Selecting Plants for Hanging Baskets
- Decide how you would prefer your plants to look.Once you have identified plants best suited for your environment, choose what you want them to look like. Certain plant species will grow over the sides of a hanging basket, while other species will look more like a floating bush. Some species may flower, while others will not.
- Certain vine species, such as Impatiens, bloom with beautifully colored flowers. Choose these, or similar varieties, if you are looking to add some color to your garden.
- Petunias grow in a bush shape and will bloom often with many different colored flowers. Petunias are a low maintenance plant, and will attract hummingbirds to your hanging garden.
- Make practical use of your hanging garden by growing cherry tomatoes. Your tomato plant will use the vertical space to grow, and with plenty of water, will yield a good harvest of rich tomatoes.
- Check your plant’s needs.Read the tags on all hanging baskets carefully. Even if you find a pre-planted outdoor hanging basket that would beautifully compliment your garden or house, if it does not receive the amount of sunlight it requires, it will not grow well. The tag will also instruct you on the use of fertilizer and the frequency of watering. Choose plants that are well suited for where you intend to hang them.
- Grow your own food.Make use of the vertical space available in a hanging garden by planting fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Not only will your plants look beautiful, but you'll also reap the benefits of growing your own food. With plenty of water and care, you can also pull in a large harvest at the end of a season.
- Strawberries will grow well in a hanging basket. Strawberry plants are low maintenance and will cover the edges of your hanging basket.
- Eggplants are a great choice for a veggie to grow in a hanging basket, as the elevation will provide more warmth and help the plant to ripen for harvest, sooner than planting them in the ground.
- Plant mint in your hanging basket for a gorgeous plant that will grow quickly and easily, while providing a fresh addition to your kitchen. Make sure to plant mint and peppermint by themselves, as they are known for strangling other plants growing near them.
- Choose plants that are easy to care for.After you have identified plants that will thrive in the climate you live in, consider how much time you have to devote to maintaining your plants. Certain plants are low maintenance and easy to care for, such as petunias or jade, while other hanging plants require more time for care, such as azaleas. Plants that are low maintenance are best for hanging planters.
Assessing Your Garden's Needs
- Choose plants best suited for your environment.Consult a guide to help find what “plant hardiness zone” you live in. This will help you to identify which plants will thrive in your garden.Depending on where you live, it may be better to choose plants that can withstand hotter or colder temperatures. To find out what plant hardiness zone you live in, consult the USDA’s map of hardiness zones athttp://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/.
- For climates with temperatures that are consistently higher, focus on choosing heat tolerant plants such as Angel’s Trumpets or Plumbago.Succulents are also low maintenance plants that thrive in high temperatures.
- For climates with temperatures that are consistently lower, focus on plants that can survive the cold, such as a Siberian Iris or Lily of the Valley,
- If you live in a drier climate, choose plants that do not require daily watering, such as succulents. Many species of succulents can survive in arid weather and high heat, making them ideal for drier climates.
- If you live in a more tropical climate, choose plants that can sustain heavy rains and humidity, such as begonias.
- Choose what kind of basket you will use.Decide if you want an open or solid basket. Consider if you have time to devote to watering your hanging plants every day. Open baskets are better suited for plants that require maintenance and care every day, whereas solid baskets may be better for plants that require less attention to thrive.
- Open baskets are usually made with a mesh and lined with soil. Because the water drips through the planter and evaporates, they must be watered regularly, and may be less well suited for drier climates.
- A solid basket is filled with soil and needs to be watered much less often, but also may not be suited for plants who are more prone to mildew damage. These pots are best suited for a drier climates.
- Select plants that can be moved.Hanging outdoor plants have the convenience of easy mobility. If you live in a climate that has any sort of extreme temperature shifts, choose plants that can also thrive inside if necessary. If you live in a more temperate region that does not often experience temperature shifts, make sure to select plants that are best suited for a temperate climate.
- Petunias are a great example of low maintenance plant that grows best when in direct sunlight, but can also thrive near a window if necessary.
- Wandering Jew plants have beautiful purple and green leaves that sparkle in the light. They are versatile enough to grow outside in any amount of sunlight, but can also grow well inside.
Placing Your Hanging Baskets
- Monitor the amount of sunlight your plants will receive.Make sure when you are hanging your baskets that you are considering how the sunlight will affect the basket at all times of the day. Certain plants prefer morning sunlight to afternoon sunlight, while some grow best in complete shade. Before you place your baskets, consider how the sunlight will hit the baskets in the areas you've chosen.
- If your hanging garden receives the most sunlight during the early hours of the day, try planting Morning Glories in your hanging basket. Morning Glories are fast growers, with beautiful flowers that grow in shades of pink, periwinkle, blue and white.
- If your hanging garden receives lots of sunlight throughout the day, be sure to choose plants that can beat the heat. Plant succulents that need minimal water, such as a Painted Lady or Jade. If you prefer plants with more flowers, try growing Australian Daisies, which may be purple, yellow, or light blue in color.
- If your hanging garden receives most of its sunlight in the afternoon, choose plants that prefer the shade, such as an Autumn Fern, which grows in shades of yellow, orange, and red. Purple Heart Plants also prefer the shade, and grow in rich hues of violet and lavender.
- Decide on your hanging planter’s placement.Choose a spot based on the amount of sunlight your hanging plants will need. When you are selecting a spot for hanging plants, make sure you can easily access the basket to water and care for your plants. Keep in mind that where you choose to place the hanger may have more or less sunlight depending on the time of day, which can affect the growth of your plants.
- Give your plants room to grow.Consider how much room there is for growth in the place you have selected. Many hanging baskets draw their beauty because they grow and hang over the side of the planter, often nearly covering the basket. Ensure you have enough space to support this growth before choosing vine-like plants.
- If you need a bit more room below your hanging basket, choose hanging baskets with adjustable straps, so that you can hang the basket higher or lower, depending on how large or long your plant grows.
- Put similar types of plants together.Group plants with similar needs together, if you choose to plant them in the same pot. Place plants that need full sunlight together or group shade plants together. Do not mix these varieties, as certain plants may damage others. Be sure that the varieties are not mixed in pre-planted hanging baskets.There are certain plants that can be planted together without causing damage to each other, and may even benefit each other by using opposite soil resources in the pots.
- Certain herbs will do well together, such as basil and thyme, while on the other hand, certain species such as Kudzu and Pepperweed may kill any plant also growing near it.
- If you lift your hanging basket and it is light, it probably needs water. If it is heavy, the soil is well-watered and does not require more.
- Always seek the help of gardening experts in local gardening stores. They happily give advice on how to choose hanging plants wisely.
- Water baskets early in the day to prevent mildew.