Give your countertops and windowsills a green makeover with these Plants for Shallow Pots, perfect for limited space!
Finding the Best Plants for Shallow Pots can be a challenging task, especially when space is limited. However, shallow pots, due to their convenience and versatility, can be a great way to incorporate greenery into tight areas like small balconies, windowsills, or compact indoor spaces. We have curated the most suitable varieties for you to pick from!
Indoor Plants for Shallow Pots
1. Dwarf Umbrella Tree
Botanical Name: Schefflera arboricola
The Dwarf Umbrella Tree can thrive in shallow pots as it grows slowly and doesn’t require extensive root space. Regular pruning can also maintain its size, making it suitable for smaller pots.
Learn about the Best Indoor Trees here
2. English Ivy
Botanical Name: Hedera helix
English Ivy tends to spread across the soil surface or climb vertically rather than growing deep roots. Its ability to thrive in less soil and its adaptability to different light conditions make it suitable for shallow pots. Its trailing vines also create a beautiful cascading effect.
3. Golden Pothos
Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
Known for its heart-shaped leaves and trailing habit, the Golden Pothos has a moderate root system. It can thrive in a range of pot sizes, including shallow ones if you wish to keep the plant growth in control. Look at the Best Pothos Varieties here.
4. Creeping Jenny
Botanical Name: Lysimachia nummularia
Creeping Jenny is a vigorous trailing plant with a shallow, spreading root system. It grows rapidly and spreads across the soil surface, making it ideal for shallow containers where it can spill over the sides. It doesn’t require deep soil to thrive and does well in moist conditions.
5. Lipstick Plant
Botanical Name: Aeschynanthus radicans
With an epiphytic nature, the lipstick plant grows on other plants and derives moisture and nutrients from the air and rain. As such, it doesn’t need a deep root system. Additionally, its trailing growth habit and vibrant, lipstick-like flowers look stunning in a shallow hanging pot.
6. Marimo Moss Ball
Botanical Name: Aegagropila linnaei
These unique aquatic plants are not rooted in the soil at all. They grow slowly and absorb nutrients from the water around them. Shallow, open containers filled with water provide the Marimo Moss Ball with ample light and allow the water to be easily changed, keeping them healthy.
7. Baby’s Tears
Botanical Name: Soleirolia soleirolii
This delicate, ground-covering plant is loved for its tiny leaves and mat-forming growth habit. Baby’s Tears primarily spread outward rather than downward. Thus, it doesn’t need a deep pot for extensive root development. Its trailing nature also makes it an excellent Plant for Shallow Pots where it can cascade over the sides.
Botanical Name: Peperomia spp.
Peperomia plants have a shallow root system that allows them to efficiently take up water and nutrients from the top layer of soil. They’re compact and slow-growing, which means they don’t need a deep pot to flourish. Additionally, their leafy, often variegated foliage looks attractive in shallow containers.
9. Ponytail Palm
Botanical Name: Beaucarnea recurvata
Although the name suggests otherwise, Ponytail Palms are succulents, not true palms. They store water in their bulbous trunk base, which reduces the need for a deep, extensive root system. Shallow containers also prevent overwatering and root rot.
10. Spider Plant
Botanical Name: Chlorophytum comosum
Spider Plants are known for their arching leaves and baby plantlets or “spiderettes” that dangle from the mother plant. They have a compact root system that adapts well to shallow pots. Also, these plants are very forgiving, making them perfect forgetful gardeners.
11. Strawberry Begonia
Botanical Name: Saxifraga stolonifera
This plant spreads through runners, similar to strawberries, and forms a dense mat of leaves at the soil surface. Its shallow root system, attractive foliage, and delicate flowers make it a good choice for shallow pots or hanging baskets.
Botanical Name: Tillandsia spp.
Airplants are epiphytes that absorb water and nutrients through their leaves, not roots. This means they don’t need soil at all, and shallow containers provide a perfect display platform. In these, Tillandsias can be easily misted and ventilated, two of their primary care needs.
