and I even used some 6" hydroponic pots for that purpose in ground. These have lifted and transplanted very well (the chicken wire up to about 4-5 yrs and the seedlings up to at least 2 yrs in the plastic hydroponic pots) even in the heat of summer. All the main roots stay intact, undisturbed and the secondary roots quickly regrow if watered immediately and well. I started by putting all the roses in large-ish (15"x24")cages and then discovered (after my 3rd roll of chicken wire) half or less of that works well.

Thanks everyone. I found this web-site that sells pots pretty cheap and was wondering what size pot would be good for putting selective seedlings in for keeping them for a year, in case I don’t have room for them in the ground. What do you think?

Milton, 4" peat pots sound pretty good, do you find that they start to wear down and break apart after watering them several times?

Larry, I’m glad you stated how much space between each plant for that was my next question, thanks.

What kind of fertilizer do you all use for the plants in the pots versus in the ground?

Thanks again everyone!

here is the link to the plastic pots. Does anyone have any other web sites for pots that they would like to share?

Link: plasticflowerpots.net/2gallonpots.aspx

I make my own seedling pots by poking holes in disposable plastic cups with a soldering iron. Newly germinated seedlings go in 3 oz. cups until they are moved outdoors. Survivors get moved to 9 oz. clear tumblers where they stay until they get culled sometime in August. Keepers then go into 20 oz. soda bottles for the next year or so - I cut the tops off with a razor and poke holes with a bigger soldering iron. Soda bottles are pretty durable, I use them for rootstocks as well.

Many nurseries have recycling programs for plastic pots where you can get them almost free. Check especially the independent nurseries in your area that cater to landscapers. The one in my area that does it is Plant Depot in San Juan Capistrano. Used 1 gallon pots are $0.25 and anything smaller is free. Used 5 gallons are $0.50 each.

I use large foam boxes (50 x 30 x 20cm). You can leave them in there all season and by thinning (culling) hard they get more room as the year rolls on. They are recycled fruit/veg boxes and already have drain holes. This is based on Jim’s seedling beds idea.