Hanging baskets are a great way to add some different levels and interest to your garden, especially if space is limited. Here we’ll show you how to plan and plant some interesting displays for your garden.
When should I plant up my hanging baskets?
This really depends on what plants you are looking to put in your baskets. You can either plant up Summer annuals, Winter annuals or longer lasting perennials. Suitable plants include:
Summer annuals: Pansies, Marguerites, Petunias, Geraniums, Fuchsias
If you’re looking to plant a Summer basket, you should ideally plant them up from around May onwards when frost is no longer an issue. If you want to plant them up earlier, you can, but you’ll need to guard them against the frost.
Winter annuals: Wintergreen, Ivy, Crocuses, Violas, Small Cyclamens and Primulas
Winter baskets should ideally be planted from September to October – these plants will be tough enough to withstand the frosts.
Perennials: Ivy, Ornamental Sedge, Box hedge
Hanging basket ivy
If you want to plant up perennial baskets, these can be done any time after April, though you should look at your plant’s individual labels for more specific recommendations.
What you’ll need:
Traditional hanging basket displays usually involve lining a wire basket with organic material and then planting the basket from the top as though it’s a pot, but you can now buy solid baskets that feature holes in the sides to poke some of your plants through to add plants to the sides of the hanging basket as well as the top. These baskets don’t need a liner. There are also solid baskets made of woven material such as water hyacinth leaf. Which basket type you choose really depends on what look you’re going for. These instructions are for a traditional wire basket.
Wire framed hanging basket
- A wire basket
- Organic lining material – enough to cover the inside of the basket to 1.5cm depth. This can be a shop bought fibre or cardboard liner, or you could take the green option and recycle some cardboard or pick some moss growing in your lawn.
- Compost – If you’re planting annuals, a multipurpose compost should do the job, but perennial plants would benefit from some John Innes No. 2. Heather plants will generally need ericaceous compost.
- Water retaining crystals (optional)
- Fertiliser plugs or pellets (optional)
How to Plant Your Hanging Basket
Line your basket with your chosen liner to a depth of 1.5cm, and fill the lined basket halfway with your compost, mixing your water retaining granules into your compost first if you’re using them. Start your planting by positioning the plant you want to put in the middle of your basket – this should be an upright plant that you’re fairly confident will flower. Then, plant outwards from the middle, finishing by planting the edge with the plants that trail if you have any.
Liner inserted into basket
Place the rest of the compost around your plants’ roots and press it down gently. If you’re using fertiliser pellets, put these in the compost now and water the basket generously.
How to look after your basket
- Check the moisture content of your baskets’ soil regularly – every day in Summer and less frequently in Winter. The soil should be kept moist with light watering – try to avoid watering the surface of the plant to prevent fungal diseases from establishing
- You can add a liquid fertiliser to the baskets in Spring, Summer and early Autumn. You can now buy 100% natural liquid fertilisers, or make your own
- You can also remove any dead flowers to make sure the plants use all their energy for flower production.
- In the winter, your baskets may do better in a sheltered location, and may benefit from being protected with fleece or a greenhouse on the frostiest days
All project content written and produced by Mike Edwards