Baskets of glorious color along a front porch or on your patio are more than just decoration. They imply welcome, hospitality and a chance to celebrate the beauty of nature. A thoughtful plan and some simple steps will keep these baskets beautiful.
The first and most crucial consideration is location. The plants in the hanging basket must “match”– that is, be compatible with the environment in which you are displaying them. Know where you will be hanging the basket–full sun all day, full shade all day, sun in the morning only, sun in the late afternoon only, or dappled shade all day. Be familiar with various plants and research whether they require shade, part shade or full sun, or ask the seller if you are purchasing a prearranged basket.
The second consideration is water. Because they’re exposed on the bottom as well as on all sides, hanging baskets will dry out faster than any other container. Often, plants in a hanging basket that look fine when you leave the house in the morning will be wilted on your return. Most hanging containers need to be checked once or twice a day to avoid this stressful dehydration. Be sure to water well — saturate the soil and root ball. Placing the container on the ground to water is more efficient than trying to water a moving target and guessing if the plants are watered well.
While you have the container where you can examine it easily, check the plants regularly for spent blooms, broken stems or any signs of pests or disease.
Providing plant nutrition is another important consideration. The high temperatures of the summer can be hard on blooming plants. An established routine of fertilizing will help these plants survive the heat with plenty of color. There are many good fertilizers. Look for one that has a higher middle number on the package such as 15- 30 -10.
Fertilization frequency depends on the form you use. There are timed-release formulas that may be applied only once per season, as well as formulas meant to be used every time you water. Choose a product that suits your gardening style. When purchasing a prearranged basket, ask if it has already been fertilized and, if it has, what product was used.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension publication(s):