Using a flower bag or pouch is a variation on the classic hanging flower basket. These bags come in many styles, but the most common type is a tall, narrow plastic or nylon fabric bag with hanging straps at the top and openings cut into the side of the bag for planting flowers. Another popular type has soil pouches attached to a vertical strip of fabric.
You can get your flower bags online or at a nursery, though not all retailers carry them. They are fairly inexpensive and some of the heavier duty flower bags can be used for more than one season.
Lots of plants work well with flower bags. Petunias, impatiens, begonias, verbena, pansies, and trailing lobelia are often used, but you can also use more unusual plants to great effect, too. They can also be used to grow herbs and leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, chard, spinach. However, most flower bags are too small to successfully grow tomatoes and other larger vegetables.
Equipment / Tools
- Garden Trowel
- Binder Clip or clothespins
- Planter bag
- General-purpose potting mix
- Granular slow-release fertilizer
- Annual garden plants
You may be able to repurpose a reusable tote bag for groceries or books into a hanging planter by filling it with potting mix and cutting slits in the sides for plants. This works best with fairly small bags, as the flower bag will get somewhat heavy when it is filled with potting mix and watered. The best bags for this purpose are made with a fiber-reinforced plastic fabric rather than standard textile cloth.
Prepare and Add Potting Mix
If your potting mix does not have fertilizer already mixed in, blend in some slow-release fertilizer, following the directions on the package. All-purpose organic fertilizer is a good choice.
To add soil to the planter bag, hold the empty bag upright and add a few scoops of the prepared potting mix Make sure that the bottom corners are full of soil, then continue filling the bag until the potting mix is nearly to the top.
Settle the Potting Mix
Hold the planter bag by the top and tap the bottom of it gently on the ground several times to help settle the soil. After you do this, check the soil level because it may have compacted. Add more potting mix if needed, leaving an inch or so between the top of the soil and the top of the planter bag.
Secure the Top of the Planter Bag
To prevent the potting mix from falling out as you add plants to the bag, fold over the top of the flower bag and secure it with binder clips, tape, or clothespins. This step makes the planting process much easier.
Prepare the Plants
Remove each seedling from nursery container. To make it fit the hole, you might have to tear some roots off. It sounds radical, but don’t worry, most plants will recover very quickly, and it is actually good for the plant if it's root-bound. You can also try dipping the plants' roots in water and then rolling the root ball between your hands to form it into a narrower shape that will fit into the holes more easily.
Using two fingers, reach through the hole in the planter bag and push the potting mix aside to form a small pocket.
Plant the Bag
Before adding plants, either lay the flower bag flat or prop it up at an angle. Stuff each plant into a hole in the bag. Be as gentle as possible, but you may need to be a little forceful to get the roots to fit. Try to make sure the plant is inserted into the hole just far enough so that the root ball doesn't stick out of the bag—you don't want to cover the plant's crown with soil.
When you have finished planting all the holes, prop the flower bag upright and remove the binder clips. Hold on to the top of the flower bag and tap the bottom gently on the ground a few times, to help settle the soil around the plants.
Check the level of the potting mix again and add more if necessary. Finish planting by adding two plants to the opening at the top of the Planter bag. This is a good place to use your biggest plants because you won't have to compress them to fit.
Water the Planter Bag
Water your finished flower bag generously, but slowly. The goal is to allow water to seep all the way to the bottom of the bag; if you are too impatient, the water will simply run off the top of the bag without penetrating to the bottom. To check, squeeze the bottom of the bag gently and see if water drains out of the lowest holes.
Hang and Maintain the Planter Bag
Leave your finished flower bag lying down or propped up slightly in a sunny, sheltered spot for seven to 10 days while the plants acclimate and get over any trauma they may have experienced. During this time, make sure not to over-water your flower bag, but when you water it, do it generously, making sure the water reaches the bottom plants.
When your flower bag is ready, hang it from a hook, nail, or from a railing. Your planter bag will need to be watered frequently, especially during warm weather. Planter bags typically hold less potting mix than do large planters, so the soil dries out quite quickly. It's not uncommon for a planter bag to need two or three waterings a day during hot summer weather. To know if the bag needs water, poke your finger about 1 inch into the soil—if it feels dry to the touch, it's time to water.
Fertilize your flower bag regularly with a diluted, water-soluble fertilizer, such as fish emulsion. Because they are getting watered so frequently, nutrients leach out of the potting mix rather quickly. Monthly feeding is mandatory with a hanging flower bag. Deadhead spent flowers as the blooms fade.