How to Plant Up an Edible Hanging Basket

, written by Benedict Vanheems gb flag

Hanging basket tomatoes

Not everyone has the space for a full-blown vegetable garden, but hanging baskets offer a great space-saving way to grow many fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, strawberries and all manner of leafy herbs and salads. Suspended from rafters, walls or framing the front door, they provide ample opportunity to make the very best of the space you have.

Best Hanging Basket Plants

You can grow a surprising variety of crops in hanging baskets. Cherry tomatoes and strawberries are my favorites. Growing salad leaves in this way lifts them up out of reach of hungry slugs. Chili peppers, leafy herbs, spinach, bush beans – even cucumbers are suitable candidates for basket growing and can make for a highly attractive display. And, of course, don’t forget a basket (or two) packed with flowering annuals to pull in the pollinators.

Hanging baskets full of flowers

With our Garden Planner it’s easy to add hanging baskets to your garden plan. Simply click on the selection bar drop-down menu and choose Garden Objects from the list. Select a basket and place it where you want it. Once you’ve adjusted the dimensions using the corner ‘handles’, click on the selection bar drop-down menu again and select All Plants. Select the plant you wish to grow in your basket and drop it into position on your plan. You can even change the spacings between plants (as shown in the Adding Plants and Varieties video) so you can pack more crops into your basket.

How to Plant a Hanging Basket

Hanging baskets can dry out quicker than other containers because they’re more exposed to the wind and sun, so it’s best to use a basket that’s at least 14in (35cm) in diameter. This will hold at least a gallon of potting soil, which means it will be slower to dry out, but it will be very heavy so make sure that your hanging basket’s chains – and the support you’re suspending it from – is strong enough.

A 14-inch (35cm) basket will hold three strawberry plants; two cherry tomatoes plus French marigolds or basil as companion plants; two to three peppers; or up to five leafy herbs. Or sow cut-and-come-again salad seeds over the surface, then cover with a thin layer of potting soil. They will grow on to give a luscious, edible display.

Making a liner for a hanging basket

Wire baskets need a liner. An old potting soil bag is free and very easy to use. Place the basket into a bucket that’s slightly smaller than the basket to stop it rocking about.

Open the potting soil bag out then cut it to size, erring on the generous size just in case. Line the basket so that the black inner face is facing out, then pierce some holes into the liner for drainage. Don’t pierce the bottom of the liner – it will collect water, effectively acting as a handy reservoir. Alternatively you could pop a pot saucer into the bottom.

Now for the potting soil. Use a quality multipurpose potting soil, mixed with a handful of slow-release fertilizer. You could also mix in a couple of handfuls of well-rotted leafmold to improve water retention. Start filling your basket with the potting soil mix, stopping just shy of the top.

Planting up a hanging basket

Remove the plants from their pots, gently tease apart the outside roots then space them out equally in the basket. Fill in around rootballs, firming in the potting soil with your fingertips as you go. The final level of the potting soil should be an inch (2.5cm) below the rim of the basket.

Trim off any excess liner then hang the basket up and give it a thorough watering. Most crops will prefer a sunny position, while leafy salads and herbs will be fine in a part-shaded location.

Looking After Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are completely reliant on you for enough moisture, so water your baskets as soon as they start to dry out. This may be as frequently as twice a day in hot weather. Alternatively set up a drip-irrigation system. When the slow-release fertilizer is exhausted begin watering on a liquid feed, once a week.

Watering a hanging basket

Pick your produce regularly. For fruiting plants such as tomatoes this stimulates more fruits, while leafy salads and herbs such as basil and mint will respond by growing lots more leaves.

Hanging baskets are a fantastic addition to the garden and help to bring your fruits, vegetables and herbs up off the ground to eye level where you can really marvel at their abundance. Have you grown crops in hanging baskets? If you have, we’d love to know what you grew – and hear any savvy tips you might have too.

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Show Comments


"Last year I didn't have good luck with my tomatoes. Is there a good way to grow tomatoes indoors?"
Marcia Elliott on Saturday 20 April 2019
"If you mean growing tomatoes in a greenhouse or plant house, then there are many ways to grow them. Large containers are always a good start, especially for bush-type tomatoes. You might also be able to find growbags/growing bags to plant into. If you mean growing tomatoes inside the house, you could try hanging basket varieties, planted into good-sized containers in as bright and sunny a position as you can find."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 22 April 2019

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