13. Venus Flytrap
Botanical Name: Dionaea muscipula
Known for its carnivorous nature, the Venus Flytrap has hinged leaves that snap shut when triggered by prey. These fascinating plants don’t need deep pots because they extract nutrients from insects rather than soil. Their root systems are shallow, preferring a wide surface area instead.
14. Wax Plant
Botanical Name: Hoya carnosa
Wax Plants, or Hoyas, are epiphytic climbers with a shallow root system. Their growth habit lends well to shallow containers, especially hanging ones. They prefer being somewhat root-bound, which is more manageable in a smaller, shallower pot.
Succulents for Shallow Pots
15. Aloe Vera
Botanical Name: Aloe barbadensis
Aloe Vera is a drought-tolerant plant that stores water in its fleshy leaves. Its shallow, spreading roots take up nutrients and moisture from the top inches of soil, which makes it suitable for shallow pots. Aloe also has a slower growth habit, so it won’t quickly outgrow a small pot.
16. Coral Cactus
Botanical Name: Euphorbia lactea ‘Cristata’
Despite its complex, coral-like appearance, the Coral Cactus has a shallow root system adapted to dry environments. It stores water in its thick, crested body, reducing the need for a lot of soil. It’s compact growth and unique form find the best display in shallow pots.
17. Jade Plant
Botanical Name: Crassula ovata
Jade Plants have a shallow root system and thick, fleshy leaves that store water, reducing the need for deep soil. They prefer a wide, shallow pot that allows their roots to spread while ensuring good drainage. This prevents root rot and other fungal diseases.
18. Orchid Cactus
Botanical Name: Epiphyllum
The Orchid Cactus is an epiphytic plant, naturally growing on trees in rainforests. This means it doesn’t require deep soil or extensive roots, making it the perfect Plant for Shallow Pots. It needs excellent drainage, which a shallow pot can provide, and its stunning, large flowers are a visual treat when grown in hanging containers.
19. String of Hearts
Botanical Name: Ceropegia woodii
This charming trailing plant, popular as the Rosary Vine, grows slender, cascading vines with heart-shaped leaves. It’s a semi-succulent plant, meaning it retains water within its leaves and has a shallow root system. Growing them in shallow pots also ensures the vines hang freely without the risk of overwatering.
20. Zebra Haworthia
Botanical Name: Haworthiopsis attenuata
This small succulent has fleshy, striped leaves and a shallow root system that makes it well-suited to shallow pots. Like other succulents, it stores water in its leaves, reducing the need for deep soil. Shallow pots also help with drainage and prevent overwatering.
21. Panda Plant
Botanical Name: Kalanchoe tomentosa
Panda Plants have a shallow root system and water-storing leaves, so they don’t require a lot of soil depth to thrive. A shallow pot can also help prevent overwatering by providing better drainage. The thick succulent leaves with furry edges add a unique texture to any container garden.
22. Pincushion Cactus
Botanical Name: Mammillaria spp.
Like most cacti, Pincushion Cactus has a relatively shallow and fibrous root system adapted to absorb moisture quickly. This makes it one of the Best Succulents for Shallow Pots with excellent drainage that ideally mimics their natural environment and prevents root rot.
23. Roseum Plant
Botanical Name: Eranthemum roseum
This succulent groundcover, also known as Two-row Stonecrop, forms a shallow, spreading root system, making it excellent for shallow containers. It’s a low-maintenance plant that can tolerate poor soil conditions and drought, making it perfect for busy gardeners.
24. Barrel Cacti
Botanical Name: Echinocactus grusonii
Barrel Cacti have a shallow root system designed to absorb water during rare desert rains efficiently. They store water in their thick bodies, meaning they don’t require a lot of soil. Shallow pots with good drainage mimic their natural arid environments, making the plants feel right at home.
