Is there anything better than beautiful hanging baskets on your front porch to greet everyone who visits? These baskets provide a welcome entry to your home and business and there are a few things you can do to keep them looking beautiful all season.
Pick the right basket
Come spring, there is no shortage of hanging baskets available and the hardest decision will be narrowing down your selection to a few for your property.
When you are looking, it can be tempting to buy the biggest basket with the most hanging down, but keep in mind that you want to keep this basket going for months across the summer season. It is best to find an appropriately sized basket for your location that is currently still compact with lots of flower buds and greenery but not fully in bloom. You want to save the blooms for in front of your door! If you follow the steps below, you’ll have the nicest baskets on the block in no time, give them the time to fill in at home so that they make it all season long.
Most hanging baskets are designed for sun or part sun locations.
If you are looking for a shade hanging basket, find some with impatiens or begonias and these will do the best in your darker location.
Water, water, and more water
Most baskets support a lot of plant life in a proportionally small container and will require plenty of water during the hot summer months. Pay attention to your plant location, but if they are out in the sun for most of the day your baskets will likely need to be watered once, sometimes twice, a day. If it is windy and hot, pay close attention to the hanging baskets watering needs.
A good way to check for water is by weight, especially if you have the baskets up high, give a little lift and look for some weight to the pot. Another way is to stick your finger into the soil; you want your hanging basket to be consistently moist but not over saturated.
Adjust your watering to the weather and hanging basket location and be sure to take advantage of rainfall by keeping your baskets out from underneath house overhangs.
Just like with watering, the amount of plant life in your hanging basket will require fertilizing throughout the growing season.
To keep your baskets looking like you just bought them, be sure to fertilize weekly with an all purpose or bloom fertilizer. If you think you will forget this step, or to take some frustration out of your garden, you can also buy fertilizer spikes or sprinkles to mix into the soil that will feed continuously for a month or two.
Keep them tidy
Finding a balance between a lush, blooming basket and one that has become overgrown and straggly can be difficult. One way to promote bushy, green growth and a nice full basket is to prune back parts of your hanging basket as the season goes on.
If you find a particularly long and straggly section of your hanging basket, use pruning shears or simply pinch and break off that section. This seems counterintuitive at first, but I promise it will help promote more growth higher up and get rid of the long leggy look that baskets sometimes take on later in the season.
Like most flowering plants in your garden, hanging baskets will provide you with more blooms for a longer period of time if you pinch off the older blooms as they die.
The benefit of this is twofold; one, you will get rid of old blooms that start to look brown and messy on the plant and two, doing this will promote new growth and blooms to help keep the basket looking brand new
Protect from the elements
You have chosen the right basket, watered, fertilized and been babying them all season and then you get a strong windstorm that sends them crashing to the ground and destroys your work. A definite garden frustration.
As a gardener, we often become amateur weather enthusiasts, and this isn’t a bad thing! Keeping a basic eye on what weather is headed your way, means that you can protect your hanging baskets (and the rest of your garden) from what nature might throw your way.
Consider bringing baskets in if temperatures will drop, putting them undercover if it is going to rain heavily for a week, and placing them in a protected area if the wind is going to get out of hand.
Hanging baskets can provide you with months of beautiful color for your garden if you follow these simple steps.