A Beginner's Guide to Growing Vertical Garden Herbs in Australia

Growing herbs in a vertical garden has opened new possibilities for maximising space and enhancing aesthetic appeal. The modern gardening method is a solution for growing herbs in restricted spaces, making it an ideal choice for urban dwellers and those with small gardens.

In this comprehensive beginner’s guide, we will discover the several advantages of growing herbs vertically. We will also provide valuable insights on the selection, planting, and care of the top herbs suitable for this unique urban herb gardening setup.

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Why Grow Herbs in a Vertical Garden?

Maximising Space Efficiency

Maximising Space Efficiency: Vertical Gardening for Small Spaces

With the increase in urbanisation, space is a precious commodity for many Australians. Vertical gardening allows you to utilise vertical wall space or even create a living herb wall, efficiently maximising the available area. A vertical herb garden can transform any space into a thriving green oasis, whether you have a small balcony, patio, or a tiny backyard.

High density panting

High-Density Planting: More Herbs in Less Space

In many vertical gardening systems, herbs can be planted closer together than they would be in the ground. This is because the competition for water and nutrients is usually less often with each plant having its own designated space. This means you may be able to plant a larger variety of herbs in a much smaller space.

Homegrown Flavour medicinal herbs natural

Homegrown Flavour: The Culinary Advantages of Vertical Herb Gardening

Nothing can compare to the taste of homegrown herbs. A vertical herb garden means a constant supply of fresh, aromatic herbs, elevating everyday meals into gourmet dishes. Forget about emergency supermarket trips for herbs or settling for stale dried herbs that have overstayed their welcome in your pantry. Experience the joy and creativity when cooking that comes with growing your herbs.

Accessibility and Comfort

Accessibility and Comfort: The Ease of Vertical Herb Gardening

The true convenience of a vertical herb garden is in its easy accessibility. Keeping herbs at eye level or within arm’s reach means fresh flavours are just a snip away. This layout also reduces the physical strain often associated with traditional gardening, eliminating constant bending and kneeling. This is especially beneficial for people as they start to age and have more limited mobility.

Organic Pest Management

Organic Pest Management: Companion Planting in Vertical Herb Gardens

The practice of companion planting, where particular plants are paired for mutual benefits, thrives in a vertical herb garden setup. Certain herbs act as natural pest repellents, safeguarding not only themselves but also neighbouring plants. For instance, chives can help deter aphids that might otherwise damage nearby plants including tomatoes, capsicum and beetroot. This strategy significantly reduces dependency on chemical pesticides achieving a more organic and healthier garden environment.

Vertical Herb Gardens Provide Natural Insect Repellant

Personal Bug Barrier: Using Herb Gardens to Repel Insects

A less-known but highly beneficial aspect of growing a vertical herb garden is its potential to act as a natural insect repellent. There are many mosquito repellant herbs including basil, mint, lemongrass, garlic, rosemary and lemon thyme. Growing these herbs on a balcony not only provides a lush green space and beautiful aroma. They also create a natural bug barrier, making your outdoor area more enjoyable during warm, insect-prone months.

Multisensory Benefits 1

Engaging the Senses: The Multisensory Benefits of Vertical Herb Gardens

Apart from the practical benefits, a vertical herb garden enhances any living space’s aesthetics. Various herbs’ vibrant hues and textures create an appealing visual display that adds life and charm to walls and balcony corners. The scent of fresh herbs when carried by a breeze adds to the sensory charm of vertical herb gardens.

Selecting the Right Vertical Garden System for Herbs

There are a range of vertical garden systems that are suitable for growing herbs and your choice will be influenced by the space available, whether you are seeking an indoor or outdoor herb garden, a commercial vs a DIY solution and budget. We’ll have a look at some of the options and will provide separate reviews of these to help you work out the vertical garden system for herbs that will best suit you.

Pocket Gardens: Space-Saving Marvels

Pocket gardens are ingenious space-saving solutions for growing herbs vertically. These systems typically consist of fabric or felt pockets attached to a sturdy backing, allowing you to plant herbs directly into the pockets.

The pockets help retain moisture while promoting proper drainage. Pocket gardens can be used indoors and outdoors to grow herbs but you’ll need to be aware that as water will drain vertically from them, you should have a means to collect any excess water at the base to prevent damage. You should also consider a protective backing particularly if you are using it indoors to help prevent damage and staining to walls from moisture.

