Raised Bed Gardening
What to Plant in a Raised Bed
Find out how to choose from all the cool things you can plant in a raised bed, plus get some great planting ideas for your own garden.
One of the most exciting things about a raised bed garden is that you can grow almost anything in it, given the right conditions. Imagine the possibilities! There are few things you want to think about before you choose your plants, though. Here’s what to consider, plus some planting ideas in case you’re looking for some guidance. Oh, and don’t worry if you don’t recognize some of the plant names—they’re all quite common and easy to find wherever you buy your plants. Also, if you choose to grow veggies or herbs, start with strong, vigorous Bonnie Plants® instead of seeds and you’ll already be way ahead of the growing game!
The amount of sunlight that shines upon your raised bed garden each day plays a big part in determining the kinds of plants you can grow. Lots of sun (at least 6 hours a day) is the key to success with most vegetables (like tomatoes, peppers, squash), many herbs (such as basil, rosemary, lavender), and fruits (think melons, strawberries). Shady areas are best for ornamental plants like hostas, ferns, caladiums, and impatiens. Check the plant tag or seed packet for sun details.
Sunny Pizza Garden: A sunny spot is an excellent place to grow the ingredients you need to turn Pizza Night super-fresh! Plant tomatoes, onions, peppers, oregano, basil, and Italian parsley. If you like the taste of anise in your red sauce, grow fennel, too, and use the seeds for seasoning.
Raised beds work best when you fill them with plants that need the same amount of water to grow. If you try pairing a thirsty tomato with a dry soil-loving agave, for example, one of them will suffer. Moisture-loving plants that do well in raised garden beds include cardinal flowers, sedges, and monkshood. In a dry spot, try Russian sage, prairie plants (coreopsis, false indigo, big bluestem), Mediterranean herbs (rosemary, lavender), or succulents (including sedums and echeverias). The plant tag or seed packet is your friend here, too -- it should tell you whether or not your plant is a water-lover.
Water-Smart Garden: Cut down on your watering chores with a grouping of succulents, such as golden acre sedum, Matrona sedum, variegated agave, and hen-and-chicks. Then add a few drought-tolerant herbs for spice and color, such as rosemary, lavender, and thyme.
SOIL & FOOD If you fill your raised bed with top-quality soil and feed your plants regularly with the right plant food, you can devote your time to designing your garden instead of worrying about what you can and can’t grow—because you’ll be able to grow everything from strawberries to eggplants, zinnias to purple coneflowers! Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Soil has the perfect weight and texture for growing big, beautiful plants in raised garden beds, drains beautifully, and is made with organic ingredients. Then use Miracle-Gro® Raised Bed Plant Food (following label directions, of course) to supply your little green ones with all the nutrients they need. That one-two combination of Miracle-Gro® soil and plant food will encourage your garden to produce more bountiful harvests and more blooms over the growing season (vs. unfed) when used according to the directions.
Already have an existing raised bed garden? Give last year’s soil new life by adding Miracle-Gro® Refresh™ Soil Revitalizer. When used according to package directions, it helps replenish, renew, and restore many of the essential soil components your veggies and herbs need to thrive.
A Bit of Everything Garden: Everyone loves a sampler, right? Try taking the same approach to your garden, creating a delightful mix of veggies, herbs, and flowers. Plant peppers (jalapeno for heat, sweet banana for sweet), chives, salvia, pattypan squash, dill, and black-eyed Susans—or whatever mixture strikes your own personal fancy. Just be sure to give each plant enough space (check the plant tag).
The depth of soil in your raised bed also affects your plant choices. While many plants need at least 12 inches of soil to grow well, others, like lettuce and annual flowers like pansies, sweet alyssum, and dwarf marigolds, can thrive in as little as 6 inches. Most herbs and vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, produce the best harvests in soil that’s at least 20 inches deep. Check out this article for more info on which plants grow best in which soil depths.
Shallow-Growing Salad Garden: For crisp, light meals straight from the garden, plant a mix of colorful red and green leaf lettuces, arugula, spinach, and Lacinato kale into 6 inches of soil or more. Tuck in a clump of chives for zing, a snow pea vine on a trellis for crunch, and a strawberry plant or two for a sweet bite. For an unexpected culinary splash, plant edible flowers, such as French marigolds and nasturtiums, around the edges.
Perennial plants are ones that are, to put it simply, permanent -- at least for a few seasons. These plants return each year on their own. Some perennials that grow well in raised beds include daylilies, lavender, oregano, rhubarb, raspberries, and hostas. Just know that if you plant these in your bed, they’ll continue to occupy that space for quite a while (unless you decide to pull them, of course!).
Perennial Breakfast Blend: Wake up to fresh berries and flowers by planting dwarf raspberry or blueberry bushes (perfect for cereal and waffles) surrounded by cutting flowers to brighten up your breakfast nook. Consider peonies, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, and Shasta daisies. Annual plants, on the other hand, are temporary. They last for only for one growing season, so you can grow something different in the same space next time around. Some annuals you might want to grow in your raised bed garden are petunias, pansies, basil, lemongrass, and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, squash, potatoes, and onions. Bonus tip: To help reduce the chance of disease and pests, you don’t want to grow annual vegetables in the same spot year after year. Go ahead and move ‘em around!
Big on Blooms Annual Garden: Make your bed into a colorful destination for people and pollinators by planting butterfly-beckoning annuals such as blue and red salvias, zinnias, pentas, gomphrena, and lantana.
EASY-PEASY OPTION: CUSTOMIZED RAISED GARDEN BED KITS
If you'd prefer not to have to pick out each individual plant yourself, consider ordering a customized Raised Garden Bed Kit, which comes with a sturdy raised bed, soil, plant food, and Bonnie Plants®. Choose from 9 different collections, including the Pizza Garden, Salsa Garden, Butterfly Garden, and more. Then just sit back and your garden will be delivered right to your doorstep!