Before you plant a summer hanging basket it is a good idea to think about what plants you like and what you would like to put in it.
First you need to choose your basket:
Fiber baskets – although not as long-lasting as plastic ones they have a more natural look.
Plastic baskets – usually have a built-in drip tray or have one that can be clipped on. They can usually be bought in green or terracotta versions.
Wooden baskets – are decorative and often available in kit form. They tend to be more popular for indoor use than for outdoors.
Wire baskets – are the most popular form of hanging basket. The wire is usually plastic coated and wrought iron versions are sometimes available.
The fiber and plastic ones are also called ‘closed’ baskets. They are usually easier to fill and plant although it is hard to achieve a ball of flowers effect as the sides cannot be planted.
Open baskets like the wire and wooden varieties offer more scope because the sides and top can be planted with flowers. They need to have a waterproof liner added otherwise they have a tendency to dry out quickly and drips coming from when watered can be a problem depending on where they are hanging.
Next you need to choose your plants:
Hanging baskets are normally planted with a variety of summer flowering plants and then placed outside after all risk of frost has passed. One idea is to have a ‘centre-piece’ in the top centre which stands out above the others. Then you can have a range of dwarf summer bedding plants and some trailing plants as well.
The centre piece could be chosen from Geranium, fuchsia or dahlia for example. Bushy bedding plants include, Bedding Begonia, Impatiens, Petunia, Pansy, Viola, Coleus, Nemesia, Alyssum, French marigold and Cineraria.
For the trailing plants Lobelia is a popular choice as is the dwarf sweet pea.
Planting the hanging basket:
Before planting, water the plants thoroughly. If you are using a basket with a rounded base you can get more control if you place it on top of a plant pot. This is so it doesn’t move about when you are trying to plant the flowers.
If using a wire basket it will need a liner. Pre-formed ones are readily available at garden stores or you can make your own with sphagnum moss. It is advisable to have a polythene liner as well otherwise the moss can dry out quickly.
Using a multicompost or peat-based potting compost half fill the basket. Press it down and then make a few slits in the liner. Choose some trailing plants and push them through the slits so the plant ball is resting on the compost. Continue doing this at intervals all the way round the basket.
Next add more compost to within an inch of the top of the basket and gently press it down.
Plant the ‘centre piece’ and then plant the other plants round it. Once completed water it thoroughly and hang in position.
You now know how to plant a summer hanging basket the choice of basket and plants is entirely up to you. You may decide to have a variety of colors although a single color with a variety of dwarf and trailing can look equally striking. Now just sit back and wait for it to grow.