Keep Your Coir Hanging Baskets from Drying Out

container gardening picture of hanging basket
Fuchsia in a Coir Hanging Basket. Kerry Michaels

For years, I used hanging baskets with coir or moss linings and couldn't keep them from drying out. Because air and wind can dry out the soil in what seemed like a nanosecond, sometimes I would have to water two or three times a day, particularly if it was hot or windy, and the plants would still die. Many plants hate and would get stressed from the cycle of drying out and then getting watered and die prematurely.  

Everything got decidedly better when I started lining my baskets with plastic. I use anything I have around - plastic wrap, a cut-up grocery or garbage bag or even bubble wrap. The key is to make sure you leave plenty of drainages and make sure the plastic sits below the rim of the basket so you don't see it. You then fill your basket with potting soil and plants and the basket will retain moisture for much longer.

What Should You Line the Inside of Your Hanging Baskets With?

  • For plants that like to stay moist, I line the inside of the whole hanging basket. I cut holes in the bottom of the plastic and just stuff it so it fits inside the basket - no need to be tidy - but make sure the holes don't plug up because your basket will still need drainage. Make sure to keep the plastic below the rim either by cutting it or folding it.
  • For plants that like it drier, I just line the sides of the basket so water can freely drain from the bottom.

Either way, your plants will be happier because their moisture level will be more consistent and you will save yourself lots of watering.

Other Ways to Prevent Your Plants From Drying Out

Some people swear by water retaining crystals. I don't like them because studies have shown that they don't work and they may be carcinogenic. For more info on water retaining crystals.

I have even read that some people put disposable diapers or sponges in the bottoms of their pots to increase water retention, but neither of those appeal to me.

Another issue that can lead to baskets drying out quickly is that planted hanging baskets that you buy are also often root bound, so there is very little soil, as the roots have taken up all the space. This means that they dry out very quickly as there is no soil to retain the moisture. In this case, you need to give the plants more soil. Either root prune or re-pot the plant adding more potting soil.

Another way to keep your pots from drying out is to add a topdressing. You can use moss or small stones which will help keep the water from evaporating from the soil on the top of your pot. just make sure your topdressing doesn't stop the water from getting to the soil.