Plant a Flowering Hanging Basket

Hanging flower basket
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Have you ever admired a lush hanging basket bursting with blooms at your favorite nursery? A well-designed hanging basket can run from 50 to 75 dollars, putting a significant dent in your gardening budget. You can duplicate the look of a professional flowering hanging basket at home for less money, using high quality materials and dense planting techniques.

  • 01 of 07

    Place the Basket Liner

    Hanging basket liner
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    You have several choices for lining your hayrack baskets. Coco coir or moss liners are the most common materials, offering excellent drainage and aesthetics. Some retailers are offering premium basket liners that increase the water retention of flower baskets, like the MagniMoist liner. These liners are more expensive than standard coco coir liners, but may improve the performance of drought sensitive plants like fuchsias. The least expensive liner is one you create from layers of burlap cut to...MORE fit your planter.

  • 02 of 07

    Insert an Irrigation Helper

    Hanging basket irrigation
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    Most garden centers line the bottom of the coco liner to prevent excess water from rushing out of the bottom of the basket during irrigation. You can place a plastic tray, a piece of plastic garbage bag, or even a new disposable diaper in the bottom of the liner to increase water retention. If you decide to line the entire piece of coco coir for maximum water retention, cut several holes in the liner to allow for drainage and air circulation, unless you’re growing bog flowers.

  • 03 of 07

    Add Potting Soil

    Hanging basket soil
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    The selection of a high quality potting soil is the most essential step to creating a healthy hanging basket. Garden soil is too heavy, and may carry pathogens that can infect your flowers. Choose a lightweight bagged soil mix created especially for hanging baskets. The mix should have a mix of organic ingredients that will feed your plants, like compost, humus, earthworm castings, or leaf mold, and inorganic ingredients that lighten the soil, like perlite or vermiculite. Moisten the soil and...MORE add more as settling occurs before you start planting.

  • 04 of 07

    Choose a Focal Plant

    Hanging basket plant
    Steve Hamilton / Getty Images

    The first plant you install in the hanging basket will be a focal point in the design, so choose a specimen with a long blooming time and vigorous performance. An angelonia, salvia, or celosia would be an attention-grabber at the center of your basket. These plants have upright growth habits with spiky blooms, and won’t get lost in the jungle as your plants mature.

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  • 05 of 07

    Arrange Trailing Flowers

    Hanging basket trailing flowers
    Steve Hamilton / Getty Images

    Surround your focal plant with flowers that have spreading and trailing habits. These plants will fill in blank spots quickly, giving you a full look with fewer plants. Petunias, verbenas, portulaca, and million bells are a few high performing plants to tuck around the edges of your basket. If your basket will be hanging above your reach, choose varieties that don’t require deadheading to ease maintenance tasks.

  • 06 of 07

    Plant Basket Sides

    Hanging basket side trailers
    Steve Hamilton / Getty Images
    An optional step, but one that will reward you with a “blooming ball” look the fastest, is to plant trailing flowers in the sides of the basket. For small baskets, the trailing flowers planted at the basket’s edge will cover the sides within a few weeks, but larger baskets need some trailers planted directly into the liner for extra oomph. You can plant the same trailing plants you used at the edge of the basket for the sides. Use a utility knife to cut several slits into the sides of your...MORE basket. Grasping small transplants by the root ball, insert the root ball into the slit. Don’t worry about damaging the plant, the root ball can take quite a bit of manhandling. Just be sure not to grasp the transplant by the stem, which can break easily.
  • 07 of 07

    Water Thoroughly

    Water hanging basket
    Steve Hamilton / Getty Images

    Water the newly planted basket until you see runoff. Expect to water your hanging baskets daily, perhaps even twice a day when hot, dry conditions persist. If you water in the morning, wet the foliage as well, to discourage spider mites. Fertilize your baskets twice a month to keep them looking healthy throughout the season.