Create Charming, Functional Containers and Hanging Baskets
Nothing adds charm to the outside of your home quite like hanging baskets overflowing with eye-catching flowers. Combine hanging basket flowers with a container garden of spectacular plants on your patio, porch or gazebo this year.
Hanging basket gardening
While hanging basket flowers like trailing petunias are always a striking addition to your garden, don’t stop there. There are many plants that are flexible enough to grow in hanging baskets and that serve a purpose in addition to decorative beauty:
- Herbs — Fragrant herbs can grow just as well hanging above the ground as they do on the ground in a container garden. Creeping thyme, parsley and prostate varieties of sage and rosemary are hardy choices for a hanging basket in full sun. Creepy thyme, parsley, sage and prostrate rosemary are hardy choices for a hanging basket in full sun.
- Vegetables — Choose dwarf varieties of vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, eggplants, peas and peppers. Watch them quickly spill over the edge of your hanging baskets to add beauty and function to your home. You can also design a sweet desert hanging basket by planting strawberries and different types of mint.
Like with any container garden, proper drainage is critical for the health of the flower or plant. Whether you choose hanging baskets made from wire (lined with biodegradable coco fiber, sphagnum moss or pressed cardboard), plastic, straw or wood, there must be drainage holes on the bottom to prevent your plants from dying of root rot.
Each pot material has advantages or disadvantages about moisture retention depending upon if they will be placed in sunny areas where the soil will dry out more quickly. After you choose your plants, also match the size of the hanging pot to the size of the plant’s root system.
- Buy a prepackaged potting mix that contains a slow-release fertilizer, and you won’t have to remember semiweekly applications of a water-soluble fertilizer.
- Add your choice of plants. Keep in mind that you want to place the tall growers in the middle of the pot and the trailing plants closer to the edges.
- Fill the pot with enough soil to come within an inch or two of the rim to prevent water from spilling over the edge.
- Water the hanging baskets well, and watch how quickly the container dries out to plan an adequate watering schedule. The lighter the basket feels when you push up on it, the drier the soil.
- Promote new growth by deadheading flower blooms and pinching off sections of trailing plants that become leggy and unattractive.
Container gardening ideas other than hanging baskets
Elevate your container gardening by recycling eclectic containers for added interest and charm. Fill a wheelbarrow or child’s red wagon with a dramatic variety of flowers and plants. Drill drainage holes in an old coffee or teapot. A wire birdcage that no longer holds your canary can be repainted and used to grow miniature climbing roses or ivy.
-by Diane Quinn