Homegrown herbs are becoming more and more essential for health, healing, and culinary purposes. Even if you don’t have space for a garden, you can grow countless beautiful, sweet-smelling plant to use! For tiny spaces like apartments, rented rooms, or tightly placed urban houses, try growing a hanging herb garden.
Benefits of a Hanging Herb Garden
There’s nothing better than the scent of live herbs tumbling down from baskets or planters above your head. Furthermore, homegrown herbs are fresher than anything you can buy, and you can grow whatever you need.
Herbalists today are reeling from news that the FDA may limit the buying and selling of herbal compounds. This means that with increased government oversight, your favorite herbal remedies may be harder to come by in a couple years. As a result, now is the time to create your own herbal garden.
That said, few people can devote acres to homegrown herbs. Most of us are limited by space, time, and money.
Well, I can’t give you more time or money, but I can help you learn how to maximize your space! A successful hanging herb garden will help you grow some of your favorite and most used herbs. No matter how tight your living space is, you can add a few hanging plants in and around it.
A hanging herb garden will scent the air around you. Even moreso than a ground-level garden, a hanging herb garden perfumes the air with each plant’s essential oils. Since most will hang up above nose-level, your hanging plants will add their aroma to every inch of your home or patio.
Plants clean the air. If you’re growing a hanging herb garden indoors, the air-purifying aspects of your suspended herb friends will be even more noticeable. But even outdoors, on your patio or balcony, your hanging garden will cleanse the air and help you breathe fresher, cleaner air each day.
Herbs are lovely little plants, and can cheer us up with their very presence. Adding a pot of trailing thyme or a golden burst of calendula to your home will soften and freshen the atmosphere. After all, some people grow herbs solely for the beauty they bring to the areas around them. Herbs are cozy, low-maintenance beautifiers.
There are so many ways to create a hanging herb garden. Every gardener has a unique style, and your garden should reflect that individuality. To get started, first decide with herbs you’d like to grow, and what you’d like to grow them in.
Let’s take a closer look at both of these decisions.
How are you going to be using the herbs in your hanging garden? Whether you’re growing healing or culinary herbs, you’ll want to choose plants that you know you’ll use. Start with three or four plants, establish them in your hanging garden, and then look around. You may have room for a few more, or you may not. It’s best to start with a manageable number and build up your garden, rather than starting with 12 pots and getting overwhelmed.
I can’t tell you what herbs to start with. But I can tell you which ones I’d pick: lemon balm, thyme, oregano, and calendula.
My little house herbs live in old tomato cans: you know, the big, 28oz cans. I often punch a few little holes in the bottom to give the herbs healthy drainage. I also punch a couple holes at the top, loop in some twine, and hang them from the rafters of my house.
These tin-can pots are easy to use, lightweight, and very accessible. They also have a sweet, rustic charm—I hope! But there are so many options that you can use as growing containers. From mason jars to baskets, if you find an item that would make a great hanging plant home, go for it!
It’s best to pick hanging pots that aren’t too heavy on their own. Once you fill them with soil, water, and a thriving herb, they’ll get even heavier. You can also pick out the location for your hanging garden as you choose your pots. Will they be indoors or outdoors? Suspended over living room carpet, or out along the eaves? Start with a solid idea of where you’ll be hanging this little herb garden.
Now that you’ve picked out herbs and pots, it’s time to get started.
Use a good quality potting mix. Potting mixes are light weight and nutrient dense. Regular garden soil is too heavy for hanging pots. You’ll have to water your plants regularly, so make sure watering won’t make your little pots overweight.
Plant mature herbs or strong seedlings in the containers you’ve prepared. Seeds need more time and attention, so start you seeds on a countertop or window sill a few weeks before hanging them up.
Pop those pretty herbs into their pots and give them a good drenching. I like to let them sit and drink up all that water for a while before hanging them up.
Hooks, String, and Wires
What you use to hang your pots depends on how heavy those pots are. My little tin can hanging garden needs a length of twine, but a full terra cotta planter may need rope or wire to hang securely. There are so many hanging options, so pick one that fits your needs best.
Anything from linked chains to baling twine is an option, as long as the hanging material is strong and sturdy.
If you have a lot of overhead space, you can suspend an entire shelf and fill it with herbs. I’ve done this in my house and it’s a great way to grow a lot of herbs all together. Just keep in mind that a suspended shelf will need very strong rope or wire to support all the plants you fill it with.
Hang it underneath a sunroof, if you have one, or in a bright area of the house. Alternatively, you can suspend it from an open-air patio. A hanging shelf garden is a safe place for planters that may be too wide or unbalanced to hang on their own.
Making It Your Own
There are a million ways to make your hanging herb garden truly your own. From the variety of herbs you grow to the way you grow them—your garden doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.
Let me give you just a few ideas:
Mini Hanging Herbs
If you only have a tiny bit of space, tuck a few little herb jars in an upper corner. Try filling baby food jars a fourth of the way up with pebbles, then high-quality potting soil, then plant a shallow-rooted herb like thyme in the jar. Hang it with strong-but-supple jewelry wire and enjoy your gorgeous little herbs.
This option is ideal in sunny bathrooms. Hot shower stream will open up the plant’s essential oils and fill your room with scent.
Hanging Wall Gardens
Attaching the hanging planters to a sturdy wall is a great way to build a hanging herb garden. Whether you attach the planters to a repurposed pallet or use a sheet of plywood to structure your garden, the end result can be gorgeous.
This kind of wall garden is a fantastic choice if you plan on growing small amounts of many different herbs. Make a pretty medicinal wall, or a living spice rack in your kitchen!
I know, it’s not 1970, but macramé didn’t die out with hippie culture! If you’re stuck on memories of some of your mother’s macramé projects, don’t worry: macramé doesn’t have to look dated. It can be a beautiful, earthy way of hanging herbs securely.
I love macramé. Not those dark brown ropes tied together with big orange and beige medallions (ok, I actually like those too). But I really love the neo-hippie macramé items that crafty millennials are weaving up with slender cords and fancy knots. Try making your home a hanging herbal retreat with this handicraft.
Kitchen Window Pots
Instead of hanging little half curtains on your kitchen window, you can hang potted herbs. Your plants will get plenty of bright sunlight and you’ll get a space-saving herb garden to enjoy all year long.
Just think about it: you could hang a little herb garden on every sunny window in your house. South-facing windows are the best for this project because they get the most light. If you have windows that only get indirect light, aim for herbs that thrive in shady spots instead.
You Get the Idea…
Don’t limit yourself by my imagination—just go for it! Your hanging herb garden is going to be beautiful. Whether you’re growing four herbs or 40 of them; whether you have two feet of yard to call your own, or 200 acres. A hanging herb garden can tuck a lot of plants into a tiny area, which means you can infuse the space around you with unparalleled scent and beauty.