Preparation is key to achieving perfect, long-lasting perfect hanging baskets.
It’s not the only important factor, though. Aftercare, particularly watering, is crucial to the success of your baskets. They’re prone to drying out in hot weather, so will need regular watering to prevent the plants from losing too much water.
If you can’t commit to regular watering, consider planting up hanging baskets with succulent plants like sempervivums, crassulas, echeverias and sedums.
Check out the 10 steps to follow for long-lasting hanging baskets.
Choose your style
Choose your style of hanging basket, either one that has gaps for side planting or a top planting-only version. Larger baskets won’t dry out so quickly.
Planting into the side of a wire hanging basket
Improving inexpensive baskets
Can’t find a basket you like? Buy an inexpensive woven hazel basket and paint it. Choose an outdoor paint in a colour that complements your basket plants.
Painting a woven hazel hanging basket
Planting your basket
Rest your basket on a bucket or pot to hold it steady while you add the liners, compost and plants.
Resting a hanging basket on a metal bucket whilst planting
Provide adequate drainage
Cut holes in the plastic liner to allow easy drainage. Some baskets come ready-lined, or you can easily make a liner yourself using an old compost bag.
Cutting drainage holes in a piece of old compost bag to make a plastic hanging basket liner
Some baskets come with built-in water reservoirs at the base. Alternatively, pop a small plastic saucer at the bottom of the basket to hold on to water.
Placing a small plastic saucer in the base of a hanging basket before planting as a water reservoir
The right compost
Use a good quality multi-purpose compost, for example a loam-based compost, and add perlite to help with moisture retention and drainage.
Filling a wicker hanging basket with good quality compost
Feeding your plants
Add slow-release fertiliser granules and distribute them evenly. Hungry plants will also benefit from a weekly dose of liquid plant food such as tomato fertiliser.
Adding slow release fertiliser granules to the compost of a hanging basket
Position tall plants in the centre of the basket. Place trailing plants around the edges and in any planting holes in the sides – as they grow, they’ll gradually disguise the basket.
Planting a pelargonium in a hanging basket
Watering your baskets
Water once a day, or more if it’s hot or windy, and make sure the compost is completely soaked through.
Watering a hanging basket
Deadheading fading flowers
Deadhead fading flowers regularly to encourage continuous blooms throughout the summer.
Deadheading finished flowers in a hanging basket
Hanging baskets are usually transient displays, so take the opportunity to be creative and go for bold colour combinations. You needn’t stick to bedding plants, either – perennials can be added to hanging baskets then planted out in the garden or potted on once the display is over.