Garden: Add Color with Hanging Baskets

Cary, NC- Not everyone wants to dig up their yard to be able enjoy some flowers in the summer. Some of us do better with containers. 

I personally enjoy hanging floral arrangements from baskets on either side of my front door or outside on my porch. I have also been known to purchase a few shepherd’s hooks and hang potted arrangements along my front walkway.

With a few basic supplies you can achieve eye-catching results that will last throughout the summer and even into the fall.

What You Need

Look at the area you wish to add the baskets. Is it sunny, partly sunny or shady? That will determine the best plants for the basket. Ivy and ferns do well in a shady spot, but geraniums and petunias like sun. You are doomed to failure if you don’t pay attention to the light requirements and the plants that succeed in those conditions.

Next, find the type of hanging container that you like. Some folks prefer a lightweight plastic pot with chain link to hang; others like open wire and place coconut husks liners in them. I prefer this last type because it is biodegradable and has a more natural appearance. It’s really up to the gardener’s personal preference.

Once a container has been selected, place a small amount of stones at the bottom to aid in drainage but not so much as to weigh down the pot or take up too much room.

Have you selected your plants? A good rule of thumb for an eye-catching display is the rule of threes. Pick a trailing plant, a medium bushy plan; maybe this one has the flowering color and them some taller, maybe a grass. Or if you want a uniform display, get three small plants that are the same species but perhaps in two colors for some contrast.

A Coco liner is biodegradable and provides excellent drainage

A Coco liner is biodegradable and provides excellent drainage

How to Achieve Success

Soak them in a bucket filled with water and some Miracle-gro or other liquid fertilizer. This gives them an initial deep watering to help the roots get established early. Cut apart any pot-bound roots to encourage new root growth. Soak for about 10 minutes or more.

Add a nice layer of loose potting soil to the bottom of the pot. Add your drained plants in a pleasing arrangement and place them in the pot on top of the soil layer. Start to fill in additional potting soil around the root balls to be even with the where the soil meets the stems of each plant.

Pat down. Water thoroughly. If the soil has sunk down around the plants, add additional soil around the base of each plant to be once again even with where the stems meet the original soil line of the packaged plants.


Don’t forget about your lovely plants – they won’t water themselves! But only water when the soil is dry to the touch. If you see dry or yellowing leaves, pick them off along with dead flower heads, which will encourage additional blooming on annual flowers. Over watering is just as bad as under watering.

If you realize you picked a plant that loves the sun and your spot turns out to be shady, never fear: just move your pot to another location in the garden. There is no shame in making gardening mistakes – that’s how we learn! Next year, you will pick something more suited to the space and this year, maybe a shepherd’s hook will be your friend because you can stick them in the ground anywhere on your property for a spot of color. That’s what I do!

Now go enjoy!


Story by Lindsey Chester. Photos by RBH and by Andrea.

The Gardening Column is sponsored by Garden Supply Company on Old Apex Road in Cary.