Pocket gardens are perfect for small spaces, balconies, and walls with limited room for traditional pots. Their versatility and ease of installation make them an excellent choice for herb enthusiasts looking to maximise vertical growing space.

Stackable Planters: Modular and Versatile

Stackable planters allow gardeners to create multi-tiered vertical gardens, offering flexibility and adaptability to various spaces. There are a range of sizes available and you can decide on the height you want to build your planter to. You can add herbs to a stackable planter with other vegetables giving you great flexibility in what you grow.
Stackable planters may be on wheels allowing you to move them around and rotate them to access light if you want. Look for models that are When arranging herbs in stackable planters, several considerations are essential to ensure optimal growth and efficient use of space:

Right Vertical Garden System for Herbs 1

Vertical Planters: Utilising Wall Space

Vertical planters are an innovative way to transform bare walls into vibrant herb gardens. These systems feature vertical panels with numerous planting pockets or shelves that can be mounted on walls or fences. The size and shape of the pots varies with different systems so choose what will best suit your space.

As these vertical wall planters are often modular, you can also add to them over time. Starting off with a small unit growing herbs is a great way to get started with a vertical garden – and you can add brackets and pots as your confidence increases with time to grow other produce or decorative plants.

Vertical planters efficiently use wall space, making them suitable for small gardens, urban settings, and even indoor herb gardens. Their vertical orientation not only adds aesthetic appeal but also provides easy access to herbs for harvesting and maintenance.

Trellis-Based Systems: Going Vertical with Climbing Herbs

Trellis-based systems are specifically designed for growing climbing herbs, including certain varieties of mint. They also can suit tomatoes and cucumbers if you want to expand beyond a herb vertical garden. These systems feature a sturdy trellis structure where the herbs can climb and sprawl.

The trellis supports the herbs as they grow upward, utilising vertical space effectively. Trellis-based systems are ideal for larger outdoor spaces and can serve as attractive vertical garden features. They offer an excellent solution for growing vining herbs while enhancing the visual appeal of the garden.

DIY Vertical Herb Gardens: Unleash Your Creativity

Whether you have a small balcony, patio, or even a slender wall, these space-saving gardens enable you to develop an array of sparkling herbs proper at your fingertips. From repurposed timber pallets and striking shoe organisers to stacked timber crates, the chances are endless. Explore our articles to learn how to create a pallet vertical garden and get ideas for DIY vertical gardens. Get stimulated and embark on a lucrative ride of growing your customised and sustainable vertical herb garden!

Indoor Vertical Herb Gardens: Bringing Green Indoors

These innovative gardens utilise vertical wall spaces, windowsills, or even the kitchen backsplash to grow an array of aromatic herbs. Utilise stylish wall-mounted planters, hanging macrame herb holders, or vertical shelving systems to create a captivating indoor herb garden.

Not only do indoor herb gardens give you access to clean herbs whilst cooking, but they also act as a herbal air purifier. Embrace the joys of indoor gardening and raise your culinary creations with homegrown herbs at some point of the year.

Selecting the Right Vertical Garden System for Herbs

Sunlight Requirements

Different herbs have varying sunlight needs. Place taller herbs or those requiring more sunlight at the top of the stackable planter, where they can receive maximum exposure to sunlight. Herbs that prefer partial shade can be placed in the lower tiers, benefiting from the shade provided by the taller ones.

Watering Needs

Consider the watering requirements of each herb. Herbs with similar water needs should be grouped together to prevent overwatering or underwatering certain plants. This organisation will also make it easier for you to monitor and adjust the watering schedule accordingly.

Growth Habit

Take into account the growth habit of each herb. Some herbs tend to spread or trail, while others grow upright. Placing trailing herbs towards the edges of the stackable planters can create a visually appealing cascade effect, while upright-growing herbs can be placed towards the centre.

Companion Planting

Consider companion planting, where certain herbs benefit from being grown together due to their mutual pest-repellent or growth-enhancing properties. For instance, planting basil near tomatoes can help repel pests and improve the flavour of the tomatoes.

Container Drainage

Ensure that each tier of the stackable planter has proper drainage to prevent waterlogged soil and root rot. Elevating the upper tiers slightly can allow excess water to drain down to the lower tiers.

Accessibility for Harvesting

Taller herbs at the top might require a step stool for harvesting depending on the number of levels in your stackable vertical planter, while frequently used herbs can be placed at a convenient height.

