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How to Grow and Cultivate a Hanging Garden

Updated on June 1, 2014

Hanging Gardens Should Never Be Boring

Swiss chard can be a perfect vegetable choice for a hanging garden
Swiss chard can be a perfect vegetable choice for a hanging garden | Source

How to Grow a Hanging Garden

Hanging gardens can be the perfect way to show off your flowers and plants. Vertical and hanging gardens are becoming more and more popular as we live in increasingly crowded urban areas. A hanging garden can be just as versatile as your average garden, and there are many ways in which to cultivate and grow a hanging garden.

Grow a Salad in Your Hanging Basket

Salad vegetables such as lettuce, radishes and cherry tomatoes are also great for hanging baskets.
Salad vegetables such as lettuce, radishes and cherry tomatoes are also great for hanging baskets. | Source

Make Your Hanging Garden a Food Source

One way to look at your hanging garden is as a food source. Fresh fruits and vegetables are vital to good health, but in cities more often than not food is transported in from commercial producers. This means that fruits and vegetables are often less fresh and lower in nutrients than their locally or home produced equivalent. growing fruit and vegetables in your own hanging garden is an excellent alternative to supermarket fruits and vegetables. The trick is to know how to cultivate your hanging garden.

The most important fact to bear in mind is which fruits and vegetables are suitable for a hanging garden. There are now some excellent varieties of vegetables that are happy to grow in hanging baskets. New hybrids of tomatoes and peppers seem to do well in hanging baskets, and with very little care they produce in abundance. If you are more interested in growing fruits, or adding fruits to your garden, take a look at strawberries and blue berries. Herbs are another versatile plant to add to your hanging garden. Many creeping herbs such as rosemary do very well in hanging baskets.

Hanging baskets make a nice colorful addition to any garden.
Hanging baskets make a nice colorful addition to any garden. | Source

Let Your Garden Feed You

Would you be prepared to spend time and effort on growing your own fruit and vegetables?

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Hanging Pouches

Hanging baskets are probably the easiest way to grow fruits and vegetables but there are alternatives such as pouches. For hygiene reasons you should not put your plants too close together. Having some space between each basket, or pouch, allows for the circulation of air which helps to keep your garden healthy. Watering is a concern when it comes to cultivating hanging gardens. However, there are now special systems which will allow you to lower the baskets for watering. Alternatively you can put a drip feed system in place but do remember fruits, vegetables and herbs must be harvested as well.

Plant suggestions for fruit and vegetable hanging blankets

Cherry tomatoes

Blueberries

Strawberries

Peppers

Smaller Cucumber Hybrids

Peas

Beans

Lettuce

Swiss Chard

Spinach

Curly Kale

Radishes

Zucchini

Rhubarb

How to Plant Up a Hanging Basket with Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Zucchini in a hanging basketBasket LinerTerracotta chardsAdd compostTwo more terracotta chardsHealthy root ballWork from the middle outwards
Zucchini in a hanging basket
Zucchini in a hanging basket | Source
Basket Liner
Basket Liner | Source
Terracotta chards
Terracotta chards | Source
Add compost
Add compost | Source
Two more terracotta chards
Two more terracotta chards | Source
Healthy root ball
Healthy root ball | Source
Work from the middle outwards
Work from the middle outwards | Source

How to Plant Up Your Hanging Basket

  • Start by lining your hanging basket with plastic material or moss.
  • Place two broken unglazed terracotta chards in the bottom
  • Cover terracotta chards with compost
  • Place two more terracotta chards in the basket and cover with compost
  • Work from the middle outwards ( This is a zucchini plant so I am only placing one plant in the middle of the hanging basket
  • Cover with compost, water and hung up your basket

Top tip: Make sure the roots are well developed so the plant is off to a good start.

