Do you struggle every year to decide what plants to use in your hanging baskets? We’ve compiled a convenient guide to answer all of your pressing questions. Whether you need to know how to plant in your baskets or just want some guidance on the best flowers and how to care for them, we have it all.
Hanging baskets are a versatile planting option that can suit almost any outdoor area. If you have a small outdoor living area, baskets are a great way to maximize planting space on patios, balconies, and decks. Even if you have sprawling gardens, hanging baskets can enhance entrances or add color to every level of outdoor space.
How to Plant Perfect Hanging Baskets
Every type of planting has its own unique process. So the more you can simplify the process, the better. Follow these 4 easy steps to plant the perfect hanging baskets every time.
1. Choose Your Baskets
There’s no end to the different styles, shapes, materials, and sizes of baskets available. Each material offers a unique look and different benefits, so it’s all a matter of personal preference. For example, wire baskets are a popular option because of their durability and classic appearance.
However, material is just one element of your hanging baskets. While material will affect the overall look of your presentation, the basket size is most essential in the decision-making process. In this instance, the bigger the basket is the better. A basket that is too small for your maturing plants will require you to prune and water more often. A larger basket will retain water better, preventing the need for constant maintenance and allowing for healthier plants.
2. Line Your Planter
Liners are essential when it comes to basket planting. A properly lined hanging basket will maximize your soil’s water retention so you don’t have to water as frequently. As with baskets, each liner type has advantages and disadvantages, so choose the best option for your needs.
Moss is a great natural liner option that offers excellent water retention and pest resistance. However, it is one of the more difficult liners to work with and requires more effort.
Burlap Liners are a popular choice for organic planting because they are environmentally friendly and cost-effective. However, this lining option retains very little water and requires you to hydrate your plants more often.
Coco Liners are an increasingly popular option for lovers of hanging baskets. These liners typically come molded to perfectly fit specific sizes and shapes of baskets, making them easy to set up. In addition, they create a natural and organized presentation that will make your flowers pop.
3. Planting in Your Basket
First, place your chosen liner material in your basket. Then, fill your basket halfway with planting soil and add the proper fertilizers. This will provide your plants with the essential nutrients they need since they can’t retrieve them from the ground soil. Now it’s time to plant.
If you’re using seedlings or other pre-started plants, fill the basket to the outer rim, leaving room for growth. You can mix and match plant varieties in the same basket, but be sure to plant the tallest plants in the middle and low-growing varieties closer to the edge. Then, add more soil to fill in any remaining gaps.
If you’re starting your baskets from seeds, place your seeds in the soil making sure not to over-fill so that your plants have enough room to grow. Don’t be afraid to plant a variety of color in one basket!
4. Hanging Your Basket
When your flowers are planted, you’re ready to hang your basket. Once you’ve located the perfect spot with adequate sunlight for your chosen plants, make sure you have a sturdy hook that can support the weight of your basket. It should be able to hold a basket even when it is heavy with water.
For best results, the hook should be anchored in a solid structure, or support your plant on a sturdy Shepard’s hook. Hang the attached basket chain from your chosen support system and adjust as needed. Water your plants as frequently as necessary.
Best Plants for Hanging Basket Planting
Selecting the perfect plants for your hanging baskets can be difficult process. Of course you want flowers that are colorful, but it’s also important to choose a plant that is easy to maintain and does well in your climate. Check out these 5 versatile flower options to liven up your hanging baskets.
1. Black-Eyed Susan Vine
Also known as Thunbergia alata, the Black-eyed Susan Vine is a perennial that can be commonly spotted growing in hanging baskets. Their easy maintenance and cascading vines make them an ideal choice for basket planting. This beautiful plant is one of the few vines that thrive in a hanging basket.
The plant gets its name from its unique appearance – a solid dark center that is surrounded by heart-shaped or arrowhead-shaped petals, which are usually orange, yellow, or white. However, they also come in other color varieties such as ivory, salmon, and red. The green, coarse-leaf vines grow quickly and allow the plant to beautifully spill out of your baskets.
