How to plant a hanging basket

Nick Moyle and Rich Hood

What better way to spruce up your garden or the ouside of your house than eye-level floating flowers? Find out how to plants hanging baskets, here

Summers arrival brings with it bright floral displays brightening up shops, pubs and train stations, hanging in baskets loaded with all the colours of the rainbow. Hanging baskets are a great, and relatively cheap, way of adding colour to an otherwise drab exterior wall and now is the perfect time to plant one up.

Choose your basket

When picking a basket, you need something that will allow for water drainage, but won’t leak so rapidly that your plants are always dry. Most baskets will have a lot of roots in a small amount of soil, so keeping them hydrated is your biggest challenge.

There are numerous plastic containers fit for the purpose but by far the most popular choices are wicker weaves. If you’re going down this route, you’ll need to make sure it’s lined with plastic that has a few holes punched through it or one of the increasing number of organic linings on the market.

 

Designing your planting scheme

You could simply stuff your basket full of summer favourites like petunias and let them get on with it for a simple, fuss-free blast of colour. Or you could construct something that creates a little more interest and maximizes coverage.

To do this, pick out a plant with height and put it either in the middle or in the position that will be adjacent to the wall. In front of this go for shorter plants that are full of bright blooms, with a few trailing plants around the edge.

 

Planting your basket

Most baskets are curved, making them wobbly when resting on a flat surface. To provide a sturdy support and avoid compost spillage, rest the basket in a bucket before you begin.

Make sure your lining is tucked below the rim of the basket to avoid it being visible then fill it two thirds deep with a good all-purpose compost. If you’ve got a few pounds to spare you could further help growing conditions by adding some water retaining granules and slow release plant food.

Arrange your plants in the basket according to your design, being aware of how wide they’ll grow to avoid overcrowding, then fill the rest of the basket with compost, securely firming the plants in as you go. Give them a good watering then hang them in place and wait for them to go colour crazy.

 

Five of our favourite hanging basket plants:

Fuschia

An all-round classic, with some varieties that grow tall and others that remain stocky or hang over the edge. As an added bonus you can eat their berries.

 

Pelargonium

Another plant with varieties that will stand tall and proud or hang over the edges, their colours are often intense and they have a wonderfully rich fragrance.

 

Nicotiana

Another highly scented plant that will give you some attractive upright growth.

 

Ivy

Stick an ivy on the edge of your basket and it will roam down low, with its bright green leaves providing the ideal platform for the colours above.

 

Tomatoes

Trailing cherry tomatoes amply fill a basket with the bright green of their foliage and reds or yellows of the fruit and, in late summer, will give you the opportunity to much on something after each watering session.