Easy to Start With Plants for Hanging Basket

General
Vegetable
More Experience
Geranium
Tomato
Yasmine
Lobelia
Beans
Orchids
Pansy
Rhubarb
Pitcher Plants

Grow a Climbing or Trellis Plant in a Hanging Basket

Sweet peas thrive in a hanging basket.
Sweet peas thrive in a hanging basket. | Source

Best Climbers for Hanging Baskets

Clematis

Climbing Roses

Bougainvillea

Honeysuckle

Sweet peas

Ivy

Yasmine

Climbers Love Hanging Baskets



If you are not keen on growing fruits and vegetables there are some excellent alternatives. Some of the traditional climbers such as honeysuckle and bougainvillea are also perfectly at home in hanging baskets. Of course, you can grow and cultivate the traditional hanging basket plants such as geraniums but why not be a bit more experimental.

Most climbers suitable for hanging baskets can easily be found in garden centres or nurseries and are also very easy to look after. They do require quite a bit of water but using easy tricks for water retention will make the job easier.

If you do want to experiment with climbers in your hanging baskets, it is always best to plant just one type.


Orchids and Carnivorous Plants in Hanging Baskets

Tropical Plants in Hanging Baskets

If you live in a warmer climate but would still like to cultivate a hanging garden, you should take a serious look at some of the tropical plants. There are some plants which naturally grow in trees, and just love swapping their trees for a hanging garden.

Plants species such as Bromelias and orchids are just as much at home in hanging baskets as they are in trees. If you are fortunate enough to live in a warmer climate you can also add air plants and carnivorous plants to your display. Carnivorous pitcher plants especially like hanging baskets, and are also an excellent form of pest control. The species Nepenthes do particularly well when grown in hanging baskets.

Other tropical plants will love hanging baskets are orchids and Bromelias. Both orchids and Bromelias grow in the tree canopy and often anchor themselves to a tree with the help of composted leaf material and moss.

Best Soil for Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets only contain a small amount of soil so it is very important to invest in a good quality soil or compost. There are many different types available and some even contain water retaining granules. One of the best choices is always an organic soil or compost.

If you can’t find water retaining granules, use broken bits of unglazed terracotta pots and they will help to retain moisture. Not only do unglazed terracotta helped to retain water but it also gives support for the root system as roots will “grip” the terracotta.

Ho to Increase Water Retention

Water retention is very important. There are a few different ways of increasing water retention.

  • Water retention granules
  • Unglazed terracotta
  • Water retaining beads

I have tried all three and I still find the old fashion way of using unglazed terracotta works the best. Water retention granules do not seem to “agree” with all plants, and especially fruit and vegetable seem to grow less well with water granules.

Tomatoes are especially keen on unglazed terracotta and seem to really thrive when they can share the basket with some terracotta. Terracotta is after all a natural material.

Feeding hanging baskets

Of course, if you are growing tomatoes in your hanging baskets you need to give them tomato feed. Feeding hanging baskets plants in general is not very difficult. Slow release fertilizers are the best approach and most of them are now very good.

Alternatively you can save all the water from boiled or steamed vegetables. This is an excellent natural alternative, and many container plants seem to do very well on this natural source of nutrients.

Pitcher Plant

A Pitcher Plant can make an excellent addition to your hanging garden.
A Pitcher Plant can make an excellent addition to your hanging garden. | Source

Finally, just as in your average garden caring for your plants is important. Make sure that when you plan your garden you do not only get the right plants but you can look after them as well. Hanging gardens also need tidying, and the plants will have to rely on you for their nutrition. Feeding plants in hanging baskets correctly is just as important as making sure they get the right amount of water. If you do a little bit of planning you will be able to cultivate a hanging garden which is yours to enjoy for many years to come.

© 2014 Annie Messeri

Comments

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    • Healthyannie profile image
      Author

      Annie Messeri 3 years ago from Spain

      I think we need to discover new ways in which we can grow our own food, resources everywhere are rather overstretched.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Very helpful! You give good suggestions and instructions concerning the benefit of hanging gardens--even to grow food. Thank you and voted up!

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