Root Space

Consider the root space needed by each herb. Some herbs, like mint, have invasive root systems and are better suited to individual containers to prevent them from competing with other herbs for nutrients and space.

Planning Your Vertical Herb Garden: Considerations for Positioning and Choosing Herbs

Different herbs have varying requirements for sunlight, water, growth habits, and space. Understanding these needs is crucial for their survival and health.

Sunlight Requirements

When selecting herbs for vertical gardens in Australia, it’s essential to consider their sunlight requirements. Australia’s diverse climate offers a range of growing conditions, from hot and sunny to cool and shaded. By understanding each herb’s sunlight needs, you can strategically position them in your vertical garden to optimise their growth and health.

For instance, if you are using stackable planters, taller herbs requiring more sunlight should be placed at the top for maximum exposure. Conversely, herbs that prefer partial shade, such as mint, parsley, and chives, can be placed in the lower tiers benefitting from the shade provided by taller ones. Or try planting partial shade herbs on the side of the planter which is out of direct sunlight.

Water Management and Growth Habits

Watering needs are also important. Herbs with similar water needs should be grouped together to prevent overwatering or underwatering certain plants.

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It’s also crucial to understand the growth habits of each herb. Some herbs like mint and oregano, tend to spread and may overwhelm neighbouring plants if not properly contained. On the other hand, upright-growing herbs like coriander and dill are less likely to invade adjacent space.

Making the Most of Your Space

When planning your vertical garden, think about the physical space each herb needs. Herbs like mint, with invasive root systems, are better suited to individual containers, while herbs with different growth habits can create a visually appealing display.

You can plant trailing herbs such as Greek oregano towards the edges of stackable planters to create a cascading effect. Upright-growing herbs such as basil, chives and rosemary can be placed towards the centre for an attractive layout.

Companion Planting and Accessibility

Companion planting can be beneficial, with certain herbs offering pest-repellent or growth-enhancing properties when grown together. For example, planting basil near tomatoes can help repel pests and improve the tomatoes’ flavour.

Accessibility is also important so think about which herbs you are likely to use most frequently and plant them in easy arms reach. If you have multiple levels on a stackable planter or a vertical wall planter which is high, be wary of planting tall herbs at the top if this makes it difficult to reach them.

Managing Drainage in Vertical Herb Planters

Ensure each tier of your vertical planter has proper drainage to prevent waterlogged soil and root rot. You will typically water from above with the water flowing vertically to lower levels of your garden. Consider whether the plants in each vertical layer will receive enough water. A drip irrigation system could be worth considering to ensure each herb receives the right amount of water particularly in hotter and drier areas.

Understanding the specific needs and characteristics of your chosen herbs will help ensure a successful and thriving vertical garden.

Top Herbs Suitable for Australian Climates and Vertical Gardening

Top Herbs for Australian Climates

In Australian climates, certain herbs are particularly well-suited for vertical gardening due to their adaptability and resilience. Here’s our top choices based on what grows well widely across Australia and is great in a range of different recipes:

Basil: An aromatic herb that thrives in warm climates and adds a burst of flavour to various dishes.

Mint: Known for its refreshing taste and ability to tolerate partial shade, making it ideal for vertical gardens.

Thyme: A hardy herb that loves sunny spots and is drought-tolerant once established.

Parsley: An essential herb in many recipes, it grows well in both full sun and partial shade.

Chives: Easy to grow and perfect for vertical gardens with their slender and upright growth habit.

Rosemary: A woody herb that prefers sunny and well-draining conditions, adding a delightful aroma to the garden.

Coriander: A dual-purpose herb, providing both flavourful leaves and aromatic seeds, adaptable to a range

of lighting conditions.

Oregano: A Mediterranean herb, known for its robust flavour and affinity for well-lit spots, enriching various dishes.



Planting Your Herbs in a Vertical Garden

1. Quality Potting Mix: The Foundation of Healthy Growth

The quality of the potting mix is crucial in a vertical herb garden, directly influencing the health and vigour of your herbs. Select a high-quality potting mix that offers excellent drainage and aeration. It should also be rich in nutrients, essential for encouraging robust growth and enhancing the flavours of your herbs.
It’s best to avoid using garden soil, as it may not offer the needed drainage and could introduce pests or diseases. If is also heavier and could create an issue with the weight of your vertical garden particularly if you are using wall planters. A nutrient-enriched potting mix lays the groundwork for your herbs to thrive in their vertical garden setting.

