Planting & Landscaping

Hanging Baskets In Full Sun

Planting up your hanging basket in full sun requires a bit of thought regarding your plant choices.

Seek out plants that enjoy the heat and are also drought-tolerant, especially for those that will be in the sun from dawn to dusk.

When choosing your plants, think local. Your local garden center will usually keep those plants that do well in your area. Your County Extension Educator will also be able to advise on plants growing in local conditions.

How To Keep Hanging Baskets From Drying Out

The biggest problem with hanging baskets in full sun is the soil drying out, especially on sweltering hot days.

Always mulch as well as adding water retaining products such as crystals or granules, to your potting mix. They swell up and hold water and release the water into the soil over time. Adding these can reduce your watering times by half.

It is essential to feed these plants every week with a liquid organic fertilizer to produce blooms. Hanging baskets only have a limited amount of nutrient value in the potting mix, and the plant usually uses this during the first few weeks, especially with frequent watering.

Water before feeding the plant, so the basket stays hydrated before the feeding.

Water deeply making sure all the soil is hydrated.

How Often To Water Hanging Baskets In Full Sun

It is not likely that you will overwater a hanging basket in full sun as the surplus water runs out of the bottom. Feel the soil surface, and if it is dry, this usually indicates that the plants will need water.

On scorching days, you may need to water twice a day.

Make sure to water until the water flows out of the basket, making sure all the soil has been moistened.

If watering is inadequate, the soil will pull away from the edge of the basket, shrinking the soil ball slightly. The next watering will not saturate the soil but will go through the gap between dry soil and the side of the basket.

If the soil is excessively dry, place the basket into a bucket of water for about an hour. It will allow the water to be absorbed slowly through the bottom of the basket.

Hanging Baskets For Full Sun And Heat

Plants will try to cool themselves by transferring water to their leaves. Even drought-tolerant plants can become stressed in extreme heat.

Sometimes the leaves will wilt during excessive heat as a defense mechanism and should recover once watered, or temperatures drop.

Protect the plants from extreme heat by moving them temporarily during the heatwave. Or provide some shade for them, such as an umbrella.

Always make sure the plant has adequate moisture and water frequently during excessive heat.

Best Hanging Baskets For Full Sun

Choose the biggest basket for full sun as the larger baskets have more soil and will dry out slower.

Pelargonium / Geraniums


Geraniums are the most unappreciated flower. It gives so much color for so little care. Excellent in hanging baskets, especially the ivy variety.

Deadhead regularly and you will be rewarded with many new flowers.

Million Bells (Calibrachoa)

Easy to grow and easy to maintain - Million Bells are well known for their millions of flowers. They come in a variety of colors.

In the right conditions, Million Bells will look beautiful in about one month.

Million Bells is self-cleaning, meaning you never have to deadhead.




Petunias look lovely but sometimes become a little "leggy." Give them a trim, cutting back by about 6 inches (15cm). This forces new flowers in about two weeks.

Even though Petunias love dry summers, never forget to water the hanging baskets regularly.

Portulaca (Moss Rose or Sun Rose)

Trimming Portulaca periodically helps with flowering. They love hot, dry weather and will die off when the temperature gets below 45 F (7 C).

Portulaca is easy to grow in containers. Water only when the top of the soil is dry.


Diamond Frost Euphorbia


A profusion of tiny white flowers makes this plant an ideal filler for the mixed plantings with broader leafed plants. Similar in looks to the baby's breath.


Lobelia will flower throughout the entire season. Lobelia is one of those plants that can be planted on the outside of the hanging basket flower ball as they give a cascading effect.

Flowers range from purple to violet, with added yellow or white on some varieties. It is an excellent hanging basket species.


Licorice Plant (Helichrysum Petiolare)


Licorice plants love hot sunny environments and have a slight licorice fragrance. Grown for their beautiful soft foliage, these delightful plants are drought tolerant and have low water needs.


There are a series of verbena, which are long-blooming and are heat tolerant and do well in full sun. Give it a trim when it gets leggy.


Vinca (Annual Vinca)


Plant the trailing variety in hanging baskets and pinch Vinca blooms for a fuller plant. Water twice a day.

Very easy to grow and love the summer heat. Colors vary from white, pale pink to deep purple.

Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata)

With their bright yellow and white flowers, Black Eyed Susan is easy to grow and needs little maintenance.


Pansies and Violas


Fill up the basket with Pansies and Violas. Yellow and purple look lovely together. Very popular as a cool-season annual in warmer climates.


Nasturtiums require little maintenance and bloom well in full sun. Trailing varieties work best in hanging baskets.

There are both single and double varieties, and the flowers are edible with a peppery flavor.

They do not require fertilizing, which will reduce their blooms.


Asparagus Fern


Flowers are rather insignificant, but the spiky foliage is striking. Keep it trimmed to the required length as the needle-like foliage can grow very long. Compact growing varieties are available.


Butterflies and hummingbirds love Lantana flowers.

Lantana is a hardy plant that is perfect for hot sunny patios.


Maui Wormwood


They are grown for their soft bright silver foliage and look stunning as a single specimen in a hanging container.

Ornamental Sweet Potato Vines

The ornamental sweet potato vine has colorful foliage from light green to dark purple.




Use a variety of sun-loving herbs in the same basket, such as Thyme, Prostrate or Creeping Rosemary, Oregano, and Prostrate Sage.

Growing herbs in a hanging container is easy, and the more you pick, the more it produces.

Many herbs, such as lavender, have beautiful flowers which are also edible.

Sedum (Donkey's Tail)

Long trailing succulent with pink/red flowers in summer. Let it dry out before watering.


Ornamental grass 


Look for a variety that does well in full sun, such as Leatherleaf Sedge, Orange New Zealand Sedge. 

Hanging Baskets in full sun


  • Add water-retaining granules
  • Water regularly and deeply
  • Fertilize regularly with an organic water-soluble fertilizer
  • Rotate the basket for even growth

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