How to create a summer hanging basket

You will need

  • 1 Ipomoea 'Sweet Caroline'
  • 3 Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Cherry'
  • 1 Osteospermum 'Tresco Purple'
  • 6 Diascia 'Red Ace'
  • 36cm metalware basket, grass clippings
  • Multi-purpose compost or peat-free alternative
  • Water-retaining gel, 9cm plastic pot
  • Slow-release fertiliser
Do it: May - June
At its best: July - September


Mixing contrasting colours, such as lime-green leaves and wine-coloured flowers, is always eye catching. Ipomoea 'Sweet Caroline' is grown for its unusual bright-green foliage and Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Cherry' gives an extra zing. We also added Osteospermum 'Tresco Purple' and rosy Diascia 'Red Ace' although any crimson or maroon trailing bedding plant would work well.

How to do it

Lining a hanging basket with grass clippings

1Prop the basket on a bucket and line it with moist grass clippings. To help retain moisture add a layer of plastic inside this.

Planting the ipomoea and osteospermum in a hanging basket

2Snip a few drainage holes into the plastic, then fill the basket two-thirds full with compost (mixed with water-retaining gel). Plant the ipomoea and osteospermum off centre.

Adding plastic pot to hanging basket

3A reservoir makes watering large baskets more efficient, so place a 9cm pot in the centre of the basket with the rim sitting just above the compost. Water via the pot.

Adding slow-release fertiliser to a hanging basket

4Plant the calibrachoa and diascia around the edge, where their flowers will quickly trail. Pop in some slow-release plant food (you'll need around five pellets per 35cm basket).

Watering newly-planted basket

5Give your plants a good water, making sure you fill the central reservoir with water, which will gradually soak into the surrounding compost.

Adam's tip

Choose a sunny spot for your hanging basket, although some shade for part of the day will take the pressure off watering.
Remember to water your baskets at least once a day, or more frequently, when it's hot and dry or windy.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to create a summer hanging basket
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kahita 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Living in The Netherlands now and just starting a small garden.
The ground is full of weeds but I am full of determination.

I want to sit outside, eat a home grown salad and enjoy looking at my flowers.

it might take a while but it will be fun, and can all help me.

mark67 24/11/2011 at 15:28

As this year is my first at doing hanging baskets it is nice to see wot i need to be doing to my first year go with a bang. And a big thanks to you all for the plants i can try again thank you.

Containergarden 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I love the idea of using a small pot as a reservoir. Also, have never used or seen grass clippings used to line a basket. What a great and super-green idea. I'll have to try it.

I don't use water retaining crystals because they are made of polyacrylamide which, some studies have shown, is a potential carcinogen.

Rose13 24/11/2011 at 15:29

As I'm quite new to this gardening malarky I'm in ever need of tips & advice so step by step directions with pictures is a great help to me. thanks :)

DaisyDebs 14/06/2012 at 22:18

Tresco Purple Osteos tend to flower well in the spring and then only one or two throughout the rest of the year ,in my experience ..but there are lots of new types out there now which may do better ....the sprawling common white one would lend itself really well to being planted up in a hanging basket . Just brought my baskets into shelter from this wild weather .( in Cornwall )

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