10 Edibles That Look Great in Hanging Baskets and Containers
With edible landscaping, we try to use landscape design principles in our gardens. One of these is using multiple dimensions and porch rail planters or hanging baskets can be a fabulous way of bring the plants up a level. Even beginning gardeners can take their garden to the next level by raising the plants up. This is a common pro-tip that gives everyone a chance to enjoy the edibles at eye level. Here are some favorite plants, detailed in the newly published book Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide to Sneaking Delicious Edibles Into Your Landscape perfect for hanging baskets and containers.
- Begonia – Tuberous begonia are a popular hanging basket plant. The trailing foliage look beautiful draping over the edge of a basket. There are many colors available the petals of the tuberous begonia are edible. They are perfect for adding a garnish to a salad, summer sandwich, and so on. If you are sensitive to oxalic acid you should avoid tuberous begonias.
- Cucumbers – What? Cucumbers are vegetables you say. And you’re right about that, but they are still a plant. Pull those cucumbers out of the backyard square garden, and place them near the edge of a large hanging basket and you’ll have some beautiful foliage trailing down. Short-lived yellow flowers become interest fruit and then you can harvest right from your hanging basket.
- Eggplants – Another plant we’ll steal from the backyard veggie plot, eggplant has long-lasting foliage and fabulous fruit. Plant one of these in the middle of the hanging basket to fill in the center of your container planting. Lifting it higher means you’ll be able to enjoy the attractive purple fruit – usually hidden under the leaves.
- Nasturtium – Nasturtiums will tolerate part shade, making them great for hanging under porches where daylight is more limited. For hanging baskets I love the longer varieties like Moonlight, Tall Trailing, or the Alaska series. The round, circle foliage is really attractive and combines well with a wide variety of other plants.
- Parsley or interesting greens – When you’re putting together a hanging basket you can’t think only about the plants that go around the edges to trail down, but you have to think about the container as a whole. I love to include some plants in the center that will have lovely foliage to serve as a backdrop for the decorative trailing plants. Parsley, cilantro, and other interesting greens are fabulous for this role because you can continuously start new ones every couple weeks to keep the container looking full and robust. Plus some of these herbs are on my top herbs to grow list and should be considered as possibilities! http://untrainedhousewife.com/must-grow-kitchen-garden-herb-plants
- Small squash – Most people tend to think of squash like giant pumpkins winning the state fair, however there are hundreds of varieties so get creative! Choose a squash with small fruit that can hang from a container and let it grow down over the edge. I love dwarf pumpkins because the fruit is so beautiful.
- Sweet Potatoes – Most people grow ornamental sweet potatoes in their hanging baskets and containers, which have lovely vines with attractive foliage. However, edible sweet potatoes also have attractive foliage. I think the tubular flowers are also really pretty, although shorter lived than nasturtiums or begonias so plan on foliage being the primary attraction if you plant sweet potatoes.
- Thyme – Thyme is one of my favorite herbs. I’m completely biased so I love to tuck it into as many garden spaces as possible. It’s so low-maintenance and drought tolerant it will do well in containers. Plant bushy varieties like Argentus or oregano thyme to fill in gaps in the middle of your containers. Plant trailing thyme or a variety like white moss that will drape nicely at the edges. Use these herb drying techniques to preserve your harvest!
- Tomatoes – Small tomatoes can do well in hanging baskets as long they are given enough water. Early girl varieties or cherry tomatoes will be more likely to perform well in hanging baskets since they will be less likely to split from uneven watering. Think about watering twice a day if you are using tomatoes in smaller containers off the ground. There is something very charming about the fruit spilling over the side that makes any extra watering hassle well worth while.
- Zucchini – Another squash variety, zucchini plants do well in containers, raised beds, and hanging baskets. There are some unusual and attractive heirloom varieties that would add even more interest with rounded or striped fruit! Try combining zucchini with another herb or plant that will fill in the bulk of the container more like thyme or sage for an attractive combination.
If your gardening space is limited, or you want to create interest by using plants at multiple levels, consider how edible plants can lend themselves to an overall edible garden design. By combining professional landscape techniques, with rockstar edible plant varieties, you can truly have the best of both worlds.
To find out more, check out the Gardening Like a Ninja book, or consider picking up the Gardening Like a Ninja Edible Landscaping Course bundle. The bundle includes 12 online lessons plus a full-color paperback book delivered right to your door!