How to Grow Fruits and Vegetables in Hanging Baskets

Hanging Basket With Herbs Against Painted Blue Background

Linda Burgess / Photolibrary / Getty Images 

While hanging baskets are often used by people in apartments or small spaces for growing flowers like petunias, peonies or other flowers that grow from a seed, they have many other uses as well. If you've always wanted to start your own fruit or vegetable garden but are limited in space, a hanging-basket garden can be a great solution. It's a budget-friendly alternative that lets you grow food right on your porch or balcony.

What Foods Can Grow in Hanging Baskets

Lots of different foods thrive in hanging baskets. Tomatoes are very popular, and there are even varieties that were created just for this purpose. For instance, the Tumbler F1 is a type of tomato that does well in baskets and small containers. 

Strawberries thrive well in hanging baskets, as well, and do exceptionally well in partially shaded areas. Herbs are very popular plants for baskets and limited spaces; rosemary, thyme, and mint look tidy and neat in containers and can add delicious flavors to your normal dishes. 

Tips for Growing a Successful Hanging Basket Garden

Preparing a basket for fruits and vegetables is not very different than preparing it for flowers. Use a basket or container with good drainage and use a good planter liner to protect the soil and roots. Use a light-weight potting mix (not garden soil) to minimize the weight of your baskets. 

  • Choose the Right Size Hanging Basket: If you want to grow full-size plants with heavy fruits/vegetables and a deep root system, use a five-gallon bucket as your hanging basket. Just fill it with potting mix, and drill holes in the sides and bottom of the bucket for your plants.
  • Whenever Possible, Choose Compact or Dwarf Plant Varieties: They will thrive better than regular plants. Be careful not to overcrowd plants. You can plant several strawberry, lettuce or herb plants in a hanging basket, but stick to one plant per basket for heavy feeders like tomatoes and peppers. And be sure to feed your plants regularly, since they'll deplete soil nutrients faster than they would if they were planted in your garden. Eggshells will keep calcium-loving plants like tomatoes from developing end rot. You can also attempt to spruce up some homemade fertilizers to keep your vegetables strong and healthy.
  • Water the Plants Frequently: Potted plants dry out faster than those planted in the ground and may need to be watered several times a day. If you think you'll forget, set up a mini self-watering irrigation system to water all of your hanging baskets for you. This will also make it easy to keep your plants watered when you're on vacation. You can buy a hanging basket irrigation system on Amazon.
  • Add a Layer of Mulch to Help Retain Moisture Between Waterings: Lining your baskets with heavy plastic will also help to keep the soil moist longer. Just be sure to include a few holes for drainage.

With some planning and preparation, you can enjoy fresh-grown fruits and vegetables right in your own home, without needing a lot of space.