Choosing the right plants and flowers for your hanging basket means you can create beautiful displays throughout the year. Whilst for most gardeners bright summer flowers are the obvious choice although they only have a limited life span. Clever choices of plant and flower mean you can display throughout the year with different styles and effects.
In the United States, the planting of hanging baskets really begins to pick up from March. This peaks in May before dropping down and stabilizing over July and August before picking up again slightly in September. This reflects the focus on the summer season but also the people who plant autumn and winter baskets after the end of summer.
So what should be planted in spring?
Hanging baskets can be planted up in early spring but many flowers are still at risk of frost which can permanently damage a flowers health and appearance. During this period more resilient plants can be chosen and the following plants are ideal – pansies/violas, primroses, ivies, ferns, polyanthus, and crocuses.
How about summer planting?
In the summer you have a much broader choice where the risk of frost has passed and warmth and sun will help your flowers to grow successfully. Given the choice, you can spend more time thinking about the style of the hanging basket and the effect you are looking to achieve.
Some of the flowers and plants that you can choose from are as follows – geraniums, petunias, violas/pansies, marigolds, surfinias, lobelia, fuschias, hedera ivy, verbena, nasturtiums, begonias.
Strawberries and herbs can also be planted to reach maturity and for harvesting in late summer. The only limitation is your imagination during this season! Try out different plants, flowers and color schemes to see which different effects you can achieve.
Thinking about autumn planting?
For autumn hanging baskets the choice is more limited but gives you a chance to choose an entirely different look and style. In common with the season, colors are earthier and more rustic. Ideal plants to use include – begonias, fuschias, and geraniums.
Planting for the winter?
The classic winter hanging basket is all about using more muted colors with ferns, ivies, and grasses as a backdrop highlighted with hardy flowers such as winter pansies. The winter basket can create a completely different effect on a summer basket. Unsurprisingly, the choice of plants is far more limited but good options include – winter pansies and hedera ivy.
Liven up your Business with Winter Hanging Baskets
Many commercial establishments include outdoor hanging baskets in their décor during warm months, but take them down when colder weather arrives.
There are plants that can be added to these baskets for the winter that are very attractive and need limited maintenance to last until spring. If you already employ a service firm to plant and maintain your containers, ask them what they recommend for the winter.
Cool season annuals and shrubs will be quite attractive. In addition, a service can install holiday lights in the baskets, making them look great at night. For the plants to last all winter it is important to consider their placement.
Baskets hanging in windy locations will dry out and are not likely to maintain healthy plants, so it may be prudent to take them down till next year. Before you decide to use winter hanging baskets, make sure that you are willing to water all year—whether by paying a service or assigning your own employees.
Winter Hardy Plants
Though your service can recommend the best plants for your location, the choices are not as limited as you might think. If you want to choose and plant your own baskets, visit an established nursery that can make reliable recommendations and order plants for you.
The hardiest plant will always be ivy, which is available in a variety of shapes and colors. Many become brighter in winter with pink or bronze edges. Ivy grows best in winter and will look very attractive even alone. Another possibility for a vine is vinca, which is well established and maintained will last all year.
Hardy miniature evergreen shrubs will liven up your space quite well, especially in combination with a vine. A local nursery can recommend and obtain a selection for you and will provide advice on planting and maintenance. These shrubs can include small varieties of holly and dwarf conifers.
Pansies are very colorful annuals which can last all winter in either beds or baskets if watered and deadheaded. Don’t worry about removing snow; when it melts the flowers will be there waiting. (A blanket of snow is an excellent insulator.) A wide variety of colors available means you will be able to find something you like.
Ornamental Kale, a plant often used in bed plantings in winter, is also a good choice for winter baskets. A member of the cabbage family, ornamental kale can be found in a wide variety of leaf colors and shapes; many are variegated with several colors—usually green, purple and white. Leaves also can have fringed edges or feathery shapes. When the temperature drops the colors of the leaves deepen.
Planting the Container
If you do decide to plant your own baskets, select a strong container with good drainage and a strong hanging mechanism. Start early in the fall, so that the plants become established before really cold weather. Use a premium potting soil to fill two-thirds of the container and begin to add plants.
Put all of the taller specimens in the center and add vines and pansies around the outside. (Remember that healthy pansies will likely fill in any vacant space, but you do want to make your plantings look full even at the start.) To protect your basket from evaporation, cover the open soil with green moss or a good mulch.
Now hang up your baskets and stand back and enjoy them. It is not difficult to create some brightness for the winter months.
7 reasons why people plant hanging baskets
Hanging Baskets are a traditional way to display flowers and have never been so popular. This article looks at why hanging baskets are so popular and provides 7 reasons why people grow them.
(1) Create an all year round display
Whilst hanging baskets are mainly popular for growing bright colored flowers in the spring and summer they can be used to display all year round. Clever use of ivy and pansies can create beautiful winter displays whilst the choice of surfinias, lobelia, geraniums, begonias, nasturtiums, and impatiens ensure never-ending variations for summer baskets.
(2) Use space efficiently in an urban garden
Hanging baskets can be hung from walls, fences, trees or stood on a border hook. For anyone in a townhouse or flat in a city, they are an ideal and easy way to introduce some color without needing to use up much space. They can be easily moved or disposed of as required too.
(3) Grow fruit or herbs
Growing fruit such as strawberries or herbs such as basil, sage, parsley or rosemary is becoming much more popular. Linked to the trend for growing your own vegetables using a hanging basket is a novel way to create something that looks pleasant, smells nice and can also be harvested for food at the end of the season.
(4) Improve your home for sale
Hanging baskets are an easy and instant way to smarten up your house and make it feel more welcoming. Estate agents will often talk about “kerb appeal” when looking at a new house. There are not many things that are more cost-effective than using hanging baskets to brighten up your property.
(5) Promote your business
Many businesses use hanging baskets to promote their business. Pubs, restaurants, and hotels are an obvious place where this happens. Some pubs theme their baskets in with their own color scheme or perhaps with a local football team.
There have even been a number of world records set for growing hanging baskets to generate press interest for businesses. This includes a hotel in London which set a new record in 2009 for growing a 20ft hanging basket.
(6) Support butterflies and bees
The natural habitat of butterflies and bees is under pressure and hanging baskets can increase the number of flowers and plants to support them in and around the garden.
(7) Create a theme for a special event
As hanging baskets can be placed easily in different locations they are ideal for special events. The Wimbledon Tennis tournament runs for 2 weeks each year and features specially grown hanging baskets in the corporate colors of purple, white and green.
In summary, the popularity of hanging baskets is increasing each year and so is the variety of flowers, frames, and brackets being used. We have provided 7 reasons why people grow hanging baskets but I am sure there are many more!