Discovering you've run out of garden space for planting is about as universal to the gardener's experience as dirt under the fingernails. Whether it's an obvious limitation like your small apartment garden or balcony planters hitting their max occupancy or a gradual lack of room for new plants that develops as you turn more and more of your yard into growing areas and fill every corner of your raised beds, there are other ways you can flex your green thumb. You just have to think outside the box.
With proper care and attention, there are a number of lovely ground plants typically planted in soil or beds that can actually be grown well in a hanging basket.
A hanging basket can be made of plastic, metal, clay with rope holders, or any of a variety of other materials; these baskets are your chance to showcase your personality in your planter choice. Here are some examples of plants that thrive when you suspend them from the ceiling or from a hook on your porch.
Flowers and Ornamental Plants
When choosing ornamental plants, look for the kinds of soil amendments that will help that particular variety thrive, be it mulch, compost, or a particular fertilizer, and add it in small amounts to a good potting mix for your hanging baskets. Ensure that you aren't overwatering your plants or underwatering them by keeping a close eye on new transplants, since you may discover the basket needs a larger hole for water to escape from, or that you have great drainage but need to water twice as often as a result.
English Ivy in particular, but many other options as well, make for beautiful cascades of leaves down from a hanging basket. Ivy will enjoy a sunny window, but don't leave it with too much water on it. This is a species that can handle getting completely dry if needed, and excess moisture is more likely to cause problems.
One of the classics, petunias make for beautiful, brightly colored hanging basket displays. Millifloras and multifloras are good options when you've had trouble with drooping petunias in the past. These make for a long-lasting, hardy flower that is at its loveliest at dusk.
A waterfall of a weeping variety of lantana makes for a great hanging basket choice as well; a good reason to put them up in the air is to keep them from spreading aggressively and taking over your whole garden. From above a porch, they can't damage your garden as easily and you get to benefit from the tiny delicate flowers. Perfect if you want more things to bring in honeybees and other pollinators to your garden.
Nasturtiums grow fast and are so brightly colored that it's no wonder they're a staple of the hanging basket world. Even better is that this annual isn't picky about what soil it's planted in making them a prime candidate for suspended baskets or use as ground cover. While you can put them in partial shade, like on a balcony, they will flourish in full sun, and you won't even need fertilizer to see them blossom.
The tiny white flowers of sweet alyssum add a delicate and lovely style to any porch or other hanging basket spot. They are fairly hardy and incredibly fragrant, making them a great option if you've been longing for a floral aroma outside in your garden.
Herbs, Fruits, and Vegetables
You don't have to restrict yourself to flowers as there are many edible plants for your hanging baskets. Make sure that you choose varieties that will stay in their space or that you're only using plants that you're willing to prune at some point during their growth. For many edibles, this pruning is a necessary step for keeping your hanging garden contained to the baskets.
One thing to keep in mind when transferring edibles to suspended planters is that while these species are versatile enough to grow well in a basket, not all of them will look good doing it even if they yield all the edible fruits you could hope for. Here are just a few that are likely to thrive.
With a soothing scent and a well known essential oil, growing a hanging basket of lavender may be just what you need to make your garden a place of peace. Make sure the lavender is a dwarf variety, since the regular variety can grow quite large, and aim for full sun to get the most out of this plant.
Tomatoes climb well, so a hanging planter with some sturdy ropes or plastic pieces coming up to the hook can actually help train a climbing tomato upwards. Choose a cherry type of tomato or other small variety that will grow into a bushy mass rather than long, spindly branches. While it is possible to let your basket of tomatoes spill out of your container and grow downward, this is only sustainable for so long. The natural weight of tomato vines and the fruits themselves make the use of some kind of trellis or support for training the plant your best bet.
Due to their vine-like structure and the small, succulent fruits strawberries are both a beautiful vision in a hanging basket and a tasty treat when you walk by and see one white flower has matured into a red fruit. An added benefit of hoisting your strawberry plants aloft is that it makes it just that much more difficult for curious critters to nibble at them, like deer.
You'll find that a garden can be just as lovely, if not more so, if it is grown in a hanging basket that is suspended from your porch or balcony. Many ground plants thrive in containers, so find yourself a solid potting mix, ensure that your pots are securely hung and equipped with a good method of drainage, and get to planting!