Is there anyone who doesn’t like the outdoors decorated with colourful blooms? Have you ever been inspired by well-designed hanging baskets in the front garden of your neighbours?
It is easier than you think to plant a professional-looking hanging basket at your home. You can easily create your own hanging basket full of flowers, fruits, or even herbs. You might be wondering is it possible? Of course, it is.
In this post, you’ll learn how to plant a gorgeous and cost effective hanging basket in simple steps. Moreover, we’ll provide a complete guide of the materials you need, best flowers for hanging baskets, when and how to plant, how to care for your basket, and much more. Just keep reading till the end and don’t miss a single step!
The main purpose of planting a hanging basket is to decorate your outdoors. Generally, it needs different care as compared to ground plants. Although maintenance of a hanging container can be a bit tricky, this post will make you plant a hanging basket like a pro gardener.
1. Decide the best flowers for your hanging basket
One of the most exciting features of hanging baskets is that you can plant colours and blooms depending on your own personal preference. Year on year, you can change the flowers in your hanging baskets to keep the outside of your home looking fresh and interesting.
But let us look in more detail at the plants. Firstly, you have to select the hanging basket plants that can last for a season. Typically, annual flowers are ideal to grow in hanging containers as they last for one season then you can replace them next year. Even if you go for perennials, you have to prune or replace them for the next growing season.
However, you can plant any small-sized plants, such as summer bedding flowers, herbs, young shrubs, and even tomatoes and strawberries!
For the centre of the container, you want to choose an attention-grabbing upright flower, that won’t hide once the other plants blossom. There are endless possibilities depending on your choice, but here are some of the most common upright flowers for hanging baskets:
- Bush Fuchsia
To surround the upright plants, use the trailing varieties to add a cascade of colour from the basket. Here are just a few best trailing flowers for hanging baskets:
- Trailing Lobelia
- Trailing Petunias
- Million bells
You can also choose filler plants to fill the smaller spaces in the basket.
How Many Hanging Basket Plants?
The number of flowers that you can plant at a time in the container depends on both your pot size and on your selected variety of buds. It is better to give more space to strong growing plants such as Pelargoniums and Fuchsias.
Keep in mind that since we are looking to add a wide variety and colours to your basket, and not trying to have our blooms reach their full size and maturity, the general rules for spacing plants in your garden are slightly different than flowers for hanging baskets. A general rule of thumb is to use one plant per inch diameter of the hanging basket.
- For a 12’’ diameter container, you can use 12 plants.
- For planting strong growing plants in a 12’’ diameter container, use 4 to 5 plants.
When To Plant Your Hanging Basket?
Normally, hanging baskets are planted earlier than ground plants. However, the best planting time depends on your selected plant varieties.
Best Plant varieties for summer: The ideal time to plant summer baskets is from late spring to early summer. These plants may need frost protection so if you’re planting in spring be sure to keep an eye on the forecast and transfer them inside in case of frost. The most widely used flower varieties for summer baskets are:
- Creeping Jenny
- Million Bells
- Sweet Alyssum
- Nicotiana(Tobacco plant)
Best Plant varieties for winter: The best time to plant a winter basket is early autumn( between September and October). You should select hardy varieties for winters such as:
- Winter violets
- Erica Carnea
- Winter pansies
Similarly, the best time for planting long-lasting perennial baskets is from spring onwards.
2. Gather Your Materials
Here are the materials that you’ll need to plant a hanging basket.
Hanging Baskets: The baskets are available in many different styles and materials. However, the best and most widely used basket is a standard wire basket which can be lined with coco coir or moss liner. It is lightweight and provides a lot of space for holding the potting mix. In addition, it allows the roots to absorb maximum water without water-logging.
Our top choices for the hanging baskets are:
- Solid-sided baskets with water reservoirs (Ideal for hot summers)
- Woven wicker baskets
- Wire framed baskets
Liners: Lining is crucial for a hanging basket as it retains the moisture and prevents water wastage, as well as preventing compost drainage.
Most gardeners prefer coco fibre to use as a liner, which is generally available as a pre-moulded structure according to the size of the basket. Other common liners include:
- Burlap liner is also a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option. These liners are treated with copper for prolonged usage. However, they are not good at water retention.
- Supamoss is also one of the most versatile liners. It has a thick plastic coating that retains enough moisture for plants.
- Sphagnum moss liners are best for hanging baskets that allow effective water retention due to dry and empty cells.
Compost: Use commercial potting mix rather than garden soil to fill the hanging containers. You can use peat-free multipurpose compost that can last for one year.
Irrigation System: Hanging baskets dry out faster compared to ground plants, so it’s crucial to have a watering system that can keep them moistened. Self-watering hanging baskets have reservoirs that stop the water at the bottom and then provide it back to the root system. Before filling the planter with soil, placing a saucer at the bottom will help prevent water from spilling, or you can take a piece of plastic liner and place it at the bottom.
Some gardeners also use a drip irrigation system. But this system is effective for the pressurised flow of tap water. Any blockage may lead to dryness of your plants.
3. Plant Up Your Hanging Baskets
Here’s a step-by-step guide to planting a hanging basket.
- Hanging Basket
- Coco coir or moss basket liner
- A small plastic pot for the base of the basket
- Peat free compost
- Your selected flowers for hanging baskets
- Wall brackets, screws and drill
- Slow-release fertilizer for hanging plants
Step 1-Place the hanging basket on a short pot or bucket to stop it from tipping while you plant. If your basket is not lined, place a sphagnum moss or coco coir liner in it. You can also place water retaining gel crystal at the bottom, however, it is optional. Add slow-release plant fertiliser to nourish the plants throughout the year.
Step 2-Place a piece of a plastic garbage bag at the base of the liner that will act as a water retainer. If using a wire basket, make small holes in the liner 2 inches above the base. Fill the basket with compost up to the height of the holes. If using a solid sided or wicker basket, just full your basket half way with your compost.
Step 3– Push the roots of your trailing plants gently inside the holes (wrapping the roots in paper can help) and use compost to firm the roots of these trailing plants in place. Place an empty plant container in the center of the basket as a water reservoir. However, if you have placed a plastic liner or small pot at the bottom, you may not need a water reservoir.
Step 4-Plant the smaller plants on the edges and upright plants at the center. Once you have planted all plants, fill the planter with compost using a trowel and make sure not to leave large gaps. Finally, water the basket thoroughly. Use a drill for fixing the bracket in the wall and hang up your basket.
4. How To Care For Plants in Hanging Baskets
Now you can sit back and wait for the gorgeous colours and blooms to emerge from your hanging basket! It may not look like much now, but be patient and over the coming months your outside will be awash with buds and cascading flowers.
In order to make sure you get the most out of your hanging basket plants, here are a few helpful tips:
- Water your hanging basket once or even twice a day depending on the weather.
- Fertilise at least 2 times a month.
- At the end of the season, add fresh compost to the basket to promote healthy growth.
- If you notice drooping or wilting plants during summer, take off the pot from the hanger, and soak it in a bucket filled with water. Once soaked completely, replace it.
- Keep inspecting your basket. Cut any dead flowers or brown, faded parts of plants to encourage new growth. This garden chore is called dead-heading.
- Pinch-off any early flowers in order to direct the plant’s energy towards root establishment.
You can buy the best hanging basket plants and materials from your local garden centres, or you can check out some Punchy Promo deals from some of our affiliates below. If you still feel that making your own hanging basket is too much work, you can also check out some of the prearranged hanging baskets at these providers:
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