What’s so great about hanging baskets you say?
Hanging Baskets …
- last a lot longer than cut flowers
- are movable and add interest in unexpected places
- can be bought ready-made
- don’t require digging or weeding
- are beautiful anywhere!
If you are building your own hanging basket:
Select a basket
- Choosing a slighter larger basket will help you maintain your plants later. Using a smaller basket will dry out faster because of using less soil.
- What is your pot made of? Most are plastic or a coco-liner. Plastic can retain water & moisture well, are inexpensive and easy to find. Coco-fibers are very decorative but dry out faster and after time will need replaced. Ceramic pots are similar to plastic, and wood and terra cotta will both dry out faster than plastic but not as fast as coco-fiber.
- Choose plants that suit your environment. Will you need sun or shade plants? Check the conditions where you plan on hanging them, and once you determine this, you can start choosing what to plant in your basket. Some things to consider are: Does it need deadheading? Is it drought tolerant? Does it wilt quickly? Is it heat tolerant? And what color do you want?
Choose a soil
- It’s best to use a good, light organic potting soil. Make sure to completely replace the soil in your baskets every year.
Now that you’ve made all the essential decisions, you are ready to PLANT!
Maintaining Your Hanging Basket
Come Heck or High Water – Remember to water! Water is the hardest part of maintaining a hanging basket, or any other container. If you water too much, it is likely to result in root rot, and if it’s too dry it will wilt and die. You need a happy medium … and here are some rules of thumb for watering hanging baskets:
- Be sure your pot has drainage holes.
- Water only when the top of the soil is dry to the touch.
- Water the plants until the water comes out the bottom.
- Don’t let your pot sit in standing water. This may cause mildewing.
In early spring, you may only have to water your plants 3 or 4 days a week because the plants are smaller and the temperatures are lower. As the plants grow and the temps begin to rise you might have to water twice a day. Wind will also dry out the pots more quickly, especially hanging baskets.
Your container plants only get the nutrition that YOU provide to them. After watering, fertilizer is the most important thing to keep your plant alive and thriving. Try a slow release fertilizer and apply to your basket right after you plant or purchase it. Be sure to follow the directions on the package so you don’t damage your plants. By midsummer, start using a water-soluble fertilizer once every one to two weeks, remembering to follow the directions. By this time the plants are very large and to keep them going takes more fertilizer. You can also use a dose of water-soluble fertilizer after a good hard rain. A lot of water goes through your basket so a heavy rain can wash out fertilizer. A dose of water-soluble fertilizer the next time you water is a good way to give your plant some food.
- Match the plant to the location … ALWAYS! Sun-loving plants = sunny spots.
- Watch for wilting or discoloration. Wilting probably means you need to water. Yellowing can indicate the need to feed. Brown spots, sticky residue or chewed leaves usually means a bug or pest problem.
- Nutrients and fertilizers tend to leach through hanging baskets quicker than other containers so be sure to feed the baskets every 4 weeks with a plant food like Espoma Flower-tone.
- Because hanging baskets usually hang level with your head and eye sight, pinch off any dead flowers to keep it looking fresh, and to encourage more flowers. You can also snip off the scraggly stems. Giving the basket a haircut may rob you of some flowers, but in the end it will increase branching, tighten the formm and help keep the basket looking trim.
5 Favorites for Hanging Baskets
- Golden Creeping Jenny
Fun Ways to Use Your Hanging Baskets
- Hang them … everywhere! Hanging baskets can add color at eye level. Add hangers to your fence posts, patio walls, screened in porches or anywhere else you have space.
- Plant them in the ground. Fill your gardens in a quick snap with baskets of colorful flowers in stead of planting flats of annuals or small pots. You’ll have instant color and satisfaction without all the work!
- Pot ’em up! Choosing which plants to add to your outdoor space planters can sometimes be a chore. Take the guesswork out of planting by selecting baskets mixed with a variety of different plants to add color to last all summer long. By simply removing the hanger from the basket, popping out the plant and plopping it into another planter, you will have quick and instant color! Remember that if your planter is deeper than the hanging basket, you will need to add a little potting soil to the planter.