Well its that time of year again summer is officially here, the weather is getting warmer and its time to start thinking about planting up your hanging baskets. The attraction of hanging baskets is easy to understand, they add height and colour to any garden and can be used to brighten up any balcony, doorway or garden wall. Hanging baskets are also a way great for anybody who has limited space to instantly add flowers to their home. While hanging baskets do require some care and maintenance, it is worth remembering that nothing else in the garden will give as much colour and enjoyment through the summer months for as little cost and effort. While most garden centres now sell hanging baskets already planted up, it is quite simple make up your own and by doing this you have the added advantage of being able to choose your own plants and colour scheme.
When planning your hanging baskets the first thing to do is to choose what type of basket you want. There are loads of different types of basket on the market and the best one for you will depend on the sort of display you want, the space available and the amount of time you can devote to it. Traditionally hanging baskets were made from wire and while these baskets give a fuller display by allowing you to push trailing plants through the side of the basket, they do require a liner and a lot more watering. On the other hand plastic baskets with solid sides have become very popular in the last number of years and while these do not let you plant the sides, they are generally easier to plant up and the presence of drip trays makes watering a lot easier and less frequent. No matter what type of basket you opt for the planting process is much the same.
Stand the basket on top of a flower pot or bucket to keep it steady. If using a wire basket line the inside with a layer of moss or a pre-formed liner made from coconut fibre. Inside this place a sheet of plastic to help retain water. Cut around this sheet where it overlaps the edges of the basket and make sure that the moss or fibre liner covers the plastic.
Half fill the basket with suitable container compost. There are plenty of tub and basket composts on the market which have added slow release fertilizer and water retraining agents. Make three or four holes in the liner and through these holes gently push the roots of trailing plants so that the soil ball rests on top of the compost.
Add more compost until the basket is nearly full and firm down gently with your hands. You can then plant up the top of the basket with an upright plant in the middle and three or four trailing plants around the edges. Finish by watering the basket and leaving it to settle before hanging it up.