Hanging baskets are the ideal choice to bring colour and interest into your garden or around your door. They raise your garden from ground- to eye-level and are easy and cost-effective to create. You can also create new hanging baskets for every season for a quick burst of colour throughout the year.
Before you start
The first thing to consider is where the basket will hang. Perhaps you already have a bracket in place or you’ve identified a sturdy hook from which to hang your basket? While that’s a great advantage, it’s important that you test the sturdiness of the bracket or hook. Your hanging basket could weigh up to 5–6 kg once watered, and it could become loose in windy weather. It’s best to hang your basket somewhere safe, preferably where people aren’t likely to walk underneath it.
Planting a hanging basket
Planting a hanging basket for the winter or summer is easy: only the plant choices change with the season. First, you should find a basket you would like to use and then you should line it. Ready-made liners are the easiest option but you can also use moss from your lawn. With moss, you should create a bed of around 1.5 cm in depth before adding and firming down compost.
Choose your compost
Most summer baskets are refreshed every year, in which case it’s perfectly fine to use multi-purpose compost. However, if you’re making a winter creation with heathers and ivy mixes, for example, ericaceous composts will better suit your basket. Half fill your basket with your chosen compost and firm it down before moving onto the next step.
Select and arrange your plants
Just like garden borders, hanging baskets should be arranged with the tallest plants at the back, which in a spinning hanging basket means the middle. Therefore, this is a good place to start! Select your tallest plant first and plan to place it centrally in the basket. Next, you’ll need to think about shapes and colours. Whether it’s winter or summer, most hanging baskets contain some trailing plants, such as ivy. Interspersed with the trailing plants, bedding plants in attractive colours can bring the basket together.
Summer or winter?
Traditional summer hanging basket plants include geraniums, lobelia and trailing rock garden plants. Winter baskets can include petunias, winter-flowering pansies and heathers. Just remember that plants such as pansies are more likely to fail in winter than their summer counterparts. So, make sure that your basket includes winter mints and evergreens to keep it looking alive for the whole season.
Firm in gently
Once you’ve selected all of your plants, remove them from their pots and place them gently in the arrangement on top of the half-full basket. Add more compost around the root balls and firm down gently with your fingertips. Water the basket well over a grassy spot or a sink before hanging it in the desired location. Don’t forget to water regularly and also add fertilizers. Hanging baskets are very small environments and need plenty of attention!