How to Grow a Spectacular Hanging Garden

by | May 31, 2024

We love container gardens. And what better way to maximise indoor greenery than by going vertical? Allowing organic drapes and shapes to flourish, an indoor hanging garden creates attractive backgrounds and natural textures, adding beauty, ambience and (in some cases) wafts of fresh aromas throughout the home.

What’s more, a properly cared-for garden filled with bushfood can help supplement your kitchen with fresh harvested produce throughout the year 🌱

Growing plants in containers

When a natural bushfood garden is not possible, a container garden offers the next best thing. Generally, growing plants in pots comes with the benefits of:

  • moving plants around as needed, like when shifting plants into sheltered space during extreme weather events;
  • keeping plants indoors; and
  • holding on to treasured plants in rentals, apartments, and boarding rooms.

Any plant you grow in a pot will depend entirely on you for its survival. With that in mind, let’s cover the most important factors in setting up an indoor hanging bushfood garden.

Information covered in this section is also available in our gardening book, Bushfood for Beginners.

WA Samphire - Tecticornia lepidosperma #2


Tecticornia lepidosperma

Succulents are typically suited for the outdoors, but given a sunny spot and strict water restrictions, your  Samphire can be grown as a trailing plant. This is due to the plant becoming “leggy” as it tries to increase its green surface area in response to lower levels of light. For best results, lay the juicy leaves carefully across your desk or let them trail from a hanging basket.

Tip: Adding a little sea salt to the soil once in a while will produce a saltier flavour in the leaves.

Potting mix

Your growing medium is the most important factor in keeping indoor plants healthy. While very young herbaceous plants can survive in media like plant growing gel, we’d recommend an Australian Premium Standard high-quality potting mix, available from a variety of brands.

Freshly store-bought, it comes with ideal proportions of substrate and enough slow-release fertiliser to last three months, giving (in our experience) the best possible start for Australian edible native plants.

Choosing a pot

As a rule of thumb, aim for a pot that’s about two-thirds the size of your plant. This gives it plenty of room to grow for the next six months to a year. Size definitely matters when it comes to choosing a plant pot. Too small, and the plant won’t have room to establish; too big, and the potting mix will deteriorate before your plant’s roots can reach it.

For plants you’ve purchased that already come in a pot, your best bet is to choose a new pot that’s (at most) about twice the diameter of the pot you started with. So, if you’ve got a plant in a 140mm diameter pot, you can go up to a 300mm diameter pot filled with fresh potting mix — though you’ll need to judge for yourself what sizes are safest and most suitable for high placement in your home.

Ideally, your bushfood plant pot will have drainage holes at the bottom to help prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged. If this isn’t possible, fill the bottom of your pot with pebbles before adding the potting mix.

Large pots can be too heavy to hang, and may be difficult to take down and put back on high shelves. Keep this in mind when choosing pot size and the overall design of your hanging garden.

Caring for your indoor plants

Watering: For best results, water your potted plants lightly in three stages. First, go over the surface to wet the hydrophobic layer. Wait a few minutes, then go over the potting mix again: the water should penetrate the surface, wetting the soil just beneath. A few minutes later, water generously a final time. (If your plant lives in a pot with pebbles instead of drainage holes, use a spray bottle for the first stage, and skip the third.)

For most potted plants, we recommend NOT leaving them sitting in saucers of water, as root-damaging soil bacteria can fester in such spaces. The only exception is the WA Samphire (Tecticornia lepidosperma), which needs a lot of moisture in summer, and the standing water mimics their natural conditions in the wild.

Refreshing potting mix: Potting mix sinks lower as it deteriorates. It’s best not to just “top up” with fresh potting mix, since woody stems can be damaged by prolonged contact with soil. Instead, take the whole plant out of the pot and add fresh potting mix to the bottom. Then re-plant into the same pot. Water generously after.

Native Violet (Viola hederacea) is a native groundcover bearing tiny, quaint purple flowers. It has a prostrate growth habit, meaning it grows outwards, dangling beautifully when grown in hanging baskets.

Best edible native plants for hanging planters

You’ll find more about Australian bushfood gardening in our book, Bushfood for Beginners, a handy “getting started” guide for novice and anxious intermediate gardeners.

Our Book: Bushfood for Beginners

Packed with tips and advice from the seasoned green thumbs at Tucker Bush, it aims to help any enthusiastic gardener take the first step in their long and bountiful bushfood journey.

We’ve put together an e-book of our favourite recipes

Featuring contributions from some of Australia’s leading chefs, using native bush tucker ingredients. This book includes all the recipes from our website plus more, covering entrees, mains, desserts and more, along with basic essentials like drying your own herbs and making your own jam.

Introducing Our Range Of Dried Herbs

Tucker Bush Native Herbs are dried and ready to use in your cooking. Enjoy these local flavours with cooked meats, baked treats and steeped in hot water for an aromatic tea.

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