BASIL IN HANGING PLANTERS & HANGING
Basil is a wonderful herb and quite easy to grow in hanging planters
both outdoors and indoors. A hanging planter of Basil will do well next
to a sunny kitchen window ledge or in conservatories.
The key to success with Basil is that it likes lots of sun and lots of
Hanging baskets and hanging planters are a great way to grow basil
even if you have enough outdoor space to be able to plant it in the
ground. In fact, we think hanging planters are actually a better way to
grow basil than putting it in the soil; they keep it off the ground and
stop it being eaten by slugs.
We hang ours on the little terrace
outside our kitchen door - that way it's easy to pick all through the
summer when we need it to go with our tomato salads!
One of the easiest and most popular culinary herbs to grow is the
common or sweet basil, Ocimum basilicum. A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae),
it is native to southern Asia and islands of the south Pacific. This
tender annual is primarily grown for its aromatic leaves, used fresh or
dried, to liven up numerous dishes of both Asian and Western cuisines.
Basil seeds are also used in Thai foods.
Like most herbs, basil
requires a sunny location that receives at least 6-8 hours of bright
light per day, and well drained soil conditions.
BASIL IN HANGING
While all basil varieties adapt well to growing in hanging planters or
hanging baskets, Genovese Basil, Sweet Basil and any variation of Thai
basil seem to grow best.
PLANTING BASIL IN HANGING BASKETS
Basil should be planted only after the nighttime air temperatures are
consistently above 50 degrees. Basil thrives on sunlight and in a
location free from rough winds.
For basil seeds: sow them sparingly
(and cover with a light sprinkling of potting soil. For basil starter
plants: place them in the soil in your hanging planter at about a 2-3
inch depth and about 2-3 inches apart.
TIP: The pre grown hydroponic
herbs we see for sale in many supermarkets and stores like Wholefoods
are also ideal for hanging planters – you can either plant them as is or
you can harvest your herbs first (cutting of 2/3rds of the plant) – then
plant your basil plant(s) into your hanging planter – water them well
and keep watering daily till the plant(s) establishes itself and you
will be amazed the basil plant will spring back to life and you will
have an almost instant hanging planter of basil.
HANGING-BASKET BASIL GARDEN CARE
Water basil regularly, but do not overwater. Allow soil to go dry in
Harvest basil by snipping off the top hearts at the end of each stem.
Snip often to promote a bushier growth.
BASIL AS A COMPANION PLANT
Companion plants are used to confuse or repel plant pests, to
encourage the growth of other plants and to act as a trap for pests and
parasites. "Trap" crops draw harmful insects away from the plants you
are trying to grow.
Companion plants may also be used as a "nurse"
crop--to provide food or possibly an attractive home or habitat for
beneficial insects. Companion plants may produce odors that confuse and
deter pests, or their scent may mask or hide a crop from pests.
is a great companion plant to Tomatoes. The Basil repels aphids, flies,
mosquitoes and mites; helps control insect pests such as tomato
HANGING PLANTERS OF TOMATOES AND BASIL
Basil and tomatoes, both warm-weather plants that do well in hanging
planters and hanging baskets and not only can be planted in the same
pots, they should be planted together; they are natural companions,
having similar requirements for light, soil, temperature and water.
Basil will also improve the growth and flavor of tomatoes.
Choose tomatoes that are suited for hanging baskets or hanging planters
– Cherry tomatoes are ideal.
More on growing tomatoes
in hanging baskets
Tomatoes Hundreds and
Thousands in hanging baskets, a type of cherry tomato
AND CARE OF YOUR HANGING PLANTER
Use a large hanging planter or hanging basket for your basil and
tomatoes. A hanging basket of at least 16” is the minimum.
Your planter or basket needs to be at least a foot deep; a planter
that is about the size of a 5-gallon bucket is ideal.
Make sure that the plants will get enough light by placing your
hanging planter or basket in an area that receives eight hours of full
sun a day. Provide proper drainage by making sure there are ample holes
at the bottom of the container and placing a layer of small stones at
Use a high-quality commercial potting mix. You will need 2 to 3 lbs.
of potting mixture for cherry tomatoes and a basil plant; if you are
growing a larger variety of tomato with your basil, you will need 5 to 7
Protect plants by waiting until night temperatures stay reliably over
60 degrees Fahrenheit before planting your hanging planter.
If the temperature falls below 55 degrees at night after a series of
warm spring days, the tomato can suffer blossom drop. Basil is also
extremely intolerant of cold temperatures and can be killed by a mere
touch of frost.
Once a month during the growing season, use a fertilizer high in
phosphorus; a 5-10-10 formulation is optimal.
