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How To Get The Best Hanging Basket Herb Garden

Whether you have a large garden or just a small outside space, a hanging basket can be great for growing herbs in.

Herbs To Plant In A Hanging Basket

I have popped a list of herbs together that essentially work well in any pot or container, however we now need to group them further. You will want herbs that like the same level of sunlight hours and watering to live together.

  1. prostrate rosemary normal rosemary will grow to be very tall indeed and should be ruled out immediately!
  2. basil is a good herb for hanging baskets, however it is thirsty so make sure to hang the basket in a location that you can water twice daily if needed.
  3. mint comes in so many different varieties so you can theme it into a tasty herbal tea hanging basket! You will find that mint is a perfect herb for any pot or container as it is otherwise so invasive.
  4. lemon balm is a real survivor and will thrive in pots. Also great to add to herbal teas and other dishes calling for a zingy citrus edge.
  5. creeping thyme is a perennial that will grow to trail from the hanging basket, great for foliage but produces lovely little flowers for a long period in the Summer.
  6. prostrate sage is a tricky one to grow as it will not outgrow the hanging basket, but may need a little bit of overwintering. Not too difficult to bring inside or to a spot which is slightly more sheltered from heavy rains.
  7. parsley is a great biennial and will grow to fill gaps in your hanging baskets. Plant around 4-6 inches apart in the first instance and watch them fill the spaces.
  8. Nasturtium are fantastic for a truly cascading herb hanging basket! They are very easy to grow and will reward you with great foliage as well as vibrant bursts of color!
  9. oregano is great for the hanging basket equivalent of ground cover. It will give a little bit of height whilst also plumping up to fill the space. Perfect for a central herb for your basket to then be filled with other more cascading herbs.
  10. lavender is a perfect central herb for your hanging basket. It will bush up to become the attraction for bees and pollinators alike. Needing little water but a good prune back at the end of the flowering season, lavender can be an unusual inclusion in any hanging basket, but at the right height very fragrant and pleasant.
  11. calendula is sort of the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to hanging baskets. It will tolerate extremes of heat or cold and even live through a light frost to flower again. It will self seed if left to it’s own devices so do remember to dead head throughout the year!
  12. violas are the autumnal color we all need! The wide range of colors available and their edible quality make them essential to any garden, hanging or otherwise.
  13. Golden marjoram is perfect for its creeping nature and gorgeous golden color. Very much a talking point for your hanging baskets as the beautiful color will contrast well with other foliage and flowers alike.
Planning the plants for an edible hanging herb basket garden
plants for an edible hanging herb basket

11 Top Tips For An Edible Hanging Basket

These are lessons learned over the years so we wanted to share our best cures to common mistakes!

  1. Do not mix edible herbs with ornamental plants in your hanging basket. This will stop the inadvertent harvesting of unpleasant tasting leaves and flowers!
  2. Plan the herbs in your basket to need the same amount of sunlight hours and watering habits
  3. Make sure to use a good quality peat-free compost. One with some slow release fertilizer is great, but here we have chosen herbs that don’t require too much from their soil, other than great drainage. So go for those herbs that grow in parts of the world with poor to average soil quality.
  4. Think about the year as a whole. The example we have shown is for Early Summer color from the lavender and thyme all the way to early Fall color with the calendula and violas. This is easy to achieve with herbs, but you can also see the thyme and golden marjoram provide color and interest all year round as they are perennials.
calendula will make a great addition to a herb hanging basket
Calendula is a great flower to have for such a long period in the UK, so why not pop some in your hanging baskets
  1. Consider pruning. Lavender will offer up a second bloom if you cut back the initial flowers early on and dry them. The hanging basket needs to be accessible for this to happen with any degree of success. Dead heading in general is always a good idea for optimum plant health, but just a little bit harder in baskets.
  2. Hanging Baskets will not be prone to slug and snail infestations so no need to use any of those great organic treatments for these pests. But don’t forget to check for other nasties. By growing herbs you have some that are very prone to disease and pests and others like lavender and mint that can pretty much hold their own.
  3. Consider a mulch of sorts in hotter and colder months. Your herb hanging baskets will dry out really quickly in hot months and the mulch will help to retain water throughout the day. Something like comfrey leaves will be great.
  4. I have chosen marjoram, thyme and lavender to bloom in the Summer months, all of which are pretty drought tolerant, however you may well still need to keep an eye and water regularly during hot, windy Summer days.
  5. This may sound silly, but go for herbs that you like to eat. We grow a wide variety of mints, thymes and lavender, but only regularly eat with a few flavors. But with a herbal hanging basket you can group them together. So for instance an Italian seasoning inspired hanging basket would consist of oregano, marjoram, thyme and rosemary. All of which love the same growing conditions and taste great when eaten together!
  6. The larger the hanging basket the better! Ideally 16″ (40cm) with coconut liner like these ones is the smallest you would like to go. The more soil you can put in the more moisture and nutrition the herb plants will be able to make use of.
  7. Leave space for your herbs to fill. When planting out hanging baskets the temptation is to over fill them to get instant rewards in terms of color and aroma. With herbs you can give them a little more room to grow and still have the seasonal display that we all love.
Oregano grows well in hanging baskets

How To Put Your Hanging Baskets Together

  1. You will need a couple of 16″ (40cm) with coconut liner that you can buy via Amazon here and some peat free compost mixed in with some grit for drainage. To the basket add a liner of plastic with plenty of drainage holes pushed through.
  2. Soak your coconut matting to ensure that it does not dry out as easily in warmer months.
  3. We also then use a handful of organic chicken manure which you can buy from Westlands, but we are very lucky to have our own hens to provide this. Mix it with your compost and then fill the hanging baskets until there is space for each of your plugs or plants to fit in.
  4. Start from the center plant out your main plant. Be it a lavender or taller oregano, or even a dwarf curry plant if you really like the scent! My advice would be to hold back on strong aromas that are a bit or a love or loathe scent. hanging baskets are great by the front door for all visitors to enjoy, but perhaps not great if it does smell too pungent.
  5. Fill a layer of compost mixture in and then push in your plugs and smaller plants. keeping a distance of around 3inches from each plant. This will give the plugs a chance to mature and fill the spaces as they need to.
  6. Water well and allow the excess to drain before watering again. You don’t want a soggy hanging basket as the roots will rot, but your herbs will appreciate a water whenever the top of the soil is dry to the touch.
  7. Hang your herb hanging basket by the back door to give you inspiration for cooking or the front door to allow guests to smell the wonderful aroma’s.

What Next?

I believe that you can get a lot out of a hanging basket and certainly more than just some pretty flowers. Herbs offer both lovely foliage and wonderful flowers so there is no need to compromise there, but you will also get gorgeous, tasty leaves and flowers. Why not get planting today? We have all the advice you will need, built up from years or experience and dare I say it the occasional mistake along the way too!

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