Find out about Thrive
Thrive logo

Growing in containers when you can't bend easily

Container growing can make life easier as there is a range of options to suit, including pots and planters, grow bags and raised beds. Growing plants in containers allows you to provide the right conditions for different plants – such as acid-loving types. A wide variety of plants including vegetables, herbs – even small fruit trees – can all be grown in containers to make the best use of limited space.

Top tips to make growing in containers easier

  • High raised bed
    Decide what works best for you. You could consider high beds and containers, which bring the soil surface closer, or lower containers and beds which you can access with long handled tools. Find out more about raised beds
  • If you find it easier to garden sitting down, keep your back straight and bear in mind that with a raised bed or containers you will be sitting side-on, which can involve twisting and stretching. Keep any beds narrow enough to reach the centre without straining.
  • Make sure there is good access all round your containers and if necessary raise them to a height that's good for you - for example on a table, a plant stand, or even an old chimney pot.  
  • Save the work of lifting bulbs or tender plants by planting them in pots or wire baskets in the border.
  • You will find it easier to water containers if you group them together. However, you can save watering time by putting containers where they will be reached by the rain.
  • Water-retaining granules can really save on watering, and slow-release fertilizer is an easy way to feed.

Taking care

  • Container plants need a lot more watering and feeding than plants in the ground.  Don’t have so many that you are exhausted with the effort. If you have lots of containers, you might want to look into automatic watering systems.
  • Containers are also heavy to carry and move, so don’t be tempted to try to lift heavy pots by hand.  Save straining your back by using a pot-mover trolley.

Hints and tips

  • Raised brick bed
    Plants in pots can be placed in beds or sunk into borders to change the display.
  • Plastic containers hold moisture better than clay or earthenware and you can line hanging baskets with plastic to retain moisture.
  • A layer of gravel or shingle on the top of the compost will improve drainage through the pot and reduce weeds.
  • Saucers underneath your pots will help retain water, but remove these

    in the winter or in prolonged wet weather.

  • Add crocks in the base of the container under a layer of shingle for drainage.
  • Interesting trellis and plant supports extend the range of plants you can grow in containers and can act as useful screens.


Equipment and tools

  • Choose frost-proof pots.
  • Ideas for new pot displays are often shown at the big flower shows, so check magazines and your garden centre for ideas.
  • Wheeled pot stands make the job of changing displays a little easier.
  • Hanging baskets are best hung using a Hi-Lo pulley to avoid reaching up to tend them but always avoid sitting or standing beneath any basket which is above head height.


Pot mover wheels  

Pot mover wheels

Make it easy to move your pots around with this strong and durable three-wheeled pot mover.

Find out more about pot mover wheels


Pot mover  

Pot mover

Ideal for moving pots and boxes, this trolley has a claw like handle that goes over the item to steady it. The long handle saves you bending.

Find out more about pot mover


Peta long reach Easi-Grip hand tools  

Peta long reach Easi-Grip hand tools

These long but light steel tools have soft grip handles that are at right angles to the tool head. This allows the wrist and hand to be held in a neutral position which reduces strain.

Find out more about Peta long reach Easi-Grip hand tools


Auto-rewind hose reel  

Auto-rewind hose reel

A latch on the side of this hose reel locks the hose at any length when you are using it and an automatic mechanism rewinds the hose at the flick of a switch.

Find out more about Auto-rewind hose reel