The hanging basket GYO trend is the new 'it' way to grow veg in a small space

Think your hanging basket is just for flowers? Think again...

Tomatoes growing in a hanging basket used for the new GYO trend
(Image credit: Alamy)

Once upon a time, you needed lots of space to grow your own crops. Thankfully, though, that's all changed, thanks to the hanging basket GYO trend.

It doesn't matter if you already know how to grow your own vegetables, fruit, herbs and more at home, or whether you're a complete newbie to the GYO movement: there's never been a better time to try your hand at edimentals.

Better still, you don't need a large garden to do it; a patio or even a balcony will do the job nicely, so long as you have somewhere to secure a hanging basket.

The hanging basket GYO trend

'No matter the size of your grow space, you can have some fab edibles,' says award-winning garden designer Zoe Claymore, who is a big fan of the hanging basket trend for that very reason. 

Zoe Claymore - headshot
Zoe Claymore

Zoe Claymore is a multi award-winning garden designer based in London. She focuses on creating outdoor places with emotional connection and ecological integrity for her private and commercial clients.

'With hanging baskets, the important thing is to choose plants that will fit the shallow root conditions,' continues Zoe. 

'This means that learning how to grow tomatoes is a great shout, so long as you choose a bushy/compact variety and pinch them out regularly to prevent the plant getting too big.'

Strawberries growing in a hanging basket

(Image credit: Alamy)

Strawberries, too, are an excellent option, according to Zoe – providing you feed and water them regularly. 

What you'll need

If you're keen to give the hanging basket GYO trend a go, you're first job is to find a hanging basket that is at least 30cm wide and 30cm deep (the Kingfisher 30cm Rope Cone Garden Plant Lined Basket from Amazon is ideal).

Make sure, too, that your basket has at least one drainage hole and can support a fair bit of weight, because your (hopefully) bountiful crop will need it.

Finally, pick up some coco coir from Amazon to line your basket with, to ensure that the soil doesn't fall out.

What you can grow

When tackling the hanging basket GYO trend, you'll want to do more than just consider the easiest vegetables to grow: you'll want to research the best vegetables to grow in pots, too.

'Many favourites such as strawberries, raspberries and even herbs grow extremely well in hanging baskets. Not only are they nutritious and delicious, but they also provide a vital source of nectar for native pollinators, so it’s not just us humans that will enjoy them!' says Patty Willems, PR Manager at sustainable plant pot company, elho.

If you need a little more guidance, though, here's a few of the very best crops to tackle in your hanging basket.

1. Blackcurrants

Close up of a blackcurrant crop

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fancy ticking off two trends in one go? Blackcurrants are an easy way to tap into the flourishing purple vegetable GYO movement, and they're a great option for hanging baskets, too.

'Blackcurrants, with their rich, tart flavour, are a classic British fruit that can thrive in hanging baskets,' says Sean Lade, director of Easy Garden Irrigation.

Easy Garden Irrigation
Sean Lade

Sean holds in-depth expertise in gardening and horticulture, with a focus on designing efficient irrigation systems. His solutions grace gardens and nurseries across the UK, embodying an environmentally-conscious approach to water usage. Sean is always happy to share knowledge, guiding gardeners and growers through regular training on irrigation best practices.

Sean goes on to add that you should 'choose a compact variety suitable for containers', and enrich your soil with some good peat-free compost, too.

'These berries prefer a sunny spot but can tolerate partial shade, and regular pruning helps maintain the plant's shape and promotes air circulation,' he adds. 

'Be sure, too, to keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the growing season, and feed with a balanced fertiliser for a delicious harvest of British blackcurrants right at your fingertips.'

Where to buy blackcurrant plants:

2. Tomatoes

Close up of red tomatoes on vine

(Image credit: Getty Images)

That's right: if you can learn how to grow tomatoes in pots, you can learn how to grow them in hanging baskets, too!

'Cherry or trailing tomato varieties are ideal for hanging baskets,' says Sean. 

