Welcome spring—and all of your guests—with a pretty hanging basket on your front porch. Hanging baskets are an easy way to add color to your yard without the commitment (and space) of a larger garden plan. A coco fiber basket makes an attractive home for this assortment of plants, while wire hanging baskets with a coco liner give an arrangement a more delicate look. You can use different combinations of your favorite plants in your basket; just be sure that they are suitable to the spot where you plan to hang it. Follow our guide to make your very own perfect hanging basket to enjoy. It takes less than 30 minutes!
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Aside from choosing a hanging basket that compliments your home, try going for a bigger basket—it'll hold water better. Typical hanging baskets are made of wire, coco fiber, or plastic and come in diameters of 8 to 24 inches. Liners for wire baskets include sphagnum moss, coco fiber, burlap, plastic, and pressed paperboard. Sphagnum moss and coco fiber are porous, so they'll dry out more quickly than pressed paperboard or plastic; however, softer materials make it easier to poke planting holes on the outside of the basket. If you're using sphagnum moss for your basket, assemble it first. If you're using paperboard liner, drill drainage holes in the bottom before planting.
You have two options for hanging the basket. Either install a hook on the ceiling or wall of a porch, patio, or deck, or hang it from a freestanding shepherd’s hook driven in the ground. A hook in the ground allows you to place it in any place you feel needs height and color. Keep in mind that a wet basket full of plants will be heavier than a dry basket, so your hook will need to be able to support the weight.
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Fill the basket with a lightweight potting mix. You can buy a packaged mix or make your own potting mix 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. These help the soil hold nutrients for longer during frequent watering. You can also add compost to the potting mix to give your plants a boost. Mix in water-absorbing crystals or line the container with a water-absorbing mat to maintain moisture. Fill the soil within an inch or two of the rim for ease in watering—if you overstuff it, water may drip out the sides.
Pick out a variety of plants with different textures and colors for a bright and beautiful hanging basket. Baskets packed with a single kind of flower can also have loads of impact. When using multiple species, include tall, midrange, and trailing forms for variety. Place taller plants near the center and trailing plants along the edges to cover the sides. Try to include varying bloom sizes. For example, vinca, miniature rose, and petunia offer large flowers, while hyssop, lobelia, and calibrachoa have dainty blooms. Plants with a mounding or spilling habit work well in baskets.
Think about whether your basket will hang in a sunny or shady spot, then select plants accordingly. You’ll also want to consider if your plants will get along well—large, fast-growing plants may out-compete smaller ones.
Be careful not to overfill your basket. If it looks sparse now, don’t worry; it’ll grow in later. Generally, a 12”-14” basket can handle 3-6 plants, whereas a 16”-18” basket can hold around 5-7 plants. As you insert each plant into the basket, press down the soil around its base to secure.
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Water the soil mix thoroughly after planting. Thereafter, you may have to water daily in hot weather. Use a watering wand so you don’t have to take the basket down each time. 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. Every so often, take down the basket and completely soak it until water drains out of the bottom. Pinch the tops of plants if they begin to look leggy and rotate the basket weekly so they all get equal sunlight.
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