No matter how big or small your garden; hanging baskets are the perfect accessory to add a splash of colour. With such an array of plants to choose from this is the perfect project for gardeners of all abilities.
Plants for your hanging basket
- Decide where your basket will be situated in the garden, north or south facing, shade or full sun, these options will determine the type of plants you will need.
- Consider how well the flowers you choose for your basket will go with those already nearby in your garden.
- Consider the length of flowering for the plants so your basket will look its best for longer.
- You might want to mix foliage with seasonal flowers for a textured display.
- You could choose from trailing succulents or annuals with their array of colours.
- Herbs and fruits also make a good choice. If considering this option you may wish to position your basket close to the back door for easy access when cooking.
- Choosing a colour scheme for your basket may make all these choices easier to make.
- Ensure the wall fixings are safe and secure and can withstand the added weight after a good watering.
Planting your hanging basket
- Prepare the compost; mix a handful of controlled-release fertiliser granules and some water-retaining gel into peat-free multi-purpose compost.
- Stand the basket on a pot to keep it steady.
- Cover the inside of the basket with the necessary liner.
- Lay a plastic bag on top of your liner to prevent too much water escaping, making sure the edges are trimmed to keep it neat and tidy.
- Put a 2.5cm layer of compost inside the basket, at the top of the soil make 3 small incisions through the plastic bag and the basket liner, no more than 2 cm long.
- Wrap the stems and roots of the plants chosen for the sides of the basket in paper to minimise damage.
- From the inside of the basket push these into the slits you’ve made until the root firmly touches the liner.
- Unwrap the paper and do the same for the rest of the side plants.
- Add more soil until the basket is two thirds full.
- Add another layer of plants in the same way as before.
- Fill the rest of the basket with soil, leaving a 3cm gap from the rim of the basket.
- Plant the remaining plants as normal at the top of the basket.
- Water thoroughly.
Basket types and maintenance
- There are also many different types of hanging basket available. Plastic models can be flimsy when full, so steel is a better choice.
- If you go away a lot, particularly over the summer months, an aqua lock hanging basket may be ideal as these baskets have a water reservoir in the base to help reduce the amount of watering needed. Alternatively, if feasible, install a drip irrigation system.
- Only leave your basket hanging outside at night when the frosty mornings have passed.
- Water every day, particularly in warmer weather.
- Remove dead heads regularly to encourage flowers to re-bloom.
- Give plants a helping hand with a weekly liquid feed.