'Ensure your basket is large enough to support the plant's growth and use a tomato-specific fertiliser. And place the basket in a sunny spot and water consistently to prevent blossom-end rot.'

Where to buy tomato seeds:

3. Herbs

Parsley in a pot

(Image credit: Getty)

You'd best believe that all of your favourite herbs (including basil, mint, and parsley) can thrive in hanging baskets. 

'Plant them together to create a flavourful and aromatic mix,' says Sean, insisting it's vital you 'ensure the soil is well-drained and that you water it whenever the top inch feels dry'. 

'Trim regularly to encourage bushier growth and a constant supply of fresh herbs for your culinary endeavours,' he adds.

Where to buy herbs:

4. Lettuce and salad leaves

Rows of lettuce plants growing in soil

(Image credit: Future PLC/Heather Young)

Another great option for the hanging basket GYO trend, 'lettuce varieties like looseleaf or butterhead are excellent choices,' says Sean. 

'Sow seeds densely and keep the soil consistently moist. Harvest leaves as needed for a continuous supply of fresh, crisp greens. Hang the basket in a partially shaded area to prevent wilting in the summer heat.'

Where to buy lettuce seeds:

5. Strawberries

Strawberries growing in a wicker hanging basket

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Again, if you can learn how to grow strawberries in pots, you can absolutely learn how to grow them in hanging baskets, too.

'Perfect for hanging baskets, strawberries thrive in well-draining soil and love full sun,' promises Sean. 

'Just be sure to use a good-quality potting mix, and consider placing a layer of straw around the plants to protect the fruit from touching the soil, preventing rot. Then, water consistently and feed with a balanced liquid fertiliser for a sweet summer harvest.'

Where to buy strawberry plants:


What fruit and veg can you grow in a hanging basket?

There are plenty of GYO options that work well in hanging baskets, but most experts will recommend trying something like strawberries, blackcurrants, lettuce, salad leaves, tomatoes, or herbs.

'For a lower maintenance approach, I'd stick with drought-tolerant Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, thyme and purple sage (which look great together) to waft in at your door or why not consider mint that will trail over the sides,' adds Zoe.

What are the biggest hanging basket mistakes you can make?

'It’s always best to position your hanging basket in a sheltered spot to protect them from high winds, as this exposure can harm tender plants and also puts the basket at risk of unnecessary damage, which could leave your berries squashed on the floor!' says Patty.

'Produce grown in hanging baskets also require more water than those grown in the ground, as the exposure to the elements drains the soil of moisture much more quickly. Checking the soil in your hanging basket daily during the spring and summer season is recommended to prevent your fruit plants from drying out and wilting.'

Sean adds that it's important, too, to 'regularly feed your plants with a balanced liquid fertiliser during the growing season.'

What kind of hanging basket works best for fruit and vegetables?

As with all container gardens, Zoe says that the size of the container and the growing medium is very important to get right. 

'Go for the biggest sized one you can and then fill it with soil based compost, as this will often retain more moisture than a multi purpose one,' she advises. 

Patty, meanwhile, says that you shouldn't compromise on your aesthetic when choosing your hanging basket.

'The vibia campana hanging basket is available in seven colourways, including terra, anthracite, honey yellow, sage green, pistachio green, living concrete and silky white,' she says, adding that it 'is frost-resistant and suitable for all seasons, so your precious fruit, vegetables and herbs can be perfectly complimented for the entire growing season.'

How do you grow fruit and vegetables in a hanging basket?

While it's always advisable to research your plant's individual needs (check the label if you aren't sure), Zoe says a good rule of thumb is to 'plant your crops and then cover the top with a top dressing mulch or cardboard to help lock in the moisture'. 

'You'll need to water your hanging baskets daily (sometimes twice in very hot weather) and feed them weekly for best results during the growing season,' she adds.

And just like that, the hanging basket GYO trend is our new favourite way to grow fruit and vegetables. Will you be trying it for yourself at home?

Kayleigh Dray
Acting Content Editor

Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.