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Best Tools for Container Gardening

By: Garden Gate staff
Expert Karen Chapman shares her favorite container gardening tools to make growing beautiful containers even easier.

Karen Chapman with garden container: Professional garden designer, author and educator, Karen Chapman shares her favorite container gardening tools.

Why do I need tools and supplies for container gardening?

Whether you’re a gardener who’s short on space, has tricky growing situations, or if you just get a thrill out of flexing your creative muscles and growing gorgeous combinations of flowers and foliage, gardening in containers and planters is a convenient and slightly addicting way to exercise your green thumb.

Though container gardening is overall a simpler version of in-ground gardening, there is more to it than just filling a pot full of soil and plopping some plants in. Some basic tools and supplies can cut back even more on the time you spend tending to your containers, simplify maintenance tasks and elevate your container gardens from alright to astounding.

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Best tools for container gardening

Check out the video above and the list below to find the types of tools, gear, supplies and accessories you might want to add to your arsenal with specific recommendations included. Peruse the list and then make some room in your garden shed for a new tool (or two!) to make container gardening even easier this season!


Soil scoop

Stop using an old pot to fill your containers! A soil scoop will make filling pots with soil much easier, plus you can aim the soil around plants as you are planting so you'll be less likely to spill and waste potting mix.

Soil Scoops We Recommend:
Burpee Stainless Steel Soil Scoop
Feed Scoop
Stainless Steel Scoop
Forged Steel Scoop


Hand garden fork

A hand fork for the garden helps you dig into containers that might already have an established plant growing to make room for a new addition. But the best use for this tool is to tease tangled roots apart before planting so roots will begin to stretch out and grow in their new environment.

Hand Garden Forks We Recommend:
Hand Fork
Aluminum Hand Fork
Classic Hand Fork


Garden trowel

Ths classic garden trowel is a container gardener's essential tool—you can fill, plant and dig out soil at the end of the season with this versatile tool. Get one with a scoopier shape to fill pots, narrow and pointed shape to plant, especially in tight spaces, or a broad form for digging out old soil.

Trowels We Recommend:
Hand Trowel
Narrow Blade Hand Trowel
Potting Trowel
Heavy Duty Hand Trowel


Japanese Hori hori knife

Narrow and sharp, the perfect tool for sneaking a planting hole into an established container to add a seasonal plant is a Japanese hori hori, or soil knife. A soil knife sometimes comes with a serrated side, so you can shear overgrown roots, or cut into thick tangles when you are emptying pots at the end of the season.

Hori Hori Knives We Recommend:
HOKURU Hori Hori Knife
Hori Hori Garden Knife with Diamond Sharpening Rod and Sheath
AM Leonard Classic Soil Knife


Pruners & snips

A gardener is never without some sort of cutting tool. When planting containers, you might need to snip a stray or broken branch, deadhead spent blooms or prune a thick root.

Pruning Tools We Recommend:
Stainless Steel Floral Scissors
Fiskars Micro-tip Pruner
Felco Classic Hand Pruners


Pot feet/risers

It's a good idea to lift containers slightly off the ground so soil won't clog the drainage hole and the potting mix will drain excess water readily. It can also help to elevate pots setting on concrete or wood so drained water will dry and not stain or rot the surface. Pot feet or pot risers and be anything from small blocks of wood or plastic to a brick to decorative figurines to give your containers a lift.

Pot Feet & Risers We Recommend:
Pot Risers
Pot Toes
Ceramic Pot Feet
Decorative Cat Pot Feet


Garden gloves

Protect your hands while planting containers with a good pair of gardening gloves. Keep hands from getting too muddy, and for for easy cleanup when your creations are ready to set in the garden.

Garden gloves We Recommend:
Pine Tree Tools Bamboo Gloves
Latex Gardening Gloves
Carhartt Padded Garden Gloves
Women's Patterned Gardening Gloves


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Want to learn more about container gardening?

Learn how to design containers in six unique styles in our exclusive class, Container Gardening to Suit Your Style taught by professional garden designer, author and educator, Karen Chapman. You won’t want to miss the tips in her online video course, lists of plant recommendations and exclusive container recipes.

Published: March 6, 2018
Updated: May 11, 2021
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Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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