Rosemary

Of course the best herbs for vertical gardening is a personal opinion. You need to use herbs that you love – either to use or to look at – and in an ideal world are also:

  • Relatively drought resistant
  • Hardy
  • Grow well in full – medium sunshine
  • Perennials (although annuals will also suffice)

Some herbs – like lavender, marjoram and sage – are great for bringing pollinators to your vertical garden. And they grow brilliantly in the best indoor hydroponic systems.

Table of Contents

Basil

Basil

The great herb of all time, basil is a hardy, versatile (and delicious) herb that grows well in virtually all climates. Although in colder conditions it’s wise to move basil indoors and arguably needs more trimming than others. 

Chives

Chives

An essential on fancy scrambled eggs, chives grow tall and green in full sunlight with substantial water. This makes them better suited to the top of the planter, particularly as chives’ flowers are beautiful whites and purples. 

Dill

Dill

Super hardy (and delicious with seafood), dill grows best in sunny, well-drained conditions. Although it will tolerate full sun effectively too. Another herb better suited to the top of the planter. And whilst dill isn’t technically a perennial, it will grow back every other year (biennial).

Lavender

Lavender

Some people are surprised when they hear lavender is a herb. And as it is native to northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean, it tends to grow well in full sun and well-drained soil – another top of the planter pick. One that will bring pollinators in.

Fortunately lavender is drought-resistant and generally hardy. So prune it carefully and bring inside in harsh winters. 

Marjoram

Marjoram

Supremely easy to grow, particularly with regular watering, marjoram is a pretty flowering herb that’s brilliant at attracting pollinators. Perfect for biodiverse green roofs in fact.

As an annual plant – marjoram dies in winter conditions – you need to be wary of leaving it out in winter months. Potentially late autumn and early spring too.

Mint

Mint

Great in tea and aggressive (in its growing nature, nothing else), mint doesn’t suffer fools gladly. 

Without careful pruning mint can completely takeover a vertical garden. Your best bet is to keep it entirely separate from other herbs, or to use it frequently. So you constantly chop it back.

Oregano

Oregano

Oreg-ano to our American counterparts, it’s a firm favourite in almost every sauce I make. So a real vertical garden staple.

It is drought resistant – leaving it until it’s dry and giving it a big water will work wonders. As a perennial, oregano will comeback year after year.

Parsley

Parsley

Parsley is a pretty, delicate looking herb that thrives in full sun. In fact, parsley requires substantial sun to grow. So best suited to the top of the planters. 

Rosemary

Rosemary

Arguably my favourite garden herb, rosemary is a beautiful smelling, incredibly hardy herb that thrives in full sunlight and well-drained soil. 

Because it is such a fast-growing herb, rosemary – like mint – can be quite overwhelming for other plants such is its rate of growth. So be prepared to trim regularly and potentially keep rosemary in its own planter. 

Sage

Sage

Sage thrives in full sun and medium-dry well-drained soil. So it will grow much more effectively at the top of the planter. As a perennial it will grow back year after year if cared for properly. 

And – like marjoram – sage is super at bringing pollinators to your vertical garden. 

Thyme

Thyme

Thyme needs full sun to thrive, and grows well in dry-medium soil. So make sure to grow it at the top of the planter. 

Largely drought-resistant and hardy. As a perennial it will also comeback year after year if cared for properly. Perfect for a low maintenance vertical garden.

FAQs

Typically herbs that are hardy, largely drought resistant and – depending on where you live – that grow well in full sun. 

Ideally you’d pick perennials that comeback each year to minimise maintenance. But if you’re happy doing a little extra planting and maintaining, most herbs will grow fine. 

Some herbs grow better in full sunlight and in well-drained conditions. These herbs need to be planted nearer the top of the vertical garden.

Others are better suited to moist soil and shady conditions. These are better suited to the bottom of a vertical garden.

Then you need to consider whether an aggressive growing herb – like rosemary – needs its own planter to protect the growth of others. 

Yes herbs can grow vertically. In fact, with the right structure and setup, you will get a much greater yield of herb(s) than if you were gardening horizontally.

Certain hardy herbs that thrive in full sunlight, in well drained soil – rosemary and thyme – grow very effectively at the top of a vertical structure. Herbs that prefer shady, damp conditions are better suited to growing at the bottom of the structure. And the generally pest-free, organic conditions create a good quality, high yielding crop.

Well for starters everyone needs herbs. Or at least wishes they had them to hand. Cooking, tea, scented pillows… You name it. But not everyone has the space.

Fortunately there are some perennial herbs – rosemary, sorrel, thyme – that are generally hardy, drought resistant and don’t suffer pests lightly. These qualities make some herbs perfect for rooftops, balconies and general vertical gardening.

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