Can I grow herbs in an indoor wall-mounted planter?
October 24, 2012 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Can I grow herbs that hang on the wall indoors and make them look nice too?

I'm getting two of these for our apartment, and wondering how to best use them.

We're planting to mount them on a wall adjacent to a large east-facing sliding glass door, so they can get plenty of light for a few hours in the morning (we're at a lower latitude so that helps). The rest of the time it's just indirect light.

We'd like to have several plants in the same pot for variety -- they're pretty big (24" x 15"). I'm unsure though if we are able to grow herbs this way. We're thinking stuff like chives, thyme, cilantro (or Vietnamese coriander) and sage, plus some low-maintenance decorative stuff in there to make it look nice. But we have black thumbs so we're unsure what to plant, or whether to punt on herbs and just do decorative stuff.

posted by RobotVoodooPower to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Sage and thyme both tend to be low plants that can spread a bit (thyme moreso than sage), but a lot of that depends on the variety you're planting. Chives grow up, although only to about 2', and narrowly, so it could be a good accent piece. Cilantro can be managed, but if it isn't trimmed regularly grows pretty high and wide and then goes to seed and invades everything.

So I'd think sage and thyme and even chives can coexist with relatively low-maintenance, cilantro/coriander will probably need regular trimming, harvesting, and re-planting or it will overrun the sage and the thyme.
posted by straw at 10:17 AM on October 24, 2012

I personally don't think that herbs will get enough light if they are on an interior wall rather than sitting directly in front of a south-facing window.

When the sun is shining in through an east-facing window, the walls on either side are still not getting direct light, even though they are receiving more reflected light than at other times of the day. Light levels are tricky for humans to judge because our eyes are so adept at adapting. Here's a good presentation of the problem (specifically addressed to the needs of growing orchids; the light needs for herbs are much greater than the light needs of even high-light-need orchids).
posted by drlith at 11:26 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sage can get leggy in low light, and thereby unattractive.

I have perilla a.k.a. shiso growing right now inside, and, although it's a mint, it remains pretty tight, short, and unaggressive to the rest of the planter. Beautiful dark green leaves with purple undersides, no higher than 10". The flavor isn't known to most Western cooks, but it's wonderful! Worth having around; I started mine from leftovers of a bunch used to make something or other this summer.

Thyme and oregano can both trail off the edge nicely. Chives are beautiful. Green onions, too!
posted by IAmBroom at 11:28 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

That will not be anywhere near enough light for any full sun Mediterranean herbs. You are going to do best with shade plants. the light intensity of an east-facing window at five feet distance is 300 foot candles until noon or so; full sun plants are best with eight hours minimum of 10,000 foot candles (outdoor conditions). Even shade outside is 500-1,000 foot candles of light intensity.

if you still want to try some edibles, mint often tolerates shade. Look for varieties with glossy green leaves, and not fuzzy.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:15 PM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all! I guess I'll steer clear from the herbs for now, though I might try mint.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:25 PM on October 24, 2012

OK, thanks for asking this question. Because of it, I'm considering adding wall planters as decor in my well-lit library, and after writing my answer above on shiso, I've decided it's a beautiful plant that I always want around for decoration; the edibility is just a plus.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:29 AM on October 25, 2012

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