Hanging baskets are making a comeback – and why not? If you’ve got a small space that needs a lift, they’re perfect and they add instant colour.
There are also a wide range of plants that can be put into hanging baskets such as herbs, annuals and succulents. The key to helping your hanging plants thrive is to feed and water them frequently and to position them in a sheltered site.
1. Choose your plant.
Think about whether you’d like something flowering or edible. Chain of pearls is good for hot, sunny spots because they don’t require much water. Petunias are good for all-year colour. For something edible, herbs like oregano, mint and thyme are always popular choices.
2. Choose your site.
Shadier sites tend to be better for most hanging plants. Most people put them on a wall, balcony or pergola - so you should buy your hanging basket at the same time as your brackets to ensure they match. The choice of chains can also really add to the attractiveness of your display. If you’re hanging on a wall, to add interest you may want to consider hanging multiple baskets at different stages up and down the wall.
3. Choose your hanging basket.
These are available in various sizes but it’s best to avoid the smallest size because it can dry out very quickly. You can also find them available in lots of different materials such as plastic Tuscan styles. These are light and often have water wells. If you want a more traditional look, go for a sturdy wire frame.
4. Line your basket.
If your basket doesn’t have a ready-made liner, you’ll need to purchase it. Moss is ideal to use because it absorbs up to 20 per cent or its weight in water. Make sure it covers the base of the basket completely. You could also use coconut fibre and mould as a liner for a wire-framed basket. Other materials you could use include felt, foam, card and coir. Melaleuca and paper bark are more organic options that you can simply mould into the frame. Be aware that if you are using a ready-made insert, you may need to cut it to make it fit nicely around the edge of the basket.
5. Prepare the basket for drainage.
If you’re using moss as your basket liner, this means you’ll need to place a plastic liner over the moss. If you’re planting in the base, cut five drainage holes in it.
6. Support trailing plants at base.
If you are using trailing plants at the base, you may need to wrap each plant in plastic shaped into a cone in order that it sits upright in the basket correctly.
7. Push the plant through the basket base.
Pierce a hole in the base of the basket. Use one hand to push the plant through the hole on the outside of the basket and the other, to pull the plant through the hole on the inside of the basket. Peel away the plastic.
8. Layer with trailling plants.
Finally build up layers of trailing plants, ensuring you add compost and/or a good quality premium potting mix between each layer. The potting mix has fertiliser and wetting agents which will stop the basket drying out. The top should have trailing and bushy plants so it looks full and lively. Hang in the position you have selected and water well.