Cascading flowers in an array of colors against the backdrop of the earthy moss or coconut fibers commonly used in wire hanging baskets provide a natural look and healthy plants. Such container gardening is perfect when you live in a townhouse with a small patio garden, or an apartment with a balcony. Maybe you want to add interest to your front door or some color outside your window?
Learn how to make wire hanging baskets, and choose the best flowers to suit, here:
Good choices for Baskets in Full Sun: Bacopa, Felicia, geraniums, helichrysum, lobelia, lotus vine, marigolds, nemesia, petunias, scaveola, tagetes, trailing schizanthus, verbena
Good choices for Baskets in Shade: Alyssum, fibrous begonias, fuchsias, ivy geraniums, hedera, impatiens, trailing ivy, lobelia, tuberous begonias
1. Stand the wire basket in an empty pot to stabilize it.
2. Fit a small saucer in the bottom of the basket to hold a small reservoir of water, which is extremely useful in the height of summer when you go away.
3. Line the basket with a layer of sphagnum moss, or choose a synthetic liner made from coir (coconut fiber) or sheepís wool, which are reusable and more sustainable.
Tip: Be innovative, and use bamboo leaves, fern fronds or even phormium swords as an environmentally alternative to sphagnum moss.
4. Cover the base with lightweight potting compost pressed down firmly to exclude air pockets.
5. Plant your basket in layers, starting at the lowest layer with trailing plants, use the middle layer for hanging plants, building up to the top layer for tall, upright plants.
Lay bedding plants on the compost through the wire mesh from the outside. Press down to secure roots in place. When this layer is fully planted, cover well with compost to make the next layer. Continue to fill the basket with plants followed by layers of compost to within two inches of the rim.
6. Plant the uppermost layer with taller plants such as geraniums or marigolds. (Do not overcrowd the basket, as annual plants have a naturally spreading habit.)
7. Check that the supporting chains, ring and bracket are strong enough to cope with the considerable weight of a full, watered basket.
8. To ensure displays last throughout the summer, remember to feed, water and deadhead the basket regularly. Give plants a regular watering with a potash-rich fertilizer such as liquid seaweed every week.
9. Donít hesitate to cut back growth that trails too far. A good pruning helps plants grow bushier, and often results in a second flowering.
10. Once planted up, itís a good idea to harden off the basket for ten days or so, leaving it outdoors during the day but protecting it from the cold at night.
Adapted from A Year On The Garden Path, by Carolyn Herriot (Earthfuture/New Society Publishers, 2006). Copyright (c) 2005 by Carolyn Herriot. Reprinted by permission of Lantern Books.
Adapted from A Year On The Garden Path, by Carolyn Herriot (Earthfuture/New Society Publishers, 2006).