Hanging baskets add long-lasting colour, height and interest to patios, doorways and balconies. The best plants for hanging baskets are tender perennials and annuals that have been bred to flower for a long time, providing a splash of colour all summer long.
Include a mix of upright and trailing plants for a generous, blowsy look. Trailing plants are often called ‘spillers’ as they trail over the edge of a hanging basket or pot.
How to create a hanging basket at home
There are many styles of hanging basket to choose from. Use a lightweight, peat-free potting compost and mix in slow-release fertiliser granules and water-retaining gel, before planting. Plant it up with a mixture of upright and trailing plants, in complementary colours, for a complete, co-ordinated look. Put your hanging basket up in late spring, after all risk of frost has passed, for a long-lasting summer display.
More on planting hanging baskets:
- 10 steps to long-lasting hanging baskets
- How to plant up a hanging basket
- Five beautiful hanging baskets
10 trailing plants for hanging baskets
Calibrachoa (million bells)
Calibrachoa (million bells) are tender perennials, usually grown as annuals. Their trumpet-like flowers come in a wide range of colours, including purple, pink, red, yellow, orange and white. There is no need to deadhead calibrachoa.
Lobelia erinus is a popular bedding plant for hanging baskets and summer containers. It comes in a range of colours, including white, purple, pink and brilliant shades of blue. Grow in full sun, don’t let the compost dry out, and feed regularly. There’s no need to deadhead.
This pretty trailing plant has masses of small, white, pink or purple flowers that last for months on end. There’s no need to deadhead.
Fuchsias are much-loved for their hanging, bell-shaped, bi-coloured flowers that look like colourful, dancing skirts. The flowers last all summer long. Look out for trailing varieties in shades of white, pink, purple or red.
Begonias are a great choice for a hanging basket in a shady spot. ‘Inferno’ is especially spectacular, and is worthy of being grown on its own in a basket for long-lasting colour.
Bedding verbenas are a hanging basket staple, bearing small flowers in a range of colours, including purple and red.
Petunias are popular bedding plants and are particularly popular in hanging baskets. They come in a wide range of colours, from white to dark purple – some are bi-coloured. The ‘Tumbelina’ series (pictured) has double, ruffled blooms.
Edible plants add an additional wow factor to hanging baskets. Cherry tomatoes (bush varieties) grow well in hanging baskets – try ‘Losetto’, which has the advantage of being tomato blight-resistant, or ‘Hundreds and Thousands’. Grow in a sunny spot and feed regularly.
Strawberries look lovely in hanging baskets as an alternative to strawberry planters – pretty white or pink flowers give way to luscious red fruits. Growing strawberries in hanging baskets means they aren’t attacked by slugs or snails. Feed them regularly and grow in a sunny spot.
Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (creeping Jenny) has small, yellow flowers but is mostly grown for its golden foliage, which trails over the edge of hanging baskets and sets off other, more showy flowering plants. Grow in sun or part shade.
Other hanging basket plants to try
- Osteospermum (cape daisies) – osteospermum come in a range of colours, from lemon yellow to magenta. They flower for ages in a sunny spot and are drought tolerant. They are tender perennials, so if you can safely overwinter them, they will flower the following year
- Diascia are long-flowering tender perennials in shades of white, pink and salmon. They have a slightly relaxed growth habit so are ideal for hanging baskets. Cut back after flowering to encourage more blooms
- Pelargonium – there are many different types of pelargonium, from zonal pelargoniums to regal pelargoniums. All make good subjects for hanging baskets and some have a trailing habit. Give them a sunny spot and deadhead to keep the blooms coming
- Ivy – a useful trailing evergreen. It’s hardy so can stay in the basket when the tender plants have been removed
- Nemesia – similar in appearance to diascias, with a relaxed growth habit. Available in a wide range of colours