A coco fiber basket makes an attractive home for this assortment of plants, which includes portulaca, coleus, loosestrife, and bracteantha.
Typical hanging baskets are made of wire or plastic and come in diameters of 8 to 24 inches. Wire basket liners include sphagnum moss, coco fiber, plastic, and pressed paperboard. Sphagnum moss and coco fiber are porous, so they will dry out more quickly than pressed paperboard or plastic; however, the softer materials make it possible to poke planting holes around the outside of the basket. If you use a paperboard liner, drill drainage holes in the bottom before planting.
Fill the basket with a lightweight potting mix. You can buy a packaged mix or make your own with equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. Some prepackaged mixes contain slow-release fertilizer, allowing you to forgo semiweekly treatments with a quick-acting, water-soluble fertilizer. Mix in water-absorbing crystals or line the container with a water-absorbing mat to maintain moisture. Fill the soil to within an inch or two of the rim for ease in watering.
Baskets packed with a single kind of flower have loads of impact. Combinations can be handsome, too, if there's space for the multitude. When using multiple species, include tall, midrange, and trailing forms for variety. Place taller plants near the center and trailing plants along the edges. Try to include varying bloom sizes. For example, vinca, miniature rose, and petunia offer large flowers, while hyssop, lobelia, and calibrachoa have dainty blooms.
Water the soil mix thoroughly after planting. Thereafter, you may have to water daily in hot weather. Lifting a basket is a quick way to judge if it needs water. The lighter the basket, the drier the soil. If the basket dries out during the season, the top of the soil may crust over. Break open the crust and rewet the soil ball thoroughly. Pinch the tops of plants if they begin to look leggy.
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.