25. Hen and Chicks
Botanical Name: Sempervivum tectorum
Hen and Chicks plants form rosettes and propagate by producing offsets or “chicks”, which root close to the soil surface. These are suitable Plants for Shallow Pots as they don’t need a lot of root space and prefer excellent drainage, as they are prone to rot in waterlogged conditions.
26. Living Stones
Botanical Name: Lithops
These unique succulents look like stones or little pebbles and have a taproot with smaller feeder roots that don’t require a lot of depth. Their need for fast-draining soil makes them suitable for shallow containers, which can help prevent overwatering.
Botanical Name: Blossfeldia spp.
The smallest cactus species in the world, Blossfeldia grows to only about half an inch in diameter. It has a shallow root system and grows naturally in rock crevices, which makes it an ideal candidate for shallow pots, especially rock gardens or mini succulent displays.
28. Echeveria Minima
Botanical Name: Echeveria minima
This tiny Echeveria species has a compact growth habit with shallow roots. It’s well-suited to shallow containers where it can spread out and form attractive rosettes. Like other succulents, it prefers fast-draining soil and infrequent watering, both of which are easier to manage in a shallow pot.
29. Little Warty’s
Botanical Name: Gasteria batesiana
Named for its textured, warty leaves, this Gasteria variety is a slow-growing, compact succulent with shallow roots. It is best for shallow containers, which help prevent water-logging. Its unusual foliage can add an interesting touch to a succulent display or windowsill garden.
Flowering Plants for Shallow Pots
Botanical Name: Petunia
Petunias have a fibrous, shallow root system, and they can thrive in containers as shallow as 6 inches. Petunias are a fantastic option for adding color to your shallow containers, as they provide a burst of color from spring until frost. Their cascading habit is also ideal for hanging baskets.
Botanical Name: Viola tricolor var. hortensis
Pansies have a compact root system, making them perfect Plants for Shallow Pots. These hardy flowers add a colorful display to containers and are ideal for adding a touch of color to your patio or windowsill.
Botanical Name: Lavandula
One of the Best Plants for Shallow Pots, Lavender has a relatively shallow, fibrous root system that spreads out horizontally. They do well in shallow pots with excellent drainage, as they dislike wet feet. The shallow pot also provides good air circulation to the roots, which is beneficial for these Mediterranean natives.
Vegetables and Herbs for Shallow Pots
Botanical Name: Origanum vulgare
Oregano, a popular culinary herb, has a sprawling growth habit and shallow root system. It can thrive in shallow pots, where it spreads out rather than grows deep roots. This also allows for the easy harvest of its aromatic leaves.
Botanical Name: Lactuca sativa
Lettuce has shallow roots, typically only extending 6 inches into the soil. This makes it an excellent Herb for Shallow Pots and even for container vegetable gardening. The quick maturity of lettuce also means it can be harvested before it outgrows a small pot.
Botanical Name: Spinacia oleracea
Spinach plants are ideal for shallow pots because they have a relatively short root system that spreads out within the top 6 inches of soil. Growing spinach in shallow containers allows for closely monitoring soil moisture levels and prevents deep root diseases.
Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum
With a shallow root system, basils thrive in 6 to 8 inches deep containers. Basil grows quite fast and needs regular harvesting, so it rarely gets the chance to become root-bound in a shallow pot. Additionally, the shallow pots make it perfect for growing on kitchen countertops or windowsills, adding to its functionality.
Botanical Name: Mentha
Mint is a hardy, vigorous plant with more horizontal growth than vertical, so it prefers width over depth. Growing mint in a shallow pot can help contain its growth and prevent it from becoming invasive. It’s also easier to harvest in small, shallow containers.
Botanical Name: Allium cepa
Onions have relatively shallow roots that extend about 2 to 6 inches down from the bulb, making them suitable for shallow pots. This allows for better care control, particularly for bulb development. Green onions or spring onions are the best Vegetables for Shallow Pots.