Welcome to the world of ‘Skyward Spices’, where we embrace the charm of vertical gardens and the herbal magic they can brew!
If you’ve got a small outdoor space, or if you’re just looking to make the most of every square inch of your garden, you’ve likely considered the concept of vertical gardening.
But the question that pops up is, “What herbs grow well in a vertical garden?” Well, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we’ll explore the lofty world of vertical gardening and the various aromatic herbs that not only grow but thrive when reaching towards the sky.
Whether you’re a novice gardener or a seasoned green thumb, you’ll discover valuable insights on creating a herb-rich, space-saving oasis right in your backyard or balcony.
So, let’s aim high and dive into the exciting world of ‘Skyward Spices’!
Table of Contents
Basics of Vertical Herb Gardening
In vertical herb gardening, you grow herbs in a vertical space to maximize your available area. This innovative approach to gardening is suitable for both urban and rural environments.
Let’s start by covering some of the fundamental aspects you need to consider in vertical gardening, such as location, sunlight, water, soil, and fertilization.
Choosing the Right Location
The location of your vertical garden is crucial for the growth and health of your herbs. Ensure that the area is flat and stable and can handle the weight and water requirements of your garden.
A well-ventilated area is essential for proper airflow to prevent mold and pests. It’s also beneficial to place your garden close to a water source for easy watering.
Sunlight and Water Requirements
Herbs used in vertical gardens generally need 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. When selecting the best spot for your garden, consider sun exposure and change in light throughout the day.
However, some herbs may require less sunlight, so make sure to research the light requirements of your chosen plants.
Watering is an essential component for a healthy vertical garden. Some herbs need more moisture than others, so pay attention to their water requirements. Herbs like it relatively dry, so avoid overwatering.
Test the soil up to 6 inches deep and water only when it’s dry. Proper drainage is also crucial in a vertical garden to prevent root rot.
Selecting the Right Soil and Fertilizer
For a successful vertical herb garden, use high-quality potting soil that provides good drainage and aeration.
Choose a soil mixture that retains moisture but doesn’t get overly saturated, allowing the plant roots to receive adequate oxygen.
Fertilizer plays a crucial role in your herbs’ growth and overall health. The type of fertilizer you use depends on your chosen herbs.
Generally, opting for an organic fertilizer formulated for herbs is recommended. Make sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions to avoid over-fertilizing and potential harm to your plants.
Regularly check the nutrient levels in the soil and observe the response of your herbs to adjust fertilization as needed.
Ideal Herbs for Vertical Gardens
Vertical gardens provide an excellent space-saving solution for urban gardeners and enable the growth of various herbs.
Now let’s highlight some of the best herbs for vertical gardens, including culinary herbs, aromatic herbs, and edible flowers.
Here are some culinary herbs that grow well in vertical gardens:
- Basil: An essential herb for many dishes, basil requires full to medium sunshine and benefits from regular trimming.
- Parsley: This easy-to-grow herb thrives in a vertical garden, preferring partial shade.
- Chives: A versatile herb, chives are low-maintenance and can handle a range of sunlight conditions.
- Mint: Be mindful when planting mint, as it can quickly spread. Grow it in a container to prevent it from taking over your vertical garden.
- Oregano: This drought-tolerant herb flourishes in a vertical garden with full sunlight.
- Dill: Preferring full sun, dill does well in a vertical garden and pairs perfectly with cucumbers and pickling projects.
- Thyme: A hardy, drought-resistant herb, thyme adds a savory touch to numerous dishes and grows well in vertical gardens.
Vertical gardens can also host a variety of aromatic herbs, such as:
- Marjoram: This herb is similar to oregano and benefits from the well-draining conditions of a vertical garden.
- Cilantro: Cilantro benefits from regular trimming, which promotes bushier growth and prevents it from going to seed too quickly.
- Rosemary: Keep young rosemary plants trimmed back to encourage proper growth in a vertical garden.
- Lavender: Known for its relaxing scent, lavender enjoys full sun and well-draining soil found in vertical gardens.
- Sage: This herb attracts pollinators and requires well-draining soil, making it ideal for vertical gardens.
- Lemon Balm: Enjoyed for its citrusy scent, lemon balm requires room to grow and is best contained in a vertical garden.