2. Proper Spacing for Optimal Growth

When planting herbs in a vertical garden, it’s crucial to consider proper spacing to allow each herb sufficient room to grow and access sunlight. Follow the recommended spacing guidelines for each herb species, considering their mature size. Pay attention to the vertical distance between tiers as well, ensuring that taller herbs do not overshadow or shade out the smaller ones below. Adequate spacing will promote better air circulation, reduce the risk of disease, and support the overall health and productivity of your vertical herb garden.

3. Companion Planting for Herb Health

Companion planting is a valuable technique in a vertical herb garden that involves strategically pairing herbs with complementary or mutually beneficial species. By choosing herbs that thrive together, you can enhance their overall health and productivity while deterring pests and diseases naturally. For instance, planting rosemary near beans can repel bean beetles, while basil can enhance the flavour of tomatoes when grown nearby. Research companion planting combinations that work well for the specific herbs in your vertical garden and create a harmonious and thriving herb ecosystem.

Care and Maintenance of Your Vertical Herb Garden

Watering Practices for Australian Climates

Vertical gardens are a popular choice for herb enthusiasts in Australian climates, especially those with limited space in their backyards. When it comes to watering these vertical garden herbs, it is crucial to provide regular moderate amounts of water.

Most varieties of herbs cannot be left without water for days at a time. This is particularly important for hydroponic herb systems, which require consistent moisture levels. To ensure the success of a vertical garden, factors such as sunlight, pot durability, and the structure’s weight-bearing capacity should be considered.

Fertilisation and Soil Maintenance

Soil maintenance plays a vital role in the success of a vertical herb garden. Over time, the soil in a vertical garden may become compacted or depleted of nutrients. To combat these issues, gardeners should regularly aerate the soil by gently loosening it with a small garden fork or hand tool. Aeration promotes better root growth and allows water and nutrients to penetrate more effectively.

Organic fertilisers provide a balanced nutrient supply without the risk of chemical buildup, while regular soil maintenance promotes optimal root growth and nutrient availability. Regularly fertilise your herbs to promote healthy growth and abundant harvests using quality organic fertilisers. By implementing these practices, vertical gardeners can ensure that their herbs thrive and produce flavourful leaves for culinary use.

Care and Maintenance of Your Vertical Herb Garden

Routine Care for a Thriving Vertical Herb Garden

Routine care is essential for maintaining a thriving vertical herb garden. Inspect the plants for signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies regularly. Water the herbs as needed, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged. Adequate sunlight is crucial, so position the vertical garden where the herbs receive sufficient light throughout the day.

Pruning and harvesting herbs promote growth and prevent overcrowding. By following these simple yet diligent practices, you can ensure your vertical herb garden flourishes, providing a continuous supply of fresh and flavorful herbs for all your culinary endeavours.

Dealing with Common Pests and Diseases

When it comes to keeping a vertical backyard of herbs, it is vital to be conscious of the frequent pests and illnesses that can affect these plants. While vertical gardens are much less inclined to soilborne diseases, they nevertheless require suitable care and attention. Tasks such as watering, fertilising, pruning, and pest management help make certain the fitness and vitality of the herbs.

Keep a close eye on pests and address any infestations promptly using organic methods for pest control.

To maintain a vertical garden effectively, it is recommended to water at the base, water infrequently but deeply, ensure adequate drainage, use mulch, and utilise irrigation systems. Additionally, some plants may need to be trained or tied to the support structure to grow vertically. Weed control can be easier in containerised vertical structures than for gardens growing in the ground.

Picking and Using Your Herbs

Best Time for Picking Herbs

The best time to pick your herbs is in the morning when it is cooler.. This is when your herbs will have the highest concentration of oils, giving you the best flavour and aroma. The ideal stage of growth for harvesting is just before the plant flowers, as this is when the leaves are most potent.

How to Pick Your Herbs

When picking your herbs, always ensure you are not removing more than one-third of the plant at any one time. Take the leaves from the top of the plant to encourage bushier growth and continuous yield.
7.3 Washing and Preparing Fresh Herbs After harvesting, wash your herbs gently under cool running water to remove any dirt or insects.

Pat them dry with a clean towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess water. For herbs like basil and parsley, you can pluck the leaves from the stems. For rosemary and thyme, hold the top of the stem and slide your fingers down to strip off the leaves.

