Hanging your herb garden opens a new world of space and design. Many of us have porches that need just a little bit of bling, and a basket of fragrant, flowering herbs is just the thing.
Hanging baskets also add privacy to your porch if they are strategically placed and planted with flowing type herbs. There are some tips to be certain your herb hanging baskets stay lovely all season long.
Choose A Sturdy Container
Hanging planters are heavy. Choose a vessel that will hold up to tremendous weight, constant moisture, winds, and movement. You will want to take the hanging basket down for maintenance, pruning, and health checks. All of this handling can break a lesser quality container to pieces.
It's All About Location
Think about it; the location of your hanging basket may seem ideal as you visualize it gently swaying off the edge of your deck, but you will need to keep it accessible at all times. Even the best planted herbal baskets need constant monitoring and watering. Always place them where you can comfortably reach them regularly. Using a hook with a retractable cord on it, will make pulling down and raising the baskets a snap.
Don't forget that a fully potted and watered hanging basket is HEAVY! Your hooks need to be strong and attached firmly to avoid any injuries. Finally, as you water, your hanging basket will drip. Take a moment to consider where that water will be going. Is it pooling on a deck, or falling onto a parked vehicle? Just something to think about.
When you think 'hanging basket', you probably think 'sunny location'. This is not always the case. Many herbs that grow very well with little sun. This is a blessing for those of us with corner areas that seem to stay shaded, no matter what time of day. When you are designing herbal hanging baskets, don't forget these often overlooked areas, and pot up something that will thrive!
You can also rotate your hanging baskets between sunny and shady locations, without hurting the herbs. I prefer a three-day rotation, moving things front and back, just in time to keep the foliage and blooms luscious. To be honest, I think it reduces the stress on the baskets, to not always be in the scorching heat every day,
Don't Neglect Your Hanging Herb Gardens
Once they are potted and hanging in plain view, it is easy to forget that your baskets need extra care. They are exposed on all sides to airflow, meaning that evaporation is at its highest level. They are often out in the full sunlight, requiring more watering than even a container pot on the same porch. Check your hanging baskets first thing in the morning and last thing at night for watering needs.
Unless you have your hanging baskets on a pole, they are only getting sunlight on one side at a time. Rotate your baskets every few days, to keep all sides looking their best. I find that the three-day rule also applies here.
Don't forget to prune! Your herbs may be the showcase element for your porch, but they are still available for you to enjoy as well. Pruning and using your herbs will keep them from becoming leggy and thin looking. It may sound strange, but to keep your baskets looking lush and full, trim them back regularly.
The Best Herbs for Hanging Baskets
Any herb can be grown in a hanging basket. When planting any type of container herb garden, a mixture of herbs will add a range of color, texture, and size to your hanging basket. Choose herbs that have similar sun and watering requirements so they are compatible.
You can choose your favorites or create baskets with a theme:
- Flavored teas: spearmint, peppermint, chamomile
- Italian dinner: basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme
- Relaxing spa: sage, lavender, chamomile
Use upright herbs like winter savory or sage in the center of the basket and creeping thyme, prostrate rosemary, or prostrate sage to cascade over the sides of the hanging basket to achieve the “thriller, filler, and spiller” planting pattern for a container garden.