Add a splash of color and flavor to your vertical garden with these edible flowers:
- Nasturtiums: These vibrant flowers grow easily in a vertical garden, producing both edible flowers and leaves, adding peppery flavor to salads.
Incorporate a combination of these herbs and edible flowers in your vertical garden to maximize its productivity and visual appeal.
Remember to consider sunlight requirements, maintenance needs, and growth habits to ensure the success of your vertical garden.
Setting Up the Vertical Garden
Choosing the Right Structure
When setting up a vertical garden for growing herbs, select an appropriate structure that provides support and space for the plants.
The following are some structures you can consider for your vertical garden:
- Trellises: These latticework structures work well for climbing herbs and vines, and can be attached to walls or positioned as free-standing units.
- Arbors and pergolas: These larger structures offer room for multiple hanging planters and can create a focal point in your garden.
- Fences: Transform an existing fence into a vertical garden by attaching hanging pots or pocket planters.
- Pallets: Repurposing wooden pallets is a cost-effective and eco-friendly approach to create a vertical garden structure.
Selecting the Appropriate Containers
The container you choose for your herbs can impact their growth and overall health.
Here are some options for containers compatible with vertical gardening:
- Hanging pots: These pots can be easily hung from hooks, trellises, or fences, allowing for great flexibility in arranging your vertical garden.
- Pocket planters: Made from fabric or plastic, these lightweight containers have pockets that securely hold the plants while conserving space.
- Rain gutters: Attaching repurposed rain gutters to a wall or fence can create a unique and effective system for growing herbs.
Keep in mind that adequate drainage is essential in any container, so ensure that there are holes at the bottom of your chosen container to prevent waterlogged plants.
Installing a Watering System
To ensure your herbs receive enough water in a vertical garden, you may want to consider installing a watering system.
Here are some options to provide consistent moisture:
- Drip irrigation: This system uses a network of tubes with emitters, placed near the base of each plant, that allow water to drip slowly and directly to the roots.
- Soaker hoses: These porous hoses can be installed along your vertical garden and release water gradually, ensuring even distribution.
- Self-watering containers: These specialized pots include a reservoir at the bottom, which stores water and allows it to be absorbed by the plant’s roots. Check out the Vegepod Self-Watering Container Garden Kit on Amazon. It’s a fan fave.
Remember that herbs typically don’t require as much water as vegetables or flowers. Ensure the soil is dry up to 6 inches deep before watering to avoid overwatering your herbs.
Planting and Growing Techniques
Arranging Plants for Maximum Aesthetic Appeal
When designing a vertical garden with herbs, it’s essential to consider the visual aspects to create an interesting and appealing appearance.
Combine different herbs with various colors, shapes, and textures to achieve a diverse and eye-catching display.
Place taller and bushier herbs like rosemary and mint towards the top of the vertical structure, allowing them to cascade downwards.
On the other hand, smaller and delicate herbs like parsley and cilantro can be placed towards the bottom, providing a visual contrast against the more substantial plants above.
Plant Combinations for Successful Growth
To ensure that the herbs in your vertical garden grow well together, pair plants with similar sunlight and water requirements.
For instance, Mediterranean herbs like thyme, rosemary, and oregano thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil, making them ideal companions.
Other pairs include:
- Basil and chives, which both enjoy ample sunlight and regular watering
- Mint and lemon balm, preferring partial shade and moist soil
By carefully selecting compatible herbs for your vertical garden, you can ensure that all plants receive adequate light, water, and nutrients for successful growth.
Vertical Gardening with Annuals and Perennials
In a vertical herb garden, you can include both annual and perennial herbs. Annual herbs like basil, dill, and cilantro will need to be replanted each year, while perennial herbs like thyme, rosemary, and chives will continue to grow year after year.
Mixing these two types of herbs can provide a variety of culinary uses and visual interest through seasonal color shifts. And, incorporating both annuals and perennials can provide a constant supply of homegrown herbs for your kitchen while maintaining a visually appealing aesthetic.
When planting a vertical garden, consider the growth habits and preferred conditions of each herb to ensure their best possible growth. With careful consideration of aesthetics, compatibility, and choice of annual and perennial herbs, your vertical garden will thrive and bring you years of enjoyment.
