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Hanging baskets and hanging pots are a great way dress up your house, fences or trellis – in fact anywhere that a basket bracket can be hung up! There are plants available to make a real statement, from seasonal bedding plants and dwarf bulbs to low growing evergreens that can be used for a permanent display.
Decide where you would like to site the basket. Choose a sunny location if possible, although there are plants that will do well in a shady position. Try to site your basket in a sheltered location – this will cut down on the watering required and prevent plants being damaged by windy weather.
Decide what sort of basket you would like to use. There are many types available, from plastic hanging pots that can only be planted in the top, to wire baskets that can be planted in the sides as well as the top, for a fuller effect.
Purchase your plants, compost and a suitable fertilizer and you are ready to plant up!
Types of basket
These are usually made from plastic and planted in the top, although some may have planting holes in the sides. They may or may not come with a detachable saucer that will help cut down on watering. Some have a built in ‘self watering’ system.
These are the more traditional baskets that need to be lined before they are planted up. Moss is traditionally used but there are several other types of liner available. These baskets can have plants put into the sides and base of them, to create a fuller effect.
What you will need
Basket and liner if required
A large pot to support the basket while you are planting it, if the base is not flat
Compost, slow release fertilizer and ‘swell gel’ (water retaining crystals) Suitable plants
Gloves Scissors to cut the liner if you are using a rigid one and wish to plant the sides of the basket
How to plant up
Thoroughly mix the compost with the correct amount of fertilizer and water retaining crystals. Also mix in some water if the compost is dry. Water the plants beforehand and allow then to drain.
Baskets that need to be lined
Balance the basket in a large pot and line half way up with a thick layer of moss or other loose liner. Add enough compost to cover the base of the basket.
‘Plant’ three or four trailing plants in the sides of the basket, by pushing them through the wire. Make sure that the lining material fits snugly around the base of the plant to prevent the compost falling out until the plants have established. Add more compost, gently pushing it down around the roots of the plants. Continue to add layers of plants, liner and compost. Two layers of plants evenly spaced around the sides of the basket are usually sufficient.
Make sure that there is sufficient liner around the base of the plants and that there are no holes in it so that the compost escapes. Once the sides of the basket are planted, add more liner and plant up the top. Gently push the plants into the top of the basket, working them in between the root balls of the plants that are in the sides. The basket may be quite congested by now, so add compost as you need it around the roots.
Make sure that there are no roots showing on the surface of the compost. Water the basket well and leave it in a cold greenhouse or sheltered spot to establish for a few days before hanging it up. These are easier to deal with!
Fill the pot with compost and plant the top. Trailing plants that are used around the sides should be angled towards the edge of the pot. Once you have planted the pot, water it well and leave it in a cold greenhouse or sheltered spot to establish for a few days before hanging it up.
Check your basket twice each day for water, especially if it is in a sunny spot. Make sure it feels heavy after it has been watered.
Although slow release fertilizer has been added to the compost, your basket will benefit from a suitable liquid feed added to the water once a week. Remove spent flower heads regularly to encourage more flowers through the season.
These can be planted in the same way as summer baskets, but the addition of water retaining gel is not necessary. Adding this to winter baskets can result in waterlogged compost during wet weather.
Dwarf spring bulbs such as Daffodils and Crocus can be added to winter and spring baskets for extra interest and extent the season.
Permanently planted baskets
These should be treated like any other plants grown in a container. Liquid feed should be used once a week through the growing season and they should be regularly watered. If the plants are outgrowing their container, remove some of the roots and re pot in fresh compost and slow release fertilizer.