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Renter-Friendly DIY!: Make a Hanging Herb Garden

by on Sep 18, 2020

Photo by Holly Wade

Renting can be a real buzzkill sometimes, but we find ways to deal with the non-permanence of it all. In my case, I got stuck with one of the only units in my apartment complex that doesn’t have a window over the kitchen sink, leaving me without a windowsill to display the indoor herb garden I’ve wanted for years and cats who would attack my garden anywhere else. Since above the sink are kitchen cabinets that I cannot drill through (for fear of losing my deposit), I found that a tension rod was the perfect solution to my problems! By planting my DIY indoor herb garden in a hanging flower box, I could hang the garden from a tension rod resting between two cabinets for a drill-free DIY!          

Hanging herb garden

The key to making a hanging herb garden held up by a tension rod is to keep the weight as low as possible. It helps if your tension rod is only extended a little bit as it loses stability the more it is extended. The opening between my cabinets was about 4 feet, so the small tension rod (splurge on a good one!) only needed to extend about 6-8 inches to fit the space. Check how much weight it is expected to hold just to be on the safe side! So far, I’ve found mine to feel very sturdy. Once a week, I’ll remove the planter to get a little extra sun on my kitchen table and make sure to tighten the rod. 

Here’s how to plant and maintain your own DIY indoor herb garden!


Materials needed for hanging herb garden


  • Tension rod
  • Hanging flower box (mine is from IKEA, similar to this one)
  • Fresh herbs
  • Lightweight rocks
  • Organic potting mix


Add a thin layer of rocks to the bottom of the planter. Without drainage in the planter, this will help keep the soil from holding too much water. 


Spread a thin layer of soil

Spread a thin layer of soil on top of the rocks.


Plant herbs in soil

Remove the herbs from their grow pots and add on top of the soil, leaving at least a few inches between each. Fill in with additional soil. Use just enough to fill in the space and cover the roots because you need to keep the weight low.

Note: I used basil, parsley, mint and cilantro. Based on my research, most herbs can grow comfortably together in a single planter!


Someone cutting a stem of a basil plant.

Twist the tension rod in place until tight. Carefully hang the planter box on the rod. The soil will shift to the front and that’s okay!

Now you can have fresh herbs at your disposal whenever you want!

How to Care for an Indoor Herb Garden

Trim herbs occasionally and water them every few days when the top of the soil begins to feel dry. The rocks at the bottom of the planter will allow for drainage so that the soil does not become waterlogged. About once a month, try using an organic fertilizer to water an indoor herb garden. Fertilizer will add nutrients and help the herbs maintain pH levels and grow like weeds!

Since mine are a little far from the window, I remove the box at least once a week to spend the day on our kitchen table soaking up sunlight. Whenever possible, it’s best to place your herbs on a windowsill to get several hours of light per day. 

DIY hanging herb garden
Share this project on Pinterest!

Keep an eye on your tension rod, but as long as your indoor herb garden planter is less than 10 pounds, it should hold up! Who says renters can’t have nice things?!

Want a primer on how to care for your indoor herb garden? Click here to read Herb Gardens 101!

Herb garden 101

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  1. Could you substitute packing peanuts for the lightweight rocks? If so, it would make the flower box even lighter.

  2. Where was the Muffin Tin Herb Garden?. If you’re going to invite someone to look at it, maybe show it on the first Click! Annoying!