Aug 5, 2010

Plant Of The Week

Hanging baskets extend a touch of the garden to the home, porch, or patio. Many garden flowers and foliage plants can be
easily grown in hanging baskets.

Choose the right plants for your hanging basket. For large baskets, combine only those plants that require the same growing conditions. For small containers, it is often better to use the same plant type in each basket. And for very small containers, usually just one good-sized plant is enough. Baskets planted with annuals will flourish for one year and should be replanted each spring.

Foliage plants can be grown for several years, depending on the plant type. Although some perennials grow well in hanging baskets, it may be impractical to overwinter them in containers.

Though wire baskets make the most suitable hanging baskets, just about any container with holes for water drainage can serve the purpose. Margarine dishes, old bleach bottles, plastic pots, Styrofoam, clay or ceramic containers, wooden boxes, and even large dried gourds have all been used for hanging planters.

Choose the hanging basket you will use according to its type and size. Give some thought to the size relationships between plants, container and surroundings, as well as the overall shape of the container and its final placement. The container should be in proportion and scale with the plants you plan to grow. Decide whether the container will become an important part of the total design or is merely there to support the plants. A large, bold container filled with small delicate plants is usually inappropriate.

Healthy plants require adequate drainage. Self contained pots with no drainage holes can be made suitable by using a pot-in-pot arrangement or by adding a dry well or drainage layer (about 1/4 depth of container) to the container bottom. Three or four punctures made with a sharp knife through lined containers will also supply necessary drainage. Improper drainage is a frequent cause of poor plant growth in containers.

As plants grow and especially after watering, the weight of the basket increases. Therefore, it is very important that thought be given to the method of support used. Whether chains, ropes, wires or macramé, too much weight for the support may mean a total loss if the basket crashes to the ground.

A good soil mix includes two parts peat moss, one part sand, and one part perlite; or one part silt or clay loam garden soil, one part organic matter (peat moss), and one part coarse sand or perlite. Commercial potting soils can also be used.

A slow release formulation of balanced fertilizer (such as 12-12-12) applied according to label
directions will allow nutrients to be released gradually over time. It is best to mix in the fertilizer prior to planting the basket, rather than trying to apply to the top of the soil later.

After the plants become established, baskets should be placed where they will grow best, according to species. Most baskets growing in direct sunlight require watering attention each day. Even those planted in moss will require frequent waterings because all sides of the container are exposed to drying air. Water baskets thoroughly from the top and syringe sides with water when the soil is dry 1/4 inch from the surface.

A basket placed outdoors in the summer may need a daily soaking. A special watering wand for baskets makes the watering hose easier to handle.

Some excellent flowering plants for hanging baskets:

Ivy Geranium
Trailing Lobelia
Pink Sand Verbena
Spider Flower
Sweet Alyssum
Annual Phlox
Moss Rose


Jacqueline said...

Beautiful hanging blooms, Liz; we should all stop to smell the flowers more often!...Enjoy your day!

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Magaly Guerrero said...

How lovely! I want to hang some baskets all around my deck and your post was very helpful. Now I just need to get the time...

Anonymous said...

Nice fill someone in on and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you on your information.

Sunnyside dreams said...

Hi Lizzie

That first picture is such a bright and colourful basket, so I have borrowed the picture for my latest post. Hope you don`t mind I linked you cause your article is very useful information too!

Thanks Synøve