Hanging Baskets Care
Now that the weather is finally breaking and the days are filled with sun and the nights just a tad cool; hanging baskets are making their presence known with spectacular displays of colors, hues, textures and foliage.
Hanging baskets, they’ve come a long way and aren’t just for hanging on the deck anymore. You can always just remove the hanger and place it upon a pedestal for an “instant” container planting in a nice outdoor living area and/or porch and patio. With some strategically placed garden stones or décor you can hide the container entirely, creating an elegant and sometimes whimsical setting or ambiance.
First, decide if your basket will be hanging in sun or shade conditions. Choosing plants that are adapted to the amount of sun your area will get is key to having happy plants. Once you know sun/shade conditions, it is time to start choosing your baskets and/or plants to make one with.
Basket care: Light: shade plants will flower better with a couple of hours of early morning sun. Sun plants will do better if they get some shade in the hot afternoon. This is more to keep the pot cooler than for any aversion to sunlight. Hot pots tend to dry out faster and the roots on the sunny side of the pot may heat to the point of partial dieback.
Water: Your basket will be fine initially, and your primary responsibility is to check daily for water needs. Just lift the pot; if it’s heavy, it’s good for a day. If it’s light, water it. Remember that with any container, that if the plant gets very dry (very light) the potting soil will shrink away from the side of the pot, and most of the water you are applying is just running down the side. In that case, set it on the ground and water it thoroughly several times, 10 minutes apart. Or, set it in a pan of water for an hour.
Baskets that typically need less frequent water include geraniums, trailing geraniums, portulaca, fuchsia, petunias (when the basket is new). Lantana and impatiens dry out pretty quickly.
As the weeks pass, and the plant grows, something funny happens. The roots slowly replace the soil. Some of the potting soil decays further, and some gets washed from the pot with the frequent watering. The plant’s roots don’t hold water like soil does. The result is that you will find yourself watering more frequently.
Fertilize. Because you’ll be watering frequently, nutrients will leave the potting mix quickly. Feed the plants with a liquid fertilizer or a dry slow-release fertilizer (not both). Follow the directions for amount and frequency. Feed when the soil is moist, and never when plants are wilting.
Pruning/Pinching: As it gets straggly, cutting it back selectively will make the plant more attractive. What I mean by “selectively” is cut back the shoots to different lengths, not straight across like bangs. That way, when it starts to grow again it will look more natural. If you cut back a couple of shoots every two weeks or so you should be able to maintain it without it ever looking like it has been trimmed.
Deadhead blooming plants. As flowers fade and die, remove them by pinching them off where they meet the stem. This promotes the formation of new flowers. Otherwise the plant may put its energy into creating seed.
Goffle Brook Farms has a diverse selection of beautiful hanging baskets for the patio and porch and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, if you want to create your own, now’s the time to start getting busy. We have and can help you with selections of companion plants that make ideal baskets, or just “toss caution to the wind” and go it on your own. As long as you don’t mix sun and shade, you’ll be good to go.
We have an excellent growing medium for your hanging baskets and strongly suggest our Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix which absorbs up to 33% more water than basic potting soil. Epsoma Flower Tone 3-4-5 Bloom Booster is an excellent fertilizer to add into the medium, providing long lasting fertilizer.