I am amazed at how the hanging basket business has exploded. I’m told that surveys show that the thirty somethings among us, don’t have time for nor real interest in gardening, but they like having color on the porch, or by the patio, or where ever. What’s really exciting are the incredible combination of plants that are being planted in one container. They are miniature gardens all in one pot.
The bigger the pot you can afford will get more punch for your money. More and more garden centers are setting up a potting area where you can select a container you like and then select the plants you want in the container, and the good people at the store will pot up the collection exactly the way it should be done.
Proven Winners, growers of quality annuals and perennials, have on their website a wonderful collection of eye catching combinations of plants to consider. Go to www.provenwinners.com and check out the home gardening section.
Problems happen more quickly in a container than they do in a garden. However, if you seriously address the tasks of fertilizing and watering properly, the plants pretty much take care of themselves and should be trouble free.
Fertilizing – There are two schools of thought about feeding your hanging plants. One group uses a slow-release type coated fertilizer that will last three months or more. The other group use a very light dose of liquid fertilizer every time they water or every other time they water throughout the growing season. The option of using no fertilizer is not available.
Watering - A hanging basket will always need more watering than the plants in the garden. With the sun shining directly on the pot, those roots dry out very quickly. In the heat of late July and August, you may have to water a large hanging basket twice a day to keep it happy. Morning is the best time to water so if it is hot, you can water again in the evening.
Deadheading – Deadheading is the practice of pinching off blossoms from the hanging basket just as they are finished their blooming period. Taking off the spent blooms will help the plant produce more blossoms as you go through the season. Many of the plants used in hanging baskets do not need any deadheading. Those are the ones I would favor.
Sun Exposure – Some baskets have plants that prefer shade and others want full sun. Make sure you get your baskets in the correct light situation.
Mulch – A thin layer of compost and/or used coffee grounds on the surface of the soil give the plants a bit of a boost as they are watered.