Caring for Hanging Baskets

trailing petuniasHanging baskets are a summer staple. Look around your neighbourhood and you’ll probably spot more than a few colourful hanging baskets adorning homes and businesses. Baskets of lush, scented flowers are wonderfully decorative, but if you don’t look after your hanging baskets, they won’t stay decorative for long.

There is nothing worse than a half-dead hanging basket. Whether you planted your own basket or bought one ready-made from us, here are some useful tips to help you provide the right care for your hanging basket.

Watering Your Hanging Basket

Containers and baskets dry out quickly, so you need to be on the ball when it comes to watering your flowers, especially if the weather is hot and dry, or it is windy. Remember also that hanging baskets won’t receive much rainfall if they are positioned under an overhanging roof.

You can tell if a basket needs watering by testing the weight – if it feels light, it needs water. Be sure to water your basket at least once a day, but twice a day is even better. Water until the excess streams out. If you don’t give your baskets enough water, the roots won’t grow enough to sustain a healthy crop of flowers. However, beware of overwatering your plants, as this can also create adverse growing conditions.

Dead-Heading Faded Flowers

Dead-heading flowers is a task all gardeners spend time doing over the summer months. It’s important to snip off dead flowers, as this encourages fresh growth and a new crop of flowers. If you don’t dead-head your plants, they assume their job is done and put all their energy into creating seeds.

Feeding Your Flowers

Whilst potting compost contains plenty of nutrients and will sustain a hanging basket for a while, regular watering soon leaches the goodness from the soil. You can replace these vital nutrients with a fertiliser. These are available as a liquid fertiliser or a dry mix. Use one or the other, not both. Check the instructions and follow them carefully before use. Ask us for advice if you need some help with this. Liquid tomato feed diluted according to instructions is a top choice, as it contains potash, which encourages flowers to grow in abundance.

Replace Dead Plants

It is common for at least some of the plants in a hanging basket to die or finish blooming before summer ends. The good news is that you don’t have to end up with a half-dead hanging basket spoiling the view. You can easily replace any dead or dying plants. Take your basket down and carefully ease out the offending plant. Replace it with a new plug or add a bit of extra compost and before long, the surrounding plants will fill the gap.

Prune Back Leggy Plants

Plants often become leggy as summer progresses. Trailing ivy looks pretty, but straggly petunias and impatiens less so. Trim back leggy growth to encourage your plants to produce new shoots from the base. This will ensure your hanging baskets are full of densely packed, healthy plants.

Follow the above tips and your hanging baskets will be the envy of all your neighbours!