Care and Maintenance
Native to warm and tropical regions, the Black-eyed Susan Vine needs plenty of sun. Soil should be kept moist, as the plant will wilt if it becomes too dry. However, you should prevent the soil from becoming soggy. To keep your plant healthy and thriving, make sure to deadhead occasionally. Also, keep an eye out for white flies, spider mites, and scale, particularly during hot weather. These can be treated using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Geraniums, also known as Pelargonium peltatum, are a popular option for hanging baskets and indoor houseplants. There are many different types of Geraniums, but the trailing ivy variety is best suited for use in hanging baskets. Geraniums offer great coverage and vibrant colors that are perfect for container planting.
These plants bloom from the center, creating semi-double flowers. They also come in a variety of colors such as bright whites and reds, and beautiful pastel colors such as pink. The wide leaves are green and attached to long, cascading stalks.
Care and Maintenance
In hot regions, Geraniums should be placed in areas of partial shade to allow for robust blooms and leaves. Maintaining moderate moisture levels in the soil is important for strengthening these plants and reducing risk of disease and pest infestation. Proper air circulation will also help to prevent mold.
Begonias, or Begonia boliviensis, are native to tropical climates, but grow easily in most environments. This, and their easy maintenance and bright colors, make Begonias a desirable option for hanging basket planting. These flowers are similar to the popular yet finicky Fuchsia plant, and are a great substitute if you live in a hot or humid region.
Begonias come in a nearly endless variety of colors, so they are great for brightening up your outdoor living areas or complementing your existing color scheme. Additionally, this plant’s deep green leaves provide full coverage in your planters. With thousands of available varieties, you’re sure to find the exact plant to suit your hanging basket needs.
Care and Maintenance
Begonias love the sun and do well in humid regions. However, during periods of extreme heat, Begonias will do best when they have partial shade. As native tropical plants, Begonias die with the first frost – to prevent this, bring your plants indoors right before the seasonal change. It is also important to note that the soil should be kept moist at all times. Be sure to deadhead your Begonias occasionally to promote healthy blooms.
Closely related to popular food plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, and chili peppers, Petunias are often used for container planting. The full blooms beautifully spill out of baskets to create an eye-catching look. If you want vibrant baskets all season, choose a petunia species that blooms continuously.
Petunias come in many varieties, so you may come across a range of colors, patterns, and petal styles. They can be smooth or ruffled, and even come in stripes or solid colors. Some varieties have exceptionally large blooms, while others are much smaller. However, the types with large blooms are generally preferred for basket planting.
Care and Maintenance
Petunias thrive in sunshine. While they will still grow when placed in partial shade, their blooms will be fullest when in full, direct sunlight. Keep in mind that because they reside in places of full sun, these plants should also be watered regularly. Other than watching out for disease and pests, petunias are relatively easy to care for when growing in hanging baskets.
5. Sweet Alyssum
Unlike many of the plants on this list, Sweet Alyssum is characterized by an abundance of rather dainty flowers. These small blooms have a charming, delicate look when overflowing out of hanging baskets. The unique appearance coupled with a sweet fragrance make this plant a very popular option for container planting.
Sweet Alyssum is a low-growing plant that has small purple, white, or pink flowers. The leaves, which are typically greyish-green, are small and narrow. The signature scent of this plant is reminiscent of honey and is useful for attracting bees and butterflies.
Care and Maintenance
Sweet Alyssum tends to bloom best when weather conditions are cool. Therefore, this plant is at its peak during the spring and fall when milder weather persists. Similarly, if you live in a region where summers remain somewhat cool, you will continue to see steady blooming all season long. If not, blooms will cease during periods of high temperatures and humidity. That being said, Sweet Alyssum does well in full sun or partial shade. Moderate moisture should be maintained to keep these plants healthy and thriving.
What’s In Your Hanging Baskets?
What are your favorite flowers to plant in hanging baskets? Let us know in the comments below. On your next visit to our Facebook page, be sure to share pictures of your beautiful hanging baskets. We’d love to see them!
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