Vertical Gardening Beyond Herbs
Vegetables and Fruits for Vertical Gardens
In addition to herbs, various vegetables and fruits can thrive in a vertical garden setup. These plants can help maximize your gardening space and add variety to your harvest.
Some suitable vegetables and fruits for vertical gardens include:
- Peas: Various pea varieties are climbers, making them a perfect fit for vertical gardens. They can easily grow on trellises or other support structures.
- Tomatoes: With the help of tomato cages or stakes, indeterminate (vining) tomato varieties can grow vertically, keeping the fruit off the ground and improving air circulation.
- Squash: Although squash varieties like butternut squash are typically ground-dwellers, some vining types can be trained to grow vertically on trellises, saving space in the garden.
- Beans: Pole beans are natural climbers and can be grown vertically on various support structures. Green beans, runner beans, and broad beans are just a few examples.
- Cucumbers: Along with trellises, cucumber vines can also be grown vertically using A-frames or other support systems.
- Melons: Smaller melon varieties, such as cantaloupe and honeydew, can grow vertically on sturdy trellises. Occasionally, they may need additional support, such as slings, to hold the weight of the fruit.
Ornamental Plants and Vines
A vertical garden can also incorporate colorful and eye-catching ornamental plants and vines. These plants can enhance the appearance of your garden, providing visual interest alongside your edible plants.
Some examples of ornamental plants suitable for vertical gardens are:
- Malabar spinach: This versatile vine can be used as both an edible green and an ornamental plant. Its vibrant purple stems and lush green leaves bring a pop of color to the garden.
- Morning glories: These flowering vines can add a burst of color to your vertical garden with their striking blue, pink, or purple trumpet-shaped flowers. They grow rapidly and require little maintenance.
- Clematis: This deciduous or evergreen vine can be trained to grow on trellises or other structures. It produces a variety of stunning flowers in diverse colors and shapes, depending on the species.
- Sweet potato vines: Although the tubers are a popular edible, the ornamental sweet potato vine is typically grown for its attractive foliage. Its heart-shaped leaves come in deep purple, bright green, or variegated shades.
Vertical gardens can go beyond herbs and cater to a variety of vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants for a more diverse and interesting garden layout.
By choosing the right plants and providing them adequate support, your vertical garden can be a thriving, efficient, and visually appealing addition to your outdoor space.
Vertical Garden Maintenance and Care
Managing a vertical garden with herbs goes beyond planting and watching them grow. To ensure their health and longevity, proper maintenance and care are necessary.
In this section, we’ll discuss essential tips like pruning and harvesting, pest control and prevention, and fertilizing and watering schedules. These care tips will help your herbs flourish in a vertical garden.
Pruning and Harvesting
Pruning is a vital component of maintaining a successful vertical herb garden. It encourages adequate airflow, keeps the leaves off the soil, and helps promote healthier growth.
- Basil: Pinch off flower buds as they appear and trim back any leggy branches.
- Parsley: Prune stems from the outer edges of the plant, allowing the inner growth to continue.
- Chives: Cut back the entire bunch to about 2 inches above the soil once it has started to become bushy.
- Thyme: Harvest and prune by cutting the stems back, leaving at least 4 inches for regrowth.
- Oregano: Trim back stems as needed, making sure not to remove more than half of the plant.
Pest Control and Prevention
Pests can be a challenge in any garden, but vertical gardens with herbs can be even more prone to infestations.
Take preventative measures, monitor for pests, and address any issues early on.
- Monitor: Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests, such as holes in leaves or visible insects.
- Natural Predators: Incorporate beneficial insects, like ladybugs and lacewings, to help control pests.
- Neem Oil: Apply neem oil as a natural and safe insecticide to target harmful pests.
Fertilizing and Watering Schedule
Herbs in a vertical garden generally require less water than their flowering and vegetable counterparts. However, a consistent watering and fertilizing schedule is critical for their overall health and growth.
- Watering: Test the soil up to 6 inches deep, and water as needed when it’s dry. Ensure pots have adequate drainage to prevent over-watering.
- Fertilizing: Use a balanced, organic fertilizer according to the product’s instructions. Be cautious not to over-fertilize, as it can harm your herbs.
