Planting Summer Hanging Baskets

Purple Petunia Flowers

Hanging baskets are a great way to brighten up a wall or fence and showcase a colourful front door. They are even increasingly brightening up the centres of our towns and cities, making us feel good with a splash of bright colour in a concrete environment. Hanging baskets are just perfect for growing exotic annuals, particularly trailing varieties and can even provide the medium for a decorative display of vegetables and fruits such as tumbling tomatoes and strawberries. Here is a guide on how to plant a hanging basket and some suitable and decorative plants.

There are a number of different styles and sizes of hanging basket from cone-shaped to round, wicker to metal. Some come already lined, others will need a liner of either moss, cardboard or natural fibre.

Once you have chosen your basket and lined it, place an old saucer in the bottom to help retain water. Then fill half the basket with good general purpose compost. It is also a good idea to mix a few slow release fertiliser granules into the compost to help feed the plants over the course of the summer. Place trailing plants through holes made in the sides of the liner and cover their roots with more compost. This will produce a fuller look to the basket once the plants become established. Plant the top of the basket with more upright, bushy plants and also include a couple more trailing plants around the edge too. It is best to fill the basket with as many plants as will comfortably fit as this will produce a more colourful, dramatic display.

Looking after your hanging basket

If you have included a slow release fertiliser in your compost, this should feed the plants in the basket for up to six months, but an additional weekly feed with tomato food should ensure your basket flourishes throughout the summer. Regular watering is essential. Hanging baskets are often exposed to wind being high up and will quickly dry out in hot weather. During extremely dry weather you will probably need to water hanging baskets twice a day. Early morning and late evening is best.

Plants for hanging baskets

Colour schemes and planting designs for hanging baskets are a personal choice. Hanging baskets planted with a single variety can look just as stunning as those planted with a variety of different plants and colours. For flowers plant petunia, geranium, verbena, lobelia and bidens. For unusual foliage, use cineraria, nepeta, Felicia and coleus. For vegetables plant tomatoes (tumbler) and strawberry. Hanging baskets also make good garden planters for herbs too. Placed at the side of a kitchen door they ensure an accessible supply of favourite culinary herbs like sage, marjoram, thyme and chives.

Jo Poultney is one of two people behind Garden Planters. I have an RHS general certificate in horticulture. Garden Planters source unusual outdoor and indoor planters, and other garden related gifts – whatever your taste, be it traditional, modern or just a bit quirky, we will have something for you. I believe garden planters are an integral part of any garden – they enhance the overall design and say a little something about the person to whom the garden belongs. If you would like to know more about Garden Planters, visit our website at

Source: Jo Poultney

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