Planting & Landscaping

Ultimate Guide To Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets add a splash of color, look stunning, and are very easy to maintain. No matter how big or how small your garden is, there is always space for a garden in mid-air.

They are fun to experiment with, and I enjoy planting new flowers and changing it up each year. Hanging baskets are a great way to add color and interest to the shade garden. Especially vibrant fuchsias.

After the initial cost of buying the baskets, all you need to pay for each year is the new soil and new exciting plants.

Different Types Of Hanging Baskets


There are various types of hanging containers to choose from. It all depends on the location you choose and your budget.

  • Metal frames with coco fiber or coir
  • Self-watering hanging baskets
  • Galvanized Chicken Wire
  • Peat pots which are natural and biodegradable
  • Plastic, the most inexpensive but not the prettiest. But once the plant covers the container, it isn't visible.
  • Cottage Wicker Hanging Planters
  • Any potted plant placed in a Macrame
  • Homemade types such as a colander or any container with holes
    Ceramic hanging planters

What You Need For Hanging Baskets

  • Container
  • Lining such as sphagnum moss, coco liners, burlap, moss
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • High-quality potting soil with organic ingredients to feed the plant and inorganic ingredients to keep the soil light
  • Water retaining crystals or gel
  • Organic water-soluble fertilizer
  • Plants - seedlings or larger
  • Watering can or hosepipe with long nozzle attachment

When To Plant Hanging Baskets


For summer, plant up your baskets from early spring, making sure they are still protected from frost. If you do not protect from the frost, then rather wait until all frost has passed. Usually middle to end May, depending on your Zone.

If there is still a chance of frost, remember to water in the morning only until all chance of frost has passed.

Depending on your climate, some winter plantings that can take the cold will brighten up a dull area. Protect the plants if temperatures drop below 32 degrees F (0 degrees C).

How Many Plants For A Hanging Baskets


A general rule of thumb when planting seedlings is one plant per inch (2.5cm) depending on the depth of the container. A deeper container can allow for these plantings.

For larger planters 12 - 14 inch (30-36cm) basket - 3 to 5 plants. In a 16 - 18 inch (40-45cm) 5 to 7 plants.

Either fill up your basket with the same plants to cascade over the sides or choose a centerpiece with height and smaller plants around the edges.

How To Keep Hanging Baskets From Drying Out


All plants in containers will need more water than those planted in the ground. But hanging flower baskets require more water than other plants in containers and especially those hanging baskets in full sun.

Water from above until water drains out the bottom of the basket, making sure it is saturated.

Check the soil every day, especially on hot days.

Use water gel crystals and mulch the soil when planting. This can reduce the number of times you may need to water.

During the summer months, water in the early morning before the heat of the day. On sweltering days water again if necessary, by 7pm.

Can You Overwater A Hanging Basket?


Most of the water will drain out the bottom of the basket, so unless you are watering too frequently, it is highly unlikely that the plants will be overwatered.

The frequency will depend on the time of year, placement, and plants. Plants such as succulents will need less water than plants that prefer damp conditions.

Low Maintenance Hanging Baskets


There is probably no such thing as no-maintenance baskets as all container plants will need watering and feeding. However, low maintenance is a possibility depending on the plant choice.

Succulents probably come close to low maintenance plantings.

Minimize the maintenance by adding water-retaining granules and organic slow-release fertilizer in the soil when preparing to plant.

Choose plants that do not need to be deadheaded every few days. Plants that do not need to be deadheaded are -

- evergreen plants
- grasses
- new guinea impatiens
- wave petunias
- a new variety of plants called "self-cleaning" plants.

Feeding And Overfeeding Hanging Baskets


Mix slow-release organic pellets when preparing the soil and feed with a liquid fertilizer between once a week or every second week.

There is a limited amount of soil in the baskets, and any nutrients in the soil will be used up by the plant within the first few weeks.

Always water before feeding as to thoroughly hydrate the soil, and once you feed the plants, it will be taken up immediately.

How To Make Hanging Baskets Look Full


Pack the plants densely to get the full, lush look using more plants than you would generally use in open ground.

Using liquid fertilizer will encourage blooms and also give those extra plants the nutrients they require.

Liquid Fertilizers -
    Comfrey Tea Feed makes an excellent organic liquid fertilizer.
    Fish meal emulsion
    Liquid kelp

How Long Do Hanging Baskets Last


Give your plants the best start in life by placing them in the correct lighting that they require. Never allow them to dry out (unless they need it).

With the correct care, annuals should last the full season and sometimes into the next season, depending on your climate. Perennials should last for 2 - 3 years, and succulents last for many years.

How To Revive Hanging Baskets


Unfortunately the plant in the image will never be revived.

Back from holiday and your hanging baskets need a little tlc, or your long leggy sad-looking petunias need some pepping up?

  • Use scissors to cut back long stems.
  • Fill a large bucket with water and submerge the planter, leaving it for a few hours.  
  • Remove it from the water and sprinkle some new compost on top.
  • Add some slow-release fertilizer granules.
  • Water again once hanging back.

How To Water Hanging Baskets When Away


The best solution for watering your plants while you are away will be to get friends or neighbors to water the plants for you. However, that is not always possible. Here are a few methods to experiment with.

Always thoroughly water the plants beforehand.


Depending on the size of the pot, get a plastic bottle, and pierce the lid a 3 or 4 times with a heated pin. 

Once the container is filled with water and the lid is on, turn it upside down. Water will flow through the pinholes until a vacuum is formed. 

Place the bottle upside down into the soil for about 2 - 3 inches (5-7cm). Use sticks to prevent it from falling over if necessary. The soil will draw water from the bottle and drain slowly. 

The bottle will be squeezed as the soil draws the water. 

This method lasts for about a week to 10 days, depending on the size of the container.


Place a length of string or cloth into the soil and place the other end into a large jar of water. Make sure the jar or jug is positioned higher than the plant.

The size of the jar depends on how long you will be away.

If the string floats, tie a weight on it to keep it at the bottom of the jar. 

Capillary action ensures that the water soaks the string or cloth, and the water reaches the plant.

Multiple plants can be fed from the same large jar.

Keep the plant out of the direct sun as the water will evaporate and also dry out the string.

This method will last for about a week.


Remove the plant from its hanging position and place it on top of a large saucer of water.

The water will be absorbed gradually by the plant.

This method will last for about 3 - 4 days depending on the size of the saucer and size of the plant. 

Hanging Baskets in full sun


  • Feed the plants regularly.  
  • Never let the soil dry out.
  • Hanging baskets will bring you lots of joy with a little bit of effort.

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