Large Plants for Containers

Updated February 21, 2017

A large spot of ground is not required to grow large plants; many types of large plants can do well in indoor or outdoor containers. In fact, many shrubs and small trees can thrive when grown in containers.


Palm trees are a common container choice. They range from 6 to 15 feet high-the size of the container determines the size of the palm. Common palm trees include fishtail, queen, pony tail, Chinese fan, MacArthur and sentry. Palms are typically sold at a height of 1 to 2 feet in a container suitable for a 4-foot plant. Transplanting is required when the palm outgrows a container if continued growth is desired.


Trees grown in containers can range from 8 feet to 20 feet high. Common container trees include balsam apple, fiddleleaf fig, silk oak, banana, corn plant, Madagascar dragon tree, bo tree, rusty fig and Japanese yew. Most container trees are sold at a height of 2 to 3 feet in a small container. Trees require larger pots to allow for growth, typically requiring 4 to 5 transplants throughout their lifetime.


Shrubs grown in containers usually do not exceed 8 feet in height. Common shrubs include Australian laurel, screwpine and Spanish cherry. Most shrubs are sold at a height between 6 inches and 2 feet. Shrubs can be kept in a large container as long as proper fertiliser is supplied to the entirety of the soil.


Cacti are slow-growing container plants available in a range of starting heights. When grown in containers, cacti have the potential to reach more than 10 feet high. Common cacti include organ pipe cactus and prickly pear cactus. Cacti are typically sold heights ranging between 6 inches and 4 feet. Usually contained in a pot large enough to allow for a lifetime of growth, cacti rarely require transplanting.

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