11 Best Flowers for Hanging Baskets

Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds With Hanging Plants

Flower hanging baskets Illustration

The Spruce

Do you have a favorite garden flower that always seems to have its head in the dirt, especially after a heavy rain? This flower may be the perfect candidate for a hanging basket. Many flowers suitable for hanging baskets are pendulous, top heavy, or creeping—characteristics that can be a challenge in a garden but perfect for decorative display in a container at eye level or higher.

Plants with tiny or fragrant flowers also benefit from a lofty perch because it maximizes their proximity to our senses. Some hanging basket flowers even attract butterflies or hummingbirds, giving you a close-up view of wildlife antics on your porch, deck, or patio.

Feed Your Hanging Flowers

Flowers in containers typically need extra feeding because frequent watering washes away the soil's nutrients. For many flowering plants, a weekly feeding with half-strength liquid fertilizer keeps them blooming their best.

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Watch Now: How to Care for Planting Petunias in a Hanging Basket

  • 01 of 11

    Begonia (Begonia boliviensis)

    Tuberous Begonias
    Simon McGill/Moment Open/Getty Images

    For those who do not have the right climate to grow fussy fuchsias, begonias can act as a plant double. The half-hardy Begonia boliviensis has the same tubular, pendulous flowers as fuchsias, but can handle the heat and humidity of southern summers. Other tuberous begonias that look great in hanging baskets include the Nonstop Mocca series, which are fully double and resemble roses.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, red, pink, white, orange
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, light, moist, well-drained
  • 02 of 11

    Black Eye Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata)

    Black Eye Susan Vine
    Carl Lewis

    Not many vines flourish in a hanging basket, but Thunbergia alata has the right combination of exuberance and restraint that makes it a showy container plant. The annual vines will scramble up the chains of the hanging basket as well as spill over the sides, sporting 1-inch flowers in white and gold shades.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Red, orange, yellow, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Organically rich loam, neutral pH
  • 03 of 11

    Fuchsia

    Fuchsia Flowers
    Stephen Ehlers/Getty Images

    Gardeners living in areas with cool, wet summers cannot pass up the opportunity to grow this amazing, shade-loving tender perennial. Although the plants do tend to wither in summer weather, you can look for one of the more heat-tolerant varieties, like 'Astoria,' 'Jupiter,' or 'Surprise.' A little fuss will prolong the beauty of fuchsias in hanging baskets. The plants respond well to daily misting, regular fertilizing, and diligent deadheading.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, red, purple, multicolored
    • Sun Exposure: Part sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist, fertile, loamy
  • 04 of 11

    Lantana (Lantana camara)

    Lantana Flowers

     

    stockcam / Getty Images 

    In frost-free areas, common lantana can become somewhat of a thug, growing into a wild woody shrub that scrambles through fences and overtakes flowerbeds. However, the vibrant flower clusters of lantana provide reliable tropical color for a long growing season, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Choose a small weeping variety for your hanging baskets, such as 'Patriot Popcorn' or 'Patriot Rainbow.' If lantana is overly vigorous in your area, choose a sterile variety (like 'Gold Mound' or 'Patriot') that does not grow seed-filled berries.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Combinations of red, orange, yellow, white, pink, orange, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained; will tolerate poor soils
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  • 05 of 11

    Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)

    Hanging basket of Lobelia flowers


    bob davis photography / Getty Images

     

    It is best to think of Lobelia erinus as a spilling seasonal plant for early spring, as it thrives in moderate temperatures. Your hanging basket will be covered with a mass of electric-blue flowers with contrasting white throats that appeal to butterflies. At the end of June, do not waste any time trying to coddle the plants; replace them with million bells, lantana, or another heat-loving plant.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Purple, blue, red, pink, violet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Organically rich, well-drained, evenly moist
  • 06 of 11

    Million Bells (Calibrachoa; hybrid)

    Million Bells flowers
    Maria Mosolova/Getty Images

    This cousin of the petunia will not tucker out when the temperatures rise. Million bells produce little or no seed and don’t require deadheading to stay in bloom. All they need is moist soil and a full day of sun to keep your hanging baskets vibrant.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Pink, yellow, red, violet, white, blue, magenta, bronze
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained, slightly acid
  • 07 of 11

    Pelargonium (Pelargonium domesticum)

    Hanging basket of Pelargoniums

    brytta / Getty Images

    You may know these by the more common name of geranium, but pelargoniums are annuals, while true geraniums are hardy perennials. The bold texture, bright colors, and trailing habit of pelargoniums make them ideal for hanging baskets. Deadheading is necessary to keep the plants blooming until frost.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Red, lavender, purple, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, slightly acid, not too rich
  • 08 of 11

    Petunia (Petunia x hybrida)

    Petunia Flower basket
    ANDREA RAPISARDA PHOTOGRAPHY/Getty Images

    Petunias have always been a classic favorite for hanging baskets, but some gardeners have given up on them after struggling with plants bedraggled by disease and rainstorms. Try milliflora, which blooms continuously without the need for pinching, or multiflora, which performs in hot, wet summers. Petunias are at their most fragrant in the evening, so add a white variety to the moon garden for extra allure. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Purple, yellow, blue magenta, pink, red, white, bi-colored
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Light, fertile, well-drained, slightly acid

    

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  • 09 of 11

    Portulaca (Portulaca grandiflora)

    Portulaca hanging basket


    PeterEtchells / Getty Images

    Place portulaca, or moss rose, in a site where it will receive sun for most of the day. When the plant sits in shade, its flowers close up. Pair moss rose with other heat-loving, drought-tolerant plants, like wandering Jew, which will provide color between blooming cycles.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Orange, white, rose, yellow, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Sandy, well-drained, tolerates moist to dry soil
  • 10 of 11

    Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

    Sweet Alyssum

     

    karayuschij / Getty Images

    Sitting near a sweet alyssum hanging basket is like being in the presence of a fragrant cloud. These flowers have a strong honey scent that attracts butterflies and bees. The appealing trailing habit of sweet alyssum can turn shaggy as the season progresses, so do not be afraid to reinvigorate it with a summer haircut.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 7 to 11
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, loamy, neutral pH
  • 11 of 11

    Lotus Vine (Lotus berthelotii)

    Lotus Vine
    AnjaCibej/Getty Images

    Impress your gardening friends by telling them your garden includes a plant endemic to the Canary Islands. Lotus berthelotii, also known as lotus vine or parrot's beak vine, is in decline in its native habitat, but it is easy to cultivate and propagate from seed and cuttings. Its greenish-gray, needle-like leaves are, in fact, as soft as a feather. Joyful flame-like flowers dot the plant all season when grown in a sunny spot. The Jedi secret to growing this quirky plant is to provide it with daily moisture in a special cactus or orchid potting mix with excellent drainage.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 10 to 12
    • Color Varieties: Orange, red, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Light, well-drained or orchid potting mix