Hanging baskets offer a colourful and rewarding addition to your garden. There are several aspects to be considered in cultivating hanging baskets, from the choice of the basket through to the choice of seedlings to grow.
Choosing a basket is not too difficult. I prefer those with an open wire construction rather than solid baskets. While they may dry out more quickly, you can plant through the wire sides to cover the basket. By contrast, solid baskets preclude this and the solid base becomes the visual feature.
Wire baskets require a liner. There are different types available, but choose a liner that is easily penetrated to permit plants to be inserted through the side of the basket. Copra and plastic liners are difficult for this purpose but recently introduced dry sphagnum liners are excellent. Place one of these, of a suitable size, into your basket, open it out and lightly moisten it.
Select a good quality potting mix. Debco Terracotta & Tub is ideal because it contains water storing granules to hold water for dry periods and SaturAid to ensure water take-up, essential if the mix is to stay moist.
Begin to plant your basket by placing a layer of potting mix in the base of your basket.
When selecting plants for your basket, ensure you have an attractive colour scheme that suits your overall garden appearance and use some plants that will trail effectively if planted into the side of your basket. The top planting of your basket can include both upright and trailing plants to achieve the best effect. Ensure that all plants you choose will grow in the same conditions and in the conditions available to your basket, that is, in sun or shade.
Begin planting by using trailing plants in the sides of the basket. This could include lobelia, trailing pelargoniums, alyssum, trailing fuchsias or any other trailing plants able to cover the lower part of the basket.
Place three trailing plants in the basket at the level of your initial layer of potting mix, locating them so that they are approximately equally spaced around the basket. Cut through your liner using a sharp knife where required. Gently push the plants through the liner from inside to outside and be sure that the roots are bedded down in the mix. Add more potting mix to the basket before planting another group of plants higher up and alternating their planting position with that of the ones you've already planted.
Continue this process until the basket is full, the number of layers depending upon the depth of the basket.
Now plant the top of the basket with your selected display plants. I like to combine foliage and flower plants for a really lush display.
Water your planter thoroughly and hang it securely in place. Feed it fortnightly with Debco Plant Food and water consistently, up to three times each day in hot, dry weather, to maintain good growth and flowering.
Prune and clip plants as required to retain vigour and turn the basket from time to time to expose all the plants to even light exposure. You'll love the results.