Cary, NC — Don’t you love the hanging baskets shown at garden centers this time of year? They are beautiful and easy to make; here’s how you can do it yourself.
Pick a Hanging Container & Liner
First, pick a hanging container. We like lightweight wire baskets that come with three chains hanging from a central loop that the basket will hang from.
The container size should match the area you wish to hang it from–not so big that it overpowers your porch, but not so small that it won’t hold enough soil to plant in.
Next, pick out a coconut husk basket liner. These can be purchased very inexpensively, and, if you desire, they can be composted at the end of the season after your plants have wilted.
Fit the liner into the basket.
Pick Your Plants
Now for the fun part–picking out your plants! I like to put two types of plants in each basket and, using the rule of threes, I take two plants of one variety and one of a second variety. Some folks like all one type of plant–do whatever floats your boat.
Remember that the plants will grow and fill the basket up through the season, so don’t overcrowd to start. The best types of plants for hanging baskets usually have some trailing qualities.
Ivy, ferns, petunias, vinca and verbena all work well. You want the plants to be bushy but to trail over the sides. Look for plants that compliment each other well. If you are choosing a bright flowering plant, contrast it with trailing ivy that has dark leaves.
Or, if the flowers are dark purple, you can contrast with lime green vinca.
Water & Soil
To ensure your plants have a good start, get a bucket of water and add a tablespoon powdered Miracle Gro (the aqua colored powder) and mix well. Keeping the plants in their original containers, submerge to the point below the soil line until bubbles stop emerging from the soil.
This will ensure your plants are well-watered before you plant them. Many times, plants at garden centers are pot-bound and starved before you get them. This will give them a good start.
Now, get your fancy potting soil. We like to use a Miracle Gro variety that has nutrients added. Annuals in these baskets will soak up a lot of fertilizer to continue to bloom all summer. Add soil to the bottom of the basket, leaving about 3-4″ from the top of the basket edge.
Next, remove your plants from their original containers. If they are pot-bound (roots all massed together) cut the roots with pruning clippers in long slices down the sides of the root ball to loosen up the plant and encourage fresh root growth in their new home.
Place these specimens evenly in the new pot, about three plants to a container. Top off with additional potting soil to just even with the top of the root ball. Don’t bury your plants, they don’t like that! Make sure they have enough room to grow by not crowding. Water your container thoroughly.
Hang it up! These look great on a porch or on either side of a doorway.
Care for Your Plants
Water your plants when the pot feels light. In the heat of the summer, this may be every day. The coconut husk liner will make sure you don’t over water, as it will drain well.
If you have heavy feeders like begonias or pansies, occasionally sprinkle in some pelletized fertilizer (like Osmocote). Happy summer!
Story and photo by Lindsey Chester.
The garden column is sponsored in part by Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary.