How to Ensure Plants in Hanging Baskets Look Great

Plants that are required to grow in hanging baskets really are being asked to perform in unique situations as the environment within a hanging basket isn’t quite like anywhere else you might put your plants. For example, the area allowed for root growth is a lot smaller than anywhere else, even pots, as pots tend to only have one or two plants of the same type in them, whereas baskets tend to have a lot of different types of plant all thrown together in a small space. After watering the soil they are in and therefore the roots dry out a lot quicker than anywhere else too as the whole area is exposed to the air.
Because of these unique situations it is very important that you start out with good quality plants. If you haven’t reared them yourself in the greenhouse then this means ensuring you buy healthy plants from the garden centre. If you have the smallest suspicion that the plant is diseased then don’t buy it.
You also need to ensure you are using a good quality growing medium too. There are special mixes you can buy that are especially formulated to get your hanging basket plants to perform at their best. They tend to be soil-less compounds and are much lighter than the soil in your garden. It isn’t wise to consider using garden soil for your hanging baskets as this soil contains weeds and disease that will cause problems for your plants. Some of the hanging basket mixes also contain special polymers that absorb water. The idea of these polymers is that when the soil dries out following watering they steadily release water they have stored up. This means your plants will remain watered for longer meaning less distress for your plants from the continuous cycle of complete wetness from watering followed by long periods of being dry.
As mentioned above, one of the unique elements associated with hanging baskets is the fact that you will cram in lots of different types of plant to a relatively small space in order to create the greatest impact. One tip here is to keep the larger of your plants to the middle and put your smaller ones to the outside so they don’t get buried. Keep any trailing varieties to the outside too. For the best results go for the biggest hanging basket you can for the hanging space you have available as this will make more room available to your plants for growth.
Watering is probably the most essential part to maintaining a great looking hanging basket. You should vary the number of times you water your hanging baskets depending on the weather. On hot dry days you will need to water them more because the light soil dries out much more quickly than your normal garden soil. Don’t be afraid to fill the basket with water as it will drain away quite freely. It is probably best to invest in a watering wand to water your baskets as it will make the process easier. It also allows you to put the water directly on the soil rather than over the top of the flowers. You can damage flowers by watering over the top of them in two ways. The first is that they will get damaged by the impact of the water on the petals themselves and the second is through the sun. While water droplets remain on the surface of leaves and petals they act as lenses and in sunlight can actually cause burning.
As well as the water itself, you would be best advised to occasionally add some plant food as the light soil in the basket will lose its nutrients quickly and they need to be replenished.
If you make the time and expend the effort on taking all these steps then you will be rewarded with stunning looking hanging baskets that will last throughout the Summer and if you’re lucky even longer.

Richard Pfeifer
Student. Hardcore web buff. Coffee specialist. Zombie trailblazer. Travel fan. Twitter maven.

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