The classic hanging basket is a wire basket, filled with sphagnum moss and a sphere of cascading blooms. Here's how to fill a wire basket, plus some suggestions on what to plant.
- To get a full, balled effect, choose compact, bushy varieties of annuals.
- When mixing a variety of plants, the most important quality of a hanging bouquet is its trailing habit, covering the sides of the container with blooms or foliage.
- Plant taller varieties in the center and those with trailing or vining habits around the edges.
- Enhance the spherical shape by pinching off the main shoot of a plant when it reaches the desired height, which encourages growth of side shoots.
- Rotate containers regularly -- once a week is best -- so all flowers receive equal exposure to sunlight.
- Be vigilant about deadheading spent blooms and pinching leggy plants.
- Check soil moisture often; on hot days, you may need to water twice.
How to Plant Hanging Baskets
We see lots of stunning hanging baskets every spring. Planting your own is a fantastic way to add color and [unk] appeal and save some money too. The first step to a successful hanging basket is to choose the right plants. Concentrate on plants that have spilling or mounding habits. Plants that are very tall and upright tend to fill out of proportion. Resist the urge to overfill your basket. The more plants you have the more often you'll have to water. Most hanging baskets easily accommodate about 3 to 5 plants. Make sure the plants you pick are good neighbors too. If you have a vigorous variety like the sweet potato vines, make sure that you have a strong plant that can keep up such as [unk] potunia petunia. Otherwise, the bigger faster growers could cry out the small ones. Start by filling your basket with a high-quality potting mix. Don't use garden soil. It doesn't drain well. It gets heavy and it can contain pests or disease organisms. Once your basket is about filled with potting mix, carefully remove your plants from their nursery pots by gently squeezing the pot and pulling the root ball out. Try not to pull the plants out by the leaves or stems. This could damage the plants or break it off. After the root balls are out of the pot, gently massage them to spread the roots. Add more potting mix around plant's root balls, filling the basket to the top. Keep in mind that your potting mix will settle a bit. After the mix settles, you'll have some thing of a lip between the potting mix and the top of the basket so that when you water, the moisture pools there inside of running over the side and getting you wet.
Continued on page 2: Step-by-Step