Hanging baskets add vertical interest and height to a patio, and are perfect for showcasing the season’s spectrum of bright colours and beautiful blooms. The most common mistake made is that gardeners use too small a basket, which tends to dry out much faster and doesn’t achieve the lavish look desired. We give you a simple step-by-step guide to creating your own, as well as top tips for maintaining it successfully.
You will need
A coir-lined wire basket – the larger the better
Good-quality potting soil or hanging-basket potting mix
A drip tray about the same diameter as the base of the basket
A selection of plants
How to plant a hanging basket
Water all plants so their roots are damp and ready for planting. Place the drip tray in the base of the hanging basket: this will act as a water reservoir during the growing season, helping to stop the basket from drying out.
Add a slow-release fertiliser to the potting soil and mix well before filling the basket to a depth of about 5cm. Tamp down.
Select a bushy, focal plant that is either flowering or close to flowering. Add more potting soil and firm down around roots.
Select three to five cascading, creeping or bedding plants and plant around the perimeter of the basket. Depending on the size of the basket, a second or third row of plants can be added, positioned so they alternate with the first row.
Add a final layer of potting soil around the roots, ensuring the soil reaches about 2.5cm below the rim of the basket. Water gently until thoroughly wet and leave in a shady place to drain for a few days.
Once filled with soil and plants, it will be quite heavy. Use a steady surface to stand on when hanging the basket and ensure hooks are strong enough to hold the planter.
Plants that work well in hanging baskets
Choose plants in light colours to brighten up shady patio areas, and opt for bright colours if your hanging basket will be in a sunny spot.
Bedding plants that work well on the perimeter include plectranthus, Bacopa monnieri, Nemesia, Calibrachoa, Alyssum, Mimulus and begonias.
Fill your basket with a selection of waterwise and indigenous plants to ensure it doesn’t dry out as quickly. Our favourite indigenous plants include lobelias, pelargoniums, diascia, hen and chickens, helichrysum petiolare, plectranthus, scabiosa, gazanias and geranium incanum.
Top tips for maintaining your hanging basket
Turn your hanging basket regularly to ensure that all the plants grow evenly.
Keep your hanging basket in top shape by giving it a good soaking twice a week, in the late afternoons.
For best blooms, fertilise every two weeks with a liquid fertiliser.
Remove dead flowers and yellowing foliage.
Try not to allow plants to become leggy – rather trim lightly and regularly.