What can baskets offer that other traditional gardening methods can’t? Baskets allow you to grow plants in areas where you otherwise could not. For instance your screened in porch can become a gardening oasis with the use of hanging baskets. Using hanging baskets to host a multitude of plants can greatly increase the décor and functionality of small urban settings. Baskets also have a level of portability that is not offered when using flowerbeds or raised bed gardens. Moving a basket from one hanger location to another is a simple task, allowing you to change the look of a room within minutes.
Baskets also allow you to add vertical context to your decorating. Instead of growing climbing vines on a trellis, plant them in a basket to have them grow down.
Six Simple Rules for Hanging Flower Baskets
Before you start making decisions on what will go in your hanging baskets, there are a few rules you need to consider before you empty your first scoop of soil into it. Follow these basic hanging basket construction tips to help you avoid problems down the line.
- Plant alike - Think of your hanging baskets as a mini-ecosystem. All the plants should require similar growing conditions.
- Focus on water - If you use a coco liner, line it with a plastic bag and poke a few holes in it based on the drainage needs of your plantings. EcoLiners™ don't need an extra liner, and they moderate moisture levels in the soil better than a coco liner.
- Stay balanced - As you assemble your basket, remember that every plant needs to be counterbalanced against another. You don't want your basket to tip, especially during inclement weather.
- Keep an eye on it - Some plants - whether they are flowers or vegetables - need to be deadheaded (the removal of dead flowers). This will help keep your hanging basket producing new buds.
- Feed your plants - Add a water-soluble fertilizer product to keep blooms coming throughout the season.
- Copy what works - Don't hesitate to replicate the plant combinations you see at businesses, garden centers, and parks. These experts have likely considered all of the rules we mentioned above!
What Can be Planted in Baskets?
When deciding which plants you’d like to have in your hanging baskets it is important to choose ones that do not have deep root systems. Plants with more shallow root systems generally fare better in hanging baskets, but the option is always open to transplant when the roots outgrow the planter. Consider creating the following mini gardens in your baskets:
- Flower garden
- Herb garden
- Vegetable garden
- Vine garden
- Themed garden
Planting Flowers in Your Hanging Basket
You may plant a basket with one type of flower, one color scheme, or a variety of both. The plants you choose will make a difference in the look of the basket and overall feel of the décor. Combining a mixture of heights and brights will add interest to your hanging basket and make it a work of art. Some flowers to consider including are:
- Waterfall Blue (Lobelia) – a gorgeous purple-blue flower that overflows elegantly
- Marigold (Tagetes 'Lemon Gem') – this flower’s bright yellow hue will attract the eye, and butterflies!
- Bacopa (Sutera 'Snowstorm') – a heavenly pale pink/white flowing plant that will reach towards the ground as it grows
- Wax begonia (Begonia 'Prelude Red') – red flowers against bright green leaves provide a brilliant color contrast and unexpected fiery pop
Planting Herbs in Your Hanging Basket
Hanging baskets make excellent floating gardens for herbs. Often having shallow roots, herbs do well in these settings, especially when placed in an area of bright sun. Use a basket to host multiple kinds of herbs or just one. The possibilities are endless. Commonly grown herbs include:
- Parsley – With low watering requirements, this plant will provide a tasty addition to your recipes
- Mint – Known to grow like a weed, peppermint will choke out other herbs in the same basket. Place a “peppermint only” hanging basket in an area that receives a small amount of light throughout the day
- Oregano – A required 6-8 hours of sunlight is suggested for healthy growth, so place oregano in a container with southwest-facing views
- Basil – Popular and frequently used in the culinary world, your best bet is to host African Blue Basil
- Chives – An easy-to-grow herb that does not require much light. These are best started from already established plants
Planting Vegetables in Your Hanging Basket
Vegetable container planting is becoming increasingly popular, but what if ground space isn’t plentiful? Hanging baskets provide the same root protection and space that a floor planter does, and gives vegetable container growing a new twist, too! Some vegetable plants will thrive more vigorously than others, so be sure to do your research. A few tried and true plants to use are:
- Cherry tomatoes – This dense, bushy tomato variety will provide a season of fresh produce
- Swiss chard – Full sun or light shade are both options for this hearty vegetable
- Eggplant – Using a basket to grow eggplant will force the plant to provide harvest earlier than in the ground, as a container will heat up faster
- Peppers – This salad staple grows well in baskets when given a steady supply of water
- Cucumbers – This climbing vegetable should be placed in a basket that hangs from a long chain. Train the vines to climb up the chain to provide a support system.