TYPES OF BASIL
Thai basil – Characterized by its strong licorice fragrance
and flavor, this annual is also referred to as anise or licorice basil.
It reaches heights up to 24 inches and with a nearly two-foot expanse.
Great for stir-fried dishes, Thai basil is more easily found in
specialty grocery stores that carry exotic or high-end fresh herbs.
Genovese basil – A well-regarded favorite among foodies, Genovese
basil is considered the best basil for use in Italian recipes (pesto,
tomato-basil sauce, Caprese salad, etc.) Like sweet basil, this annual
has a strong clove fragrance and ranges from 12 to 24 inches in height,
but is easily distinguished by it’s more crinkly and in-turned leaves.
Lemon basil – Similar to the other basils, this annual grows to a
height of about two feet, but complements salads, dressing and teas with
a savory lemon flavor and fragrance. This basil is a bit spindlier than
its other basil relatives and is characterized by a flatter, narrower
Cinnamon basil – The name describes it all – basil with a
cinnamon flavor. As you can imagine, its strong cinnamon scent easily
distinguishes it from the others. It also has a somewhat harrier leaf.
This medium-sized annual grows up to 2 ½ feet tall and produces pale
pink to purple flowers. Enjoy!
Perilla, Shisho (a basil
relative) – There are a few kinds of perilla but this species, with
green leaves and purple spots is perhaps the best for cooking. Used most
often in Asian cuisine, Shisho has a cinnamon-lemon flavor. Perilla
frutecens var “autopurpurea” (also known as a beefsteak plant) is an
interesting relative that I’ve included here because of its much
stronger licorice flavor that some cooks thoroughly enjoy.
is often confused with coleus, it can double as ornamental basil. Please
give all types of perilla plenty of room to roam. Even though it’s an
annual, it spreads (without mercy!) from seed. This very aggressive
species is a great plant for people with brown thumbs.
Basil: It’s not just for dinner anymore! Many gardeners don’t realize
that one of the best uses for basil is that of an ornamental in their
landscape. Ornamental basil is colorful, attracts beneficial insects and
is heat tolerant. Additionally, most can be used in the same fashion as
many sun-loving coleus as they all belong to the mint family. While the
basils discussed below are recommended primarily for their decorative
properties, most can also double as a culinary spice.
basil Siam queen basil – A personal favorite, Siam queen is a type
of Thai basil that produces mint green leaves with very large flower
heads – up to 6 inches across – that give off a spicy anise scent. (It
might seem strange, but it smells great!) It reaches heights up to 2 ½
feet, but it can be pinched back – and even eaten! – to restrict growth.
Dark opal basil – Dark opal resembles a glossy-leafed,
burgundy-and-purple coleus with pink flowers. While this two-foot annual
is great for landscapes, it can also add a hint of exotic color to
culinary favorites such as Italian Caprese or spring garden salads.
Purple ruffles basil Purple ruffles basil – This is a great plant
to spice up the kitchen and the landscape! Perhaps the most colorful
basil for landscapes, purple ruffles makes a great addition to salads
and pesto. Similar in color to the dark opal, this plant is slightly
smaller in stature (reaches up to 1 ½ feet) and its leaves are very
frilly and ruffled. While it can handle a shadier spot in the garden, it
still needs at least three hours of sunlight to mature properly. Purple
ruffles gives off a combination of licorice and cinnamon scents and
produces lavender and pink flowers that can also be eaten. Somewhat
difficult to start from seeds, this plant works best from transplants.
African blue basil – While not recommended for culinary uses,
African blue basil is more often used as an ornamental. Besides, you’ll
be so proud of this one, it would pain you to eat it! A properly tended
plant with plenty of room to expand can easily become a grand showpiece
in your late spring or early summer garden, making itself the center of
conversation among your guests. In zones 9 (maybe 8A) and warmer, given
the right protection, this beauty can sometimes transform itself into a
Because it can mature to four feet, African blue
basil works best at the back of an annual border. It’s wonderful pink
and purple flowers with purple stems and leaves add to its desirability.
In fact, many gardeners choose this basil in place of pink- or
purple-flowering sage. There’s no need to be afraid of this plants ample
volume as, like most basils, it is easily trimmed back.
– The attractive green and purple foliage of this perennial, combined
with a strong showing of pink and white flowers, make this is an ideal
landscape addition. Reaching heights up to three feet with a two-foot
span, this hairy-leafed plant produces a fragrant clove scent. While
holy basil can be used for culinary purposes in cooked foods, its hairy
leaves and woodier stems make it difficult for use as a fresh herb. Holy
basil stands the best chance for returning year after year in zones 9 or