Storing Fresh Herbs for Extended Use

Sometimes, herbs produce more than we can immediately use. To keep these fresh herbs longer, various storage methods are available. Coriander, parsley, and mint retain their freshness when stored in the refrigerator, whereas basil prefers to be kept at room temperature on the benchtop. Using these methods, your herbs can stay fresh for several weeks, instead of just a few days.

Picking and Using Your Herbs

For more herbs like rosemary, dill, sage, thyme, chives, and oregano, they can be preserved by wrapping them in a damp paper towel, placing them in an airtight container or bag, and storing them in the fridge. Keep the paper towel moist to maintain the freshness of these herbs.

If you’re looking to extend the life of your herbs even further, consider freezing them. This method allows you to have access to fresh-tasting herbs year-round.

Drying and Preserving Herbs: A Flavourful Tradition

For long-term storage, you can dry your herbs. This can be done by hanging them upside down in small bundles in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator or an oven set to a very low temperature. Once dried, store the herbs in airtight containers away from light and heat.

Using Fresh and Dry Herbs in Cooking

Fresh herbs can elevate your dishes to a new level. Finely chop them and add to salads, soups, sauces, and marinades. Most fresh herbs are delicate and their flavours can be lost when subjected to long cooking times, so add them to your dishes towards the end of cooking.

Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavour than fresh, so you’ll need to use less in your recipes. As a general rule, use one-third to one-half the amount of dried herbs as you would fresh. Also add them earlier in the cooking process than fresh herbs as they need a longer cooking time for the herbs to rehydrate and their flavours infuse in your recipe.

Final Thoughts on Vertical Herb Gardens

Embracing the world of vertical herb gardening opens up a realm of possibilities for anyone, regardless of space limitations. Through this beginner’s guide, we have explored the numerous advantages of vertical gardens, discussed various vertical garden systems suitable for Australian climates, and offered valuable insights into selecting, planting, and caring for the best herbs for this unique gardening approach.

As you embark on your vertical herb gardening journey, we encourage you to experiment with different herbs, explore companion planting, and savour the satisfaction of nurturing your flavourful and aromatic herb haven. With the right knowledge and creativity, you can transform any space into a thriving green oasis that brings joy and delight with every harvest.

FAQ Beginners Guide to Vertical Gardening

Why should I consider growing herbs in a vertical garden in Australia?
Vertical gardens are best for Australia’s confined areas and various local weather conditions. Growing herbs vertically permits you to maximise your developing area, experience sparkling herbs year-round, and create a visually appealing backyard that enhances the aesthetics of your dwelling space.
What are the best herbs to grow in a vertical backyard in Australia?
In Australia, you can develop an extensive variety of herbs in a vertical garden. Some popular selections consist of basil, mint, thyme, rosemary, parsley, coriander, and oregano. These herbs thrive in many climates throughout the country.
How do I set up a vertical garden for herbs in Australia?
Setting up a vertical garden for herbs is relatively simple. First, choose a suitable location with adequate sunlight and easy access to water. Next, select a sturdy vertical garden structure or planter. Fill it with a high-quality potting mix and plant your chosen herbs. Ensure proper watering, and you’re on your way to a successful vertical herb garden.
Can I grow herbs in a vertical garden indoors?
Yes, you can grow herbs in a vertical garden indoors. Choose a well-lit area, such as near a sunny window or under grow lights, and make sure the herbs receive at least 4-6 hours of sunlight daily. Indoor vertical gardens can bring greenery and fresh flavours to your kitchen throughout the year.
What are the essential care tips for maintaining a vertical herb garden?
To maintain a healthy vertical herb garden, water the plants regularly, ensuring the soil remains consistently moist but not waterlogged. Fertilise the herbs with a balanced organic fertiliser as per the instructions. Prune the herbs to encourage bushier growth and prevent them from becoming leggy.
Can I grow herbs from seeds in a vertical garden, or should I use transplants?
Both methods are possible. Starting herbs from seeds allows you to experience the entire growth process, but it requires more time and patience. Using transplants, which are young herb plants from a nursery, provides a head start and may be more convenient, especially for beginners.
Can I use recycled materials to create my vertical garden structure?
Absolutely! Using recycled materials is an eco-friendly and cost-effective way to build your vertical garden. Look for pallets, old wooden crates, or other repurposed items that can be transformed into a sturdy and stylish vertical garden structure.

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