Hanging baskets look wonderful decorating verandahs and porches, or softening other garden structures. But growing plants in hanging baskets, especially in the heat of summer, is akin to plant torture. Hanging baskets heat up, dry out, get buffeted by every breeze that blows, and often have their linings torn to pieces by nest-building birds.
In order to grow hanging baskets that look good – and, after all, isn’t that the point of the exercise – it’s important to keep the plants as happy as possible.
Cool Them Down
Roots haven’t evolved to grow in hot soil, so try to keep the roots of basket plants as cool as possible during summer. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Select the biggest basket you can.
- During summer, position baskets where they get morning sun and protection from the hot afternoon sun.
- Mulch the top of the basket with some sphagnum moss or compost.
Keep Them Moist
Air movement around the baskets hastens evaporation from the sides.
- Use a plastic hanging basket (with non-porous sides).
- Line porous baskets with plastic sheeting (a supermarket bag will do) before adding the mix. Poke a few holes in the plastic to allow for drainage.
- Fill with a specialist potting mix. Yates Thrive Hanging Basket Mix incorporates a soil wetter (which gets the water quickly into the mix), and water-holding crystals.
- Water often.
Choose the right plant
The choice of plants for hanging baskets is largely governed by the position. In sunnier spots, it’s hard to beat petunias for masses of summer colour. The mixed colours of petunias all give a great show. In semi-shade grow impatiens. In heavy shade, try something like a maidenhair fern. Through the cooler months grow cinerarias, primulas and polyanthus.
This area is for general comments from members of the public. Some questions or comments may not receive a reply from Yates. For specific gardening advice visit Ask an expert Alternatively you may wish to contact us.