Plants Suitable For Tall Narrow Pots – The 5 To Grow!

A potted garden is perfect for those of us who have small gardens or just a sad-looking concrete patch. However, there is an art to making potted plants look beautiful. Particularly if you have tall, narrow pots.

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A small growing plant or herb in an oversized pot will be swamped by the size of its container and look out of place.

Whereas a large, tall plant in a shallow and small pot won’t live for very long and can be very unstable. 

Not only that, container planting has its own formula. Usually referred to as ‘Thrillers, Spillers, and Fillers.’

Combining a tall plant (thriller) with a plant that flows over the side of your container (spiller) and then finishing it off with shorter plants in-between (filler) is how you can create perfect plant containers for your garden.

So we’re here with our top five plants, perfect for those tall and narrow plant pots that are all the rage in container gardens at the moment.

Amaranth (Amaranthus)

The tall Amaranth paint, with its dramatically colored tassel-like flowers, is both an ornamental and edible plant.

One of the most popular flowering varieties is ‘Love Lies Bleeding.’ If you want to grow edible varieties, look for names like Caribbean Spinach, Inca Wheat, Chinese Amaranth, Tampala, and Chinese Spinach.

Reaching heights of 2 to 4 feet. This plant needs a large container with adequate drainage holes.

Amaranth are annual plants with a short flowering season. So you will need to sow new seeds every year or buy new plants. 

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11
  • Color Varieties: Red, Purples, and Yellows. Green Foliage
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Bamboo (Bambusoideae)

Bamboo has a reputation for being a nasty grower in the garden. Invasively growing faster than you can cut it back.

However, bamboo can be a real statement garden piece when grown in containers. With a wide variety of species, you are bound to find one that will grow happily in your climate.

Clumping varieties, as well as smaller growing types, suit container life perfectly.

The restriction of containers means they won’t grow to their fullest, but some species will still reach impressive heights of 10ft to 20ft.

Be aware bamboo hates getting its feet wet, so you will need good drainage to keep this plant happy.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11
  • Color Varieties: green, yellow, pink, brown-black, and even blue.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Canna Lilly (Canna x Generalis)

The Canna Lilly will add tropical vibrancy to your garden with its large, dramatic flowers.

Generally an annual, which means you will need to buy fresh plants or sow new seeds every year, this beautiful plant can sometimes survive if brought inside your home over the winter.

What they lose in longevity, they truly make up for with their long flowering season.

Flowering multiple times during the season, they will be a statement piece in your garden for months.

They can reach heights of 2ft to 6ft and, unlike bamboo, actually prefer a bit of soggy bottom. So you won’t have to worry too much about adequate drainage.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 11
  • Color Varieties: Pale yellow, orange, blood-red, or pink flowers. Pastel and vivid shades.
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

Fountain Grass (Pennisetum)

Fountain grasses are a perennial plant found in a wide variety of shades, from muted yellows to vivid purples and reds.

Their long, fluffy flower heads add real drama to the garden, and they will come back year after year.

Some Pennisetum species are hardier than others, so do your research before you settle on a particular type.

They can grow up to 3ft tall. Tall enough to stand out but not overwhelming large that they consume other plants.

The foliage of fountain grasses can look very attractive for most of the year, but they really shine during the fall months when they develop shades of gold or copper. 

  • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 11
  • Color Varieties: Flowers: Purple, Red, Orange, White, Pink, and Yellow.
  • Foliage: Blue/Green and Purple/Burgundy 
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

Orange Rocket Barberry (Berberis Thunbergii)

This easy-cared-for shrub can easily grow to almost 5ft in height. Although they are happy in partial shade, full sun will encourage berries and beautiful autumn colors.

New growth tends to be a medium green that turns a fiery orange hue as the fall months roll around.

It also grows beautifully scented yellow flowers in the spring and summer.

Thankfully it is a fairly low-maintenance shrub. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy its ever-changing shades.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
  • Color Varieties: Coral to ruby red
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade

What Makes A Plant Suitable For A Tall, Narrow Pot?

Whether your plant is suitable for a tall, narrow pot can depend on a variety of factors such as root length & size, water needs, and the final size or width of your plant. 

Let us now explore some of the reasoning behind each one.

Water Needs

All pots have what is called a ‘perched water table.’ This is basically where the waterline generally sits in your soil.

The perched water table is the same distance from the base of your pot, regardless of the size of your container.

However, the width of your pot will dramatically alter how much water is available for your plant.

With a tall, narrow plant pot, you will have far less available water in the perched water table than a short but much wider pot.

So figuring out your chosen plant’s water needs is important when deciding on whether it is suitable for a tall and narrow pot. 

If you can create a consistent watering routine, you can plant just about anything in a tall planter.

You will have to ensure there is a constant supply of water while also making sure it doesn’t get too boggy for your plant.

If you can’t stick to a regulated watering schedule, we recommend choosing plants that don’t require watering as often.

Root Length and Size

The great thing about tall and narrow plant pots is that there is less risk of your plant’s roots staying soggy.

Many plants can experience detrimental conditions like root rot if their root systems are wallowing in boggy conditions.

Tall, narrow plant pots also provide extra growing room for plants that have deep growing root systems, such as sunflowers. 

Due to the narrow space of a tall plant pot, you’ll want to make sure your plant won’t ultimately grow to be too tall or heavy.

A tall and heavy plant can become very unstable, and you risk it being blown over in the wind unless you choose to firmly secure your container. 

Plant Width

As for the width of your plant. Tall and narrow plant pots can hold very wide plants.

However, visually it will look very out of balance and won’t be as visually stunning as you may like it to be.

Pot Size

The size of your pot also determines how much air and water will be available.

Tall and narrow planters tend to have a lower water versus air percentage. So this is good to keep in mind when you are choosing a plant. 

How To Ensure Your Plants Thrive In Tall Narrow Pots

When caring for plants in tall, narrow pots, it’s important not to over pot them, to keep to some sort of watering schedule that is appropriate for your chosen plants, and to secure the plant pot if it is in an open area of your garden.

Watering Schedule

By maintaining a watering schedule that suits your chosen plants, you will be able to avoid over and under-watering.

Both of which can be detrimental to the health and longevity of your plants.

Overwatering can lead to withering, root rot, fungal infections, and restricting your plant’s ability to access oxygen through its roots.

Underwatering will also cause wilting and drying out.

Plant Conservatively

When deciding upon your plants for your tall, narrow planter, you want to make sure that you don’t plant too many in one pot.

Too many plants will encourage overcrowding and force your plants to fight for nutrients.

Eventually, certain plants will outgrow and stifle some of the others that are growing in the same space. 

Consider The Area

If you choose to place your narrow, tall plant pot in an area that is open to the elements, you may want to consider securing the plant pot either to the ground or a nearby structure.

The last thing you want to do is come out after a windy night only for your pot to be on its side, possibly broken and having caused damage to your plants. 

Lastly

Tall and narrow planters can add some serious drama and interest to your garden, and there are a wide variety of plants that will thrive in this style of container.

Take your time choosing the perfect plants, and you will have a beautiful display for years to come.