By carefully pruning and harvesting, monitoring pests and implementing prevention strategies, and sticking to a consistent watering and fertilizing schedule, you’ll have a thriving vertical garden with healthy and flavorful herbs.
Unique Vertical Garden Ideas
Combining Various Shapes and Sizes
Vertical gardens are a great way to utilize limited space for growing herbs, flowers, vegetables, and even some fruits.
One creative approach to designing a vertical garden is by using a combination of various shapes and sizes to create an eye-catching display.
For instance, you can use larger planters for herbs like rosemary and mint, which need more space to grow, and smaller containers for herbs like thyme and oregano.
Mixing and matching different types of containers, such as terra-cotta pots, wooden crates, and hanging baskets, can add visual interest and help make the most of your vertical space.
Creating Privacy Screens Using Vertical Gardens
Utilize vertical gardens as natural privacy screens by planting taller-growing herbs and plants along fences or walls.
This not only adds greenery to your space but also establishes a sense of seclusion and tranquility.
Some herbs that work well for creating privacy screens include:
- Lavender – This fragrant, bushy herb also attracts pollinators.
- Sage – A hardy perennial, sage grows well in full to medium sunshine.
- Marjoram – Another great herb for attracting pollinators to your vertical garden.
You can also incorporate flowering plants like clematis and bougainvillea, as well as climbing vegetables such as peas and beans, to create multi-functional privacy screens in your vertical garden.
Alternative Vertical Garden Systems
There are several innovative vertical garden systems that can accommodate various growing needs.
Here are some options to consider:
- Fern and Succulent Gardens – Vertical gardens composed of ferns and succulents make for a stunning, low-maintenance display. Opt for hardy, drought-resistant species like Boston ferns and Hen and Chicks succulents.
- Trellises and Lattice Panels – Easily secure climbing herbs, like mint and lemon balm, to trellises or lattice panels. This creates an attractive garden structure and saves valuable floor space.
- Hanging Pockets or Woolly Pockets – These fabric pouches can be hung on walls or fences, providing a space-saving alternative to traditional containers. They are especially suitable for herbs that don’t need a lot of soil, such as parsley and chives.
By exploring these unique vertical garden ideas, you can maximize your growing area, cultivate various types of plants, and create a visually appealing garden that suits your needs and preferences.
What Herbs Grow Well in a Vertical Garden FAQs
Can herbs be grown vertically?
Absolutely, herbs can be grown vertically! This is a fabulous way to make the most of your available space, especially if you’re limited. Many herbs are perfectly happy to grow upwards, and some, like rosemary and thyme, have a naturally cascading habit that looks simply fantastic in vertical planters.
Do indoor herb gardens attract bugs?
Well, an indoor herb garden can attract bugs, but it doesn’t have to. You see, bugs are attracted to plants for different reasons, sometimes for food or shelter. Keep your herbs healthy, give them the right amount of water (not too much!) and regularly check for early signs of bugs. And don’t worry, there are plenty of natural and non-disruptive ways to keep these little critters at bay if they do show up.
Does an herb garden need full sun or shade?
Herb gardens generally love the sun! Most common herbs, like basil, rosemary, and thyme, adore a good dose of sunshine. However, they also appreciate a little shade during the hottest part of the day to prevent wilting. Each herb has its preference, so check the specific requirements of the ones you’re planning to grow.
What plants grow best in a vertical planter?
Quite a few plants thrive in a vertical planter! Herbs are the stars here—mint, basil, oregano, they all love growing skyward. Veggies like lettuce and spinach also do well. And for a splash of color, consider petunias or marigolds. The key is to choose plants that aren’t too heavy and have a shallow root system, as these characteristics work best with the vertical setup.
And there we have it – your guided tour through the sky-high world of vertical herb gardening. We’ve looked at a variety of herbs that grow well in a vertical garden.
From the peppery delight of mint to the Mediterranean charm of oregano, we’ve uncovered the top performers in the vertical gardening scene.
Remember, vertical gardening isn’t just about space efficiency; it’s about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in your green space.
With the right knowledge under your belt, your vertical herb garden can become not just a productive edible garden, but a stunning living piece of art.
So go ahead, give these ‘Skyward Spices’ a shot and let your culinary and gardening dreams ascend to new heights! Happy gardening!