Planting hanging baskets
The principles are the same as for planting a container, although the process is slightly more complicated. You will need plants, a clean hanging basket, a liner (coir, recycled paper, wool, foam or traditional moss) and good quality compost. (Some composts are specially formulated for hanging baskets and contain slow release fertiliser and water retaining granules.)
How many plants do I need?
We recommend about 6 plants for the top of a 30cm basket and another 4-8 for the sides depending on the depth of the basket.
What design should I follow?
Again - this is where your artistic skills come to the fore! Plant with single varieties for impact. Trailing petunias, ivy leaved geraniums, trailing fuchsias or pendulous begonias are all spring and summer favourites - but the list is almost endless! Pansies and violas are a favourite for autumn and winter, and are available in a multitude of colours.
For a traditional, mixed design, look for a larger plant as a centrepiece and surround it with smaller trailing or lax plants. Trailing foliage plants such as golden or silver helichrysum or variegated nepeta are great additions to spring and summer hanging baskets and make fabulous foils for flowering plants. For autumn and winter baskets, choose from the many variations of trailing ivy to complement your colour scheme. Go for a scheme with contrasting or harmonising colours, pretty pastels or flamboyant brights - your imagination is the limit!
How do I plant my hanging basket?
Place the basket on a bucket or large pot, adjust the liner to fit (you may need to make a few cuts from the edge towards the middle to do this) and trim off any excess above the rim. Make horizontal 5cm cuts to accommodate the number of trailing plants you have allocated for the sides of the basket (3 or 4 per level in alternating gaps like brickwork).
Fill the basket with compost to just below the first level of slits. Wrap the plants you are about to plant in polythene to protect them and ease each plant through the slit so the rootball is flush with the liner. Fill with compost, working it around the roots up to the next row or slits (if there is one) and repeat the process. Finally fill the basket with compost to about 5cm below the rim. Plant the lax or trailing plants around the edge and the grand finale of the centrepiece last of all. Surround with more compost to just below the rim of the basket and water in well. Spring and summer baskets should be kept in a greenhouse to establish or in a sheltered spot outside, bringing it inside at night until there is no further risk of frost. Autumn and winter baskets can be placed in their final position as soon they have been planted.