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How to plant perfect hanging baskets

Published: 17th May, 2017

Summer hanging basketsHanging baskets provide vibrant colour at eye level to brighten up a doorway, wall or patio. When planted to form perfect domes, they can often look like the planting is complex and that they should be left to the hands of professional gardeners. Here we’ll tell you how you can quickly and easily establish beautiful hanging baskets you can be proud of.

First, choose your basket. There are a multitude of shapes and sizes to choose from but they tend to come in 3 main materials; Rattan baskets, great for a polished, finished look before the plants have even spread, plastic baskets which are long lasting and great for insulation and wire mesh baskets which allow for the traditional planting in both the top and the sides. That is not to say that you cannot have large displays that cover the sides of the basket without a mesh basket. The trick is in choosing the correct plants that will cascade. Choose trailing plants which will spill over the edges and the basket could be covered within 2 -3 weeks.

Place your hanging basket in the top of a bucket. This will raise it to a comfortable level to work with and prevent it from wobbling around as you plant. Remove the chain from the hanging basket so that when you have completed your creation you won’t rip all the plants off when you lift the chain back round.

Many rattan baskets will come already lined and you do not need to line plastic baskets but if using a wire mesh basket, line it with a wood fibre liner or moss. Then fill with just a multi-purpose compost. Hanging baskets can be difficult to water when hung and dry out quickly so mix some water retention capsules with your compost. They increase in size when wet and hold on to the water to help reduce the need for frequent watering during dry spells.

Unless planting in through the sides of a baskets, always start in the middle. For the most impressive results use as many plants as you can so there is no compost showing at all, even if it feels overcrowded. They may be fighting a little for root space, but they will manage, and after all they’re only going to be there for a season.  Choose an upright striking plant as your centrepiece which will continue to produce blooms right throughout the summer. Ideal plants include Geraniums, Fuchsias or Petunias. Next add your trailing plants around the edges teasing them over the rim of the basket so they are already heading in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to plant them slightly on their side to help the trailing along. Choose from Surfinias, trailing Fuchsias, Verbena, Lobelia, Begonia or even cascading tomatoes or strawberries!

Once your planting is complete reattach the chain carefully. A little trick to disguise the chains is to plant a small trailing ivy just beneath each one and weave the ivy tendrils around the chains. Once it’s filled out a little it will appear that your basket is hanging by the ivy. Do note however, that as the summer progresses it is important that you keep it clipped and nice and tight against the chain.  If not it can be quite vigorous in growth and could take over your entire display.

The final thing to do before you hang your basket into position is to push some slow release fertiliser capsules into the compost around the plants and then tap the basket on a hard surface to settle the compost.  Give it a small top up of compost where necessary so no roots are showing and all plants are bedded in well.

Hanging baskets are high maintenance and will need care and attention if they are to remain stunning for the summer season. As there are so many plants battling it out in a small space, feeding is very important to aid continuous flowering. Water regularly and feed once a week with a high potash fertiliser. Deadhead almost every day.  If it is very windy, take them down and tuck in a sheltered spot for the day or they will end up looking battered.

For the ultimate in quick and easy gardening why not select one of our pre-planted Hanging Baskets. Henry Street has a large selection in store available planted with all your favourite varieties of flowers – no work required!

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