Hanging baskets are a wonderful addition to any home and garden no matter the size. They provide impact and colour throughout the summer months. Follow these simple tips and you will have a stunning display to enjoy in summer.
Choosing the right compost will pay off in the long run. Always use a quality and fresh compost in your baskets, mix in some slow release fertiliser as the plants will be very hungry and water retaining granules. The plants will require a lot of water to keep them looking good. Water retaining granules hold up to 600 times their weight in water so will help with the watering, but keep an eye on them as you may still need to water twice a day!
April is the ideal time to start planting up your baskets. Keeping them in a greenhouse or putting them out during the day will help settle them in and bring them on until you are ready to move them to their final location once all chance of frost has gone.
To create a large, full basket, side planting is a must if you have a wire basket. Wicker baskets or 10" baskets don't allow for this but can still make a wonderful show. You will need a liner for your basket, there are pre-formed fibre liners ready to just drop in, sisal or coco liners are also available, both are easy to use with side planting. A little tip for side planting is to wrap the small plants/plugs roots in paper and ease them through the holes so as not to damage the tiny root ball.
After planting, the removal of the first flowers that appear and pinching out new shoots will encourage the plants to put all their energy into producing a good root growth and a bushy plant, which in turn will lead to masses of flowers for the season.
When choosing plants make sure to choose ones that will thrive in the position you hang your baskets. If you have a sunny site picked out then plants such as Petunias / Surfinias, Pelargoniums / Geraniums and Verbena / Temari will be a better option. For more shady spots the Fuchsia, Begonias and Impatiens would suit more.
To maintain your baskets and keep them looking their best, regular deadheading and trimming of tired, straggly shoots must be done throughout the growing season along with regular watering and liquid feeding as baskets are thirsty and hungry.
Courtesy of Oaklands Nursery in Street, Somerset: www.oaklandsnurseryltd.com.
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