Are you looking for the perfect gardening tools to make your container garden thrive? Look no further! I’ve compiled a list of the most essential tools you need to grow the container garden of your dreams. From watering cans and trowels to gloves and shears, everything I recommend here is practical and affordable.
I also only recommend tools I personally use and consider essentials! I’ve scoured product listings and reviews to help you find the best, highest-rated, most affordable tools to get you started … or to round out your garden tool collection.
Container gardening is a simpler endeavor than managing a big in-ground garden, and you don’t need as many tools to get the job done.
You DEFINITELY don’t need anything fancy. But a few great tools will make it easier and more productive to work in your container garden throughout the seasons.
I’m also including recommendations for a few essential materials to make the most of your container gardening, such as trellises and twine.
Whether you’re a beginner or an expert gardener, these tools will help you grow amazing things to eat … even in small spaces.
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One of the most essential tools for a container gardener is a watering can.
If your container garden isn’t close to a spigot for a hose, you’ll need something to help schlep the water and keep those plants hydrated! If you do have a spigot nearby, a watering can will just make it that much easier to water delicate plants, seedlings and transplants.
Underwatering is one of the top killers of garden plants everywhere … don’t let yours fall victim. Have a good watering can on hand right from the start.
In general, 1-2.5 gallon watering cans are easiest to carry. I wouldn’t go any smaller than that, or you’ll be making lots of trips to the faucet.
In terms of the spout, you can get watering cans with long necks and simple openings, or shorter necks with shower heads.
I personally like the shower or sprinkler head style best, as it allows for full coverage of the potting soil. It also makes foliar watering and feeding super easy.
But if you prefer watering more slowly or from the saucer (rather than the top of the potting soil), a regular spout might work better.
Recommended watering cans
A trowel is another must-have for any container gardener. It’s the perfect tool for planting seedlings and transplanting plants into your containers.
I use mine constantly in the spring and early summer planting season … so much that I usually have two in the garage, one out on the back deck, and another one in a gardening bag by the back door. You never know when you’ll need a good trowel!
Once the growing season is underway, I use them for the occasional repotting or planting late-summer and fall veggies like lettuce, kale, carrots and peas.
It’s also a handy way to work with loose soil in pots or containers that need it. When choosing one, look for something lightweight but sturdy.
Recommended garden tool set
Sometimes you just need a trowel and some shears … and sometimes you want the whole shebang. For the cost of 2-3 tools, you can have a full set and an awesome garden bag for storing everything.
I have this set and absolutely love it. The shears are super sharp, the trowel is a great size, and I’ve used the hand rake and transplanter more than I expected. It even comes with gloves. And I keep all of it (cleaned and dried) in the bag all season. So easy to keep it all organized and portable.
This would make a great gift, just saying … 🙂
- Best garden tool set: WORKPRO 7-piece garden tool set, heavy duty stainless steel
Recommended gardening trowels
Whether you’re a novice or an expert gardener, gloves are essential to protect your hands from dirt, bugs and disease that may be lurking in the soil.
Gloves will also help with transplanting plants when they need it. Garden gloves are really good for beginners because they’ll protect your hands while you learn the ropes.
Gloves are a great way to protect your hands while you work. They’re an absolute must-have if you’re growing veggies with any kind of prickly parts like okra or cucurbits (pumpkins, cucumbers, melons).
Trust me … you don’t want to grab a pumpkin vine bare-handed if you can help it.
They come in all sorts of materials so it’s easy to find something that will suit the gardening tasks you’ll be most likely to do, whether that’s planting small plants, dealing with pests or trimming dead material.
A thick, sturdy, suede and leather glove will stand up to thorns and things better than thin cotton gloves, for example.
On the other hand (see what I did there!), thinner gloves are better for tasks that require some dexterity.
And if you’re mainly tending to herbs, cotton gloves are just fine. It’s up to you!
Recommended gardening gloves
Best heavy duty gardening gloves: Magid thorn-resistant gardening gloves with forearm protection
Pruning those smaller plants usually works just fine with scissors, but anything bigger will do better with shears. They don’t have to be expensive — and it’s worth the investment.
Shears make quick work of trimming dead plant material from your container garden, as well as shaping or thinning out plants that need some mid-season love.
Recommended gardening shears
Garden scissors are the little sibling of garden shears: smaller but still mighty. They truly are essential to any container garden where you’re growing herbs and veggies.
Scissors can also get into tighter spaces than shears can, in some instances.
Now if you come across heavy duty garden scissors, you’ll see they’re not much different than shears. There is definitely overlap. Personally, I think it’s helpful to have both!
I use my scissors all the time for pruning smaller dead leaves and vines, harvesting herbs, trimming stake ties, etc. They’re affordable, and they really are essential.
Recommended garden scissors
Helpful gardening materials
Tools are essential to managing any garden. So are supplies and materials!
While you really can get away with container gardening with just the basics, some supplies are so helpful it’s worth the small additional investment.
Twine or string can be used for all sorts of things in a container garden, from tying together plants for support to securing pots so they don’t topple over.
If you grow celery, you’ll need twine when it’s time to blanch them.
Twine is also an excellent way to create support structures f you want something taller than your plants.
This year I used thick jute twine to create a trellis of sorts for my Jack-Be-Little pumpkin vines to climb. I tied it from a metal tomato cage up to the top of my downstairs patio retaining wall. Worked like a charm!
Since string and twine come in handy in a million ways around the house, it doesn’t hurt to stock up at the start of each season.
Recommended garden string and twine
- Best multi-purpose: Green coated twist tie plant ties (328 feet with cutter)
Plant supports – stakes and trellises
A trellis or other support has so many important uses in your container garden. If you’re growing any kind of vining vegetable, like cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini or peas, you’ll need trellises to keep them growing strong in tight spaces!
Good trellises have many benefits:
- Give the vines somewhere to go – even bush varieties can sprawl without support
- Keep vines and fruit out of the dirt
- Help keep pests like cucumber beetles away from the plants
- Give the fruit space and air flow to grow evenly
- Make it easier to keep an eye on fruit development so you can harvest as soon as they’re ready
Stakes are great because they can be adjusted to fit your needs and come in a range of materials, including metal stakes and wood stakes, which will eventually make good compost fodder.
With a container garden, you don’t need a fancy trellis or any special technique. Really anything the vines can climb will do!
Important: Make sure you set up the trellis or other support as soon as you have well-established seedlings. You’ll want the plant to have somewhere to go by the time it flowers, without bending or stressing the main stem. Adding stakes later can also cause root damage.
- Best tall trellises for climbing veggies: K-Brands 72″ Plant Stakes and Support (these are my favorite EVER and I have four up in my garden right now)
- Best top-rated stakes: 48″ sturdy tomato plant stakes/support