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Creating Hanging Baskets

The addition of flowering hanging baskets to your porch, patio, or garden can be the perfect introduction of color into a space that would otherwise be empty. These colorful beauties are incredibly popular but can prove to be a bit tricky to maintain. Do you have trouble keeping the hanging baskets you buy each spring alive all summer?

The most common container used for the production and sale of hanging baskets is a 10-inch green or white plastic pot. Unfortunately they fall short in being large enough to maintain the plants all summer long without constant attention.

Selecting baskets and liners

Select a larger hanging basket or transplant the smaller ones you purchased into a larger basket when you get them home. There are many styles of hanging basket containers to choose from—plastic, metal, or wood. You can even use an old galvanized bucket or an old copper kettle, but the most popular basket remains the wire frame. The wire frame is available in a variety of styles and sizes, but must be lined.

The three main types of liners for the wire frame are coco fiber, compressed sphagnum peat, and sheet moss. Coco liner is sold either precut in the most common basket sizes or by the foot, the latter being the best if you have an extra large or odd-sized basket. Compressed sphagnum liners are available in very limited sizes and shapes and are generally sold to match a certain brand of basket.

Sheet moss is my favorite because it can easily be fit to any basket and it looks natural. Go online to
for instructions on how to use sheet moss. Click on “Home and Garden” and then “Shelly’s Online Garden.”

Adding the plants

Now the fun part—planting your hanging basket. If you have chosen a pre-planted 10-inch hanging basket and are transplanting it, start by removing the wire or plastic hanger to make it easier to get the plant out. Then turn the plant and basket upside down, into your hand, and remove the pot. Gently turn it right side up, using your other hand for support, and place it into the basket. Simply fill any remaining space with a light soilless potting media, attach your hanger, hang, and water.

If you are using your own selection of individual plants and are using plants in 2- to 3-inch pots, you will need approximately 4-5 plants for a 12-inch basket, 6-7 for a 14-inch basket, and 8-9 for a 16-inch basket. This is a generous amount of plants so feel free to use less. The plants will certainly grow and fill out in no time.

Maintaining lush baskets

Don’t forget to fertilize to maintain lush growth and great color. I prefer to use a soluble fertilizer like Peters 20-20-20. Simply dilute it according to the package directions in your watering can and soak the plant with the solution every three weeks. Remember to use a watering can or pitcher marked for plants only when using fertilizers.

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