Happy hanging baskets

Hanging baskets on the porch and in your garden are a stunning way to add interest and color at varying heights. Flowering plants, that looked lovely in the spring, begin to fade away as fall approaches but hanging baskets can rejuvenate the landscape.

Planting flowers in a hanging basket presents a challenge: choosing plants that will perform well, despite the limited growing room. Fortunately, there are many varieties of annuals and perennials that are a suitable choice for hanging basket flowers.

Best plants for a hanging basket

  • Petunias – Great for hanging baskets as they tend to mound and pour out over the sides of the basket. The cascading effect, along with their plentiful blooms, makes for a beautiful addition to your home!
  • Begonias – Talk about easy care! Most varieties of begonia grow great in sun or shade, making them a great choice for a hanging basket. They provide a full, drooping effect. Some varieties, such as Dragon Wing begonias will grow 2-3 feet tall and branch out with 5-inch long leaves.
  • Impatiens – Impatiens are shade-loving plants, so they grow great in hanging baskets in areas that don’t get hit by the sun in the heat of the day.
  • Fuschia – What a stunner for hanging! Fuchsia plants have a unique flower design and love the shade (too much exposure to the sun will require more watering to avoid wilting down). They also don’t care much for the heat.
  • Lantana – Beautiful mounding spreaders, these plants will produce small clusters of blooms with bright colors. Due to their spreading nature they are perfect for hanging baskets, as they’ll reach out over the edge and drape down the side of the basket. They are also drought resistant.
  • Verbena – Similar to lantana, verbena will spread out in a hanging basket and produce flowers vigorously.
  • Purslane and portaluca – Great choices for hanging basket flowers. The blooms in a wide variety of colors and succulent-like vines are often used for container gardening and filling a hanging basket up. They, too, are drought resistant.
  • Sweet potato vines – These vines are chosen as the spillers of many containers and are available in black, bronze, lime green or darker green. Speaking of green, a combination of sweet potato vine, variegated ivy, and creeping jenny makes for an eye-catching basket of green.
  • Geraniums – Either zonal geraniums or ivy leaf  or a combination of both make for a gorgeous hanging basket. The ivy leaf variety will drop over the side of the basket.
  • Ferns – Who could forget the Southern staple of front porches? Ferns are airy, delicate, and beautiful especially while sitting on the front porch sipping a cold lemonade.

How many plants do you put in a hanging basket?

Another thing to consider is the size of the hanging basket. If you have a 10” (in diameter from the top) hanging basket, then you won’t be able to fit nearly as many plants in as you would a 13”+ hanging basket.

Below is a helpful guide to how many plants to put in your hanging basket:

  • 10” hanging basket: 1-3 plants
  • 11” hanging basket: 1-5 plants
  • 12” hanging basket: 1-6 plants
  • 13”+: fill in the areas that you can.

Care for hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are more needy when it comes to fertilizer because of the smaller volume of soil. Incorporate slow-release fertilizer into the soil in advance of planting. Also, schedule half-strength liquid fertilizer (balanced mix) applications every two weeks over the basket’s lifespan.

Maintaining uniform moisture in the container will likely require more watering during warmer months. Moisture retention products, when properly measured, prepared and incorporated into the planting soil, will help with potential moisture deficiencies.  Read package labels on how to use these materials. Also, add additional drainage holes to prevent over saturation of your plants.

Hanging baskets are a little heaven for the eye to follow with low, medium, and taller shepherds hooks in your garden. When the summer flowers start to wane, think of fall and cooler temperatures. Plant some pansies to enjoy in the months ahead.

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