A well-crafted hanging basket will bring incredible flavour to your garden with its dense mixture of colours and textures… but many people find them intimidating to take on.
The good news is, they’re easier than they look to create.
So, here’s my quick guide for a dazzling basket:
With hanging baskets you have two basic options to choose from: those with solid sides or the traditional wire types.
I find the wire types much more dynamic because they allow me to grow some plants through the sides rather than everything coming from the top.
Whichever way you go, buy the largest one you can – the more room for plants and soil the better.
Moss lining really makes the basket for me: it’s natural, it looks great, and you can pick it up from your local garden centre. Using a bucket or empty pot to steady the basket while you work, place moss around the bottom half, and then add newspaper as a barrier between the moss and compost. This will stop the soil from falling out initially, and as the paper rots the roots will grow through to hold the earth in place.
For soil you can take the easy route and pick up ready-made hanging basket compost, or you can use ordinary potting compost and add hydration crystals to help the soil retain water and make it easier to wet.
Remember, hydration is absolutely key here – hanging baskets will dry out in no time without regular watering.
Fill this bottom half with soil and poke plants through the sides; trailing lobelias are a perfect option here. Now add more moss lining up to the rim, line again with newspaper, fill that with compost and put plants in the top.
You will want a dramatic centrepiece for your basket. Something like an upright fuchsia or a geranium will give you a strong and vibrant starting point. Surround that with trailing plants like petunias or ivy-leafed geraniums, and then add some fillers such as busy lizzies. Finally, adorn the sides – trailing ivy or helichrysum will give it the perfect finish.
If your basket is hard to reach for watering you can buy a lance attachment for your hose, or for a homemade solution you can tape a stick of bamboo to your existing hose. Some people prefer to use a pulley system to lower their baskets for watering.
Also, keep in mind that you will want to leave a 1.5 inch gap from the soil to the top of the basket to help it hold water.