Hanging baskets can be troublesome to maintain, but with careful planning when preparing and planting baskets, and the use of labor-saving products, the pressure eases.
Beautifully luxuriant basket displays require some regular care to stay at their best. Start with as big a basket as you can manage; 35–40cm (14–16in) is ideal.
Plant up with a good quality container compost which has added moisture holding compounds and slow-release fertilizer. Then follow these tips.
Install an automatic irrigation kit or water 40cm (16in) baskets every two days using a lance attachment.
Add slow-release fertilizer at planting time. In midsummer, start adding liquid feed for flowering containers fortnightly.
Regularly remove faded flowers and yellowing leaves to keep plants producing new blooms and to reduce disease.
Access for tending hanging baskets can be a problem but installing a pulley device makes light work of watering and dead-heading. The device is attached to the wall bracket and the basket hooks on the other end. You can pull the basket down to a comfortable working height and then guide it back up to its original position.
Hang the basket at a height where you can reach the base.
The basket pulls down so you can water, feed, and dead-head your plants with ease.
Types of Hanging Plants
If you can’t water baskets regularly or install irrigation, use bright heat and drought-tolerant plants. To maintain a basket’s good looks, use resilient plants, avoiding drought-sensitive lobelia, petunia, and busy lizzie.
These plants are survivors. Plant them with loam-based compost and water-retaining gel crystals.
- Kingfisher daisy (Felicia amelloides)
- Livingstone daisy (Dorotheanthus bellidiformis)
- Parrot’s bill (Lotus berthelotii)
- Rhodanthemum hosmariense
- Sedum lineare ‘Variegatum’
- Sun plant (Portulaca grandiflora)
- Zonal or trailing geranium (Pelargonium)
These flowers can recover from a few missed waterings – but do not let them dry out too badly.
- Begonia semperflorens
- Bidens ferulifolia
- French marigold (Tagetes)
- Nemesia (e.g. Maritana Series)
- Scaevola aemula
- Brachyscome multifida
- Trailing verbena (Verbena Tapien Series)
Basket flowers often bloom in phases, so add variegated and colored foliage plants too.
- Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’
- English ivy (Hedera helix)
- Golden creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’)
- Helichrysum petiolare
- Lysimachia congestiflora ‘Outback Sunset’
- Morning glory (Ipomoea)
- Trailing nepeta (Glechoma hederacea ‘Variegata’)
Using simple techniques when making up your basket means that plants are far less likely to dry out. Try a waterproof liner that has drainage holes a third of the way up from the base or see right.
Place a plastic pot saucer or even an old ceramic one in the basket base.
#2. Gel Crystals
Follow instructions on packet to add water retaining gel to compost.
Plunge a wilted basket in a bowl or sink of water overnight. It may float and need holding down initially. After recovery, cut out any dead stems and dead-head spent blooms.