Planting Vines in Your Hanging Basket
Generally we appreciate that plants grow towards the sky, but there are some that grow out, or down. Vines are fun to grow, but can be problematic when placed in a garden where they take over the flowerbed. Hanging baskets are the perfect solution as they allow vines to grow down and create a gorgeous hanging canopy of flowers and foliage. A few vines to try include:
- Ivy (Hedera helix) – This dark green leafy vine is a staple in many hanging baskets
- Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita') – A bright green, large leafed vine that will brighten up your hanging basket
- Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare 'Limelight') – Tiny lime green colored leaves will grow on vines that curve down and back up
- Vinca 'Variegata' – A twiggy, sparsely leafed vine will create texture
Planting a Themed Hanging Basket
Creating a theme for your hanging basket, and choosing the plants to complement that theme, is a fun challenge. We suggest considering a few types of themes before committing to one:
- Color: Choosing various shades of one color can enhance a setting’s decor
- Texture: Try using all succulents or twiggy vines to create a texturally interesting design
- Purpose: Is your hanging basket meant to grow flowers or vegetables, does it serve to attract birds, or maybe it’s intended to create privacy for your patio?
Planting Flowers in Your Hanging Baskets
Hanging baskets are just that – a type of basket. The use of baskets provides lots of open space for adequate air circulation and sets the stage for proper drainage. With that in mind, it is important to line your hanging basket with materials that will help keep the soil, plants, and roots protected, in addition to keeping water from just pouring through.
Of course you could use a basket that doesn’t employ a liner, but there are disadvantages to doing so. Water will not be retained to the degree that it is when using a liner. The plants’ roots can grow to the point where they push outside the basket and become exposed. This will cause them to choke out by not receiving nutrients. Additionally, not having a liner in your basket may cause soil and plant matter to fall from the basket during windy conditions, or when the plant hits a pivotal growth point.
There are a few options that work well for lining your baskets. Some gardeners use moss to line their hanging baskets. Other gardeners turn to coco and pre-manufactured liners that are made to fit a certain size basket.
Coco liners have a long and interesting history. They are fabricated from the shell, or outer covering of a coconut, hence the name coco liner. The first steps of the coco liner’s production are primarily done in Sri Lanka and Indonesia where the hull is shredded into fibers and baled. These bales are shipped to China where they are dried, sprayed with pesticides and latex, and then cut into squares for easy handling so they can be molded into the shape of baskets. The molding process also involves additional latex spraying. It is a highly manual process involving unnecessary chemicals.
Until recently, these textured and messy liners were the only option available on the market. The EcoLiner™ has changed the hanging basket liner landscape with its durability, performance, and eco-friendly construction.
What is EcoLiner™?
CobraCo® has developed a solution that dramatically outperforms the coco liner. Meet EcoLiner™. EcoLiner™ is a paper mache liner; fabricated from recycled corrugate. The benefits of using EcoLiner™ in your hanging baskets include:
- Biodegradable materials; without the chemicals used in coco liner production
- Twice the moisture retaining capability of a coco liner
- Reduced effort required to maintain plants – less watering on your part
- Resists fading caused by sunlight due to natural colorfast pigment dye
EcoLiner™ is truly better for your plant, better for you, and better for the earth. Made with a paper mache material that starts with recycled cardboard to create a slurry, EcoLiner’s material is not the art class paper mache you’re familiar with. This mixture is made with biodegradable ingredients necessary to create durability and moisture retaining features of EcoLiner™. With this proprietary formula, EcoLiner™ can be made in just about any shape or color you can imagine!
Planting Your Hanging Baskets
Planting hanging baskets does not differ much from planting in containers. Hanging baskets need well drained soil, so begin by filling the basket halfway with a high-quality potting soil. It is important to note that when you water, some nutrients will leak out, so adding a cup or two of high nutrient compost or organic slow release fertilizer will help provide additional, and much appreciated, nutrients to your plants.
After creating the base for your baskets you can begin planting. Maximize the planter’s space available to you by planting into the outer edge of the hanging basket. Pack plants into the exterior rim to create growth right up to the sides. If using various heights, you’ll want to plant taller varieties in the center, or back, and work accordingly from there.
A basket has endless options; so don’t be afraid to change it around while you’re in this phase of planting. You may end up with something completely different than you thought you would!
Maintaining Your Hanging Baskets
The most important factor for hanging basket maintenance is watering. Hanging baskets lose water more than most types of garden planters unless you employ a highly efficient basket liner, like the EcoLiner™. Be sure to regularly water your hanging basket or employ a drip irrigation system.
Observe your plants’ growth and performance in their current location and determine if the amount of light they are receiving is appropriate. Sometimes, simply rotating the hanging basket can remedy the situation, although other times it is more successful to relocate the basket.
Bugs do not discriminate based on where plants are located, and they enjoy hanging baskets as much as they do container or flowerbed gardens. Be cognizant of your plants and whether insects are causing damage to their leaves, vines, or flowers. Having a solution on hand, like Safer® Brand EndALL, will allow you to kill a large variety of problematic bugs if needed. EndALL kills up to 45 different kinds of bugs, from egg to the adult stages of life.
Hanging baskets are awesome options for those who lack ground space, want to create visually appealing arrangements, or like to view their plants at eye-level. Whichever the motive may be for you to start a hanging basket garden, we guarantee you’ll enjoy the end result. Head over to AvantGardenDecor.com now and check out the selection of baskets available and get started on your new gardening endeavor today!