Hanging Baskets - planting hints and tips
Many plants can be grown in baskets - cheerful annuals for colour and small evergreen shrubs that will provide structure and all-year-round interest. Plant colours randomly or choose a colour scheme such as pink or white flowers, or use hot reds and yellows for dramatic effect.
Most baskets are planted in early spring and put outdoors after the risk of frost has past. You could also fill with frost hardy flowering plants and tough evergreens for colour over winter.
Prepare your compost by mixing a handful of controlled-release fertiliser granules and water-retaining gel into multi-purpose compost. Granules such as Miracle Gro All Purpose Slow Release Plant Food makes an ideal fertiliser.
Place the hanging basket on top of a pot to keep it steady whilst planting. You can either take the chain off till finished or leave it on. There are various types of lining to use - from the more original coco liner or jute liner - ready shaped for your basket or on the roll for you to do yourself. Spagnum moss is another good liner which will retain water and look attractive. Laying a plastic sheet on top of the fibre will help with water retention, but only to cover the first third of the basket.
The best way of planting plants in the side of a hanging basket is to make a cut where you would like the plant to be, then filling the basket with soil up to that cut. Keep the roots of the plant safe while pushing the plant through the side of the liner. If you have a large basket it may be possible to add another layer of plants offset from the first row two thirds of the way up the basket. Continue to fill with compost, leave a 3cm (0.75in) gap between the top of the compost and the lip of the basket, and finish by planting the top. We suggest a taller plant in the middle to add structure and trailing plants around the edge. If required, infill the remainder with upright plants, such as begonias or geraniums.
Use an oversize bracket to gain maximum distance from the wall to he basket to avoid damage in the windy weather.
If you can hang your basket indoors in a sunny spot or in a greenhouse this will give the plants a chance to establish and grow quickly.
Hang outside when all risk of frost has passed. Water daily, especially during warm weather. Feed weekly with liquid feed such as tomorite.
Remove spent blooms from your plants to encourage plants to produce a succession of flowers.
Place in the garden and enjoy!