Whether planted for summer or winter interest, hanging baskets provide valuable colour at eye level. Choose vibrant bedding plants for a short-term show or herbs, shrubs and evergreens for a long-lasting display.
What to plant
Plants for summer baskets:
Argyranthemum, Lysimachia (creeping jenny), Dichondra ‘Silver Falls’, Fuchsia, Pelargonium (geraniums), Lobelia, Viola (pansies), Petunia, Salvia and Nicotiana (tobacco plants).
Plants for winter baskets:
Buxus (Box), Crocus, Gaultheria, Iris reticulata cultivars, Hedera (ivy) – either variegated or plain, Carex (ornamental sedge), Primula (primulas and polyanthus), Cyclamen (small-flowered cyclamen), Viola (winter pansies and viola) and Erica carnea (winter-flowering heathers).
Plants for perennial baskets:
Buxus (Box), Cordyline, Gaultheria, Hedera (ivy), Carex (ornamental sedge) and Salvia officinalis ‘Purpurascens’(purple-leaved sage).
When to plant a hanging basket
Plant summer hanging baskets from April onwards, but they will need protection from frost until the middle or end of May. If you do not have a greenhouse, it is usually easier to plant in situ once the frosts have passed.
Plant winter hanging baskets between September and October, and it doesn’t matter if they are frosted as the plants are should be hardy.
You would normally plant up a long-lasting perennial hanging basket from April onwards, depending on the types of plants being used.
How to plant a hanging basket
The basic principles of creating a hanging basket for winter and summer are the same.
from the lawn. Aim to cover the inside with about a 1.5cm (½in) thick layer of the material and then half fill the basket with compost.
A multipurpose is fine for a display that only has to last for one year, but John Innes No 2 is better for a longer-lasting arrangement. And if you want to grow plants such as winter flowering heathers, it is best to go for ericaeous compost, although Erica carnea and E. × darleyensis cultivars are tolerant of other composts that contain lime.
Also consider using water-retaining granules to help reduce the chore of watering.
Once all the plants are in, fill around the rootballs carefully with more compost, firming gently. You can push in some controlled-release fertiliser pellets or plugs at this stage, and then water well.
Once the basket is planted, what else is needed?
Check baskets every day in summer, watering always unless the compost is wet. Drying out is an increasing risk as the plants grow and days remain warm
Although baskets don’t dry out as quickly in winter, they still need regular checking. Aim to keep the compost moist but not soggy, and avoid wetting the foliage and flowers
In spring, summer and early autumn (April to September), apply a liquid fertiliser
Deadhead regularly to prevent the plants’ energy going into seed production, rather than more flowers
Hanging baskets rely most on the gardener to ensure they don’t dry out. However, poor flowering can be remedied by trying the following:
Ensure the baskets stay moist but not soggy
Feed once a week with a liquid fertiliser
Winter hanging baskets do greatly benefit from a sheltered, sunny spot. If the position is exposed, consider giving the basket some protection in the coldest weather. Use either a layer of fleece, or sit the basket on a bucket in a cool greenhouse for just the worst days
Watch out for common pests such as aphids, slugs, snails and vine weevil. Diseases that may be troublesome include powdery mildew, pelargonium rust, fuchsia rust and impatiens downy mildew.
With compliments from Phoenix Supplies. You can see our Plantopia products and free instructional videos on how to use them by clicking
Our eBay shop where you will find them under hanging baskets and wall baskets. Tel. 01452 260887 or 0800 8620887
How, when and what to plant in your PLANTOPIA baskets
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19 April 2012
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