How To Plant A
Summer Hanging Basket

Bring colour and interest to your garden and house at every level by placing some well-planted hanging baskets. A beautiful hanging basket, filled with variety and complementary shades, is a striking but simple statement and can offer all-year-round flowers at great value.

Did you also know that plants like herbs, strawberries and tomatoes can be grown in hanging baskets?

Keep reading to discover more of our top tips for planting up hanging baskets.

Preparation is Key...

Choosing a hanging basket...

As with everything in the garden, there are different types of hanging baskets, and you can choose the perfect one to fit the space you've got, the style you prefer and the plants you want to grow.

Wire hanging baskets ‚Äď these need to have a liner added to hold the soil and plants.

Wicker hanging basket ‚Äď usually already lined with plastic and needing drainage holes made.

Plastic hanging baskets ‚Äď some of these come with their own water reservoir.

What you'll need for your hanging basket...

You'll need: A large basket, about 12 to 18inches (30-45cm) in diameter. Basket liner or moss. Good quality compost. A bucket or large pot to keep your basket stable during potting. Water-retaining gel crystals. Slow-release fertiliser granules or tablets.

And of course the plants!

The best plants for a hanging basket...

Young plug plants are a cost-effective way of planting but will need a bit longer to grow on and fill a hanging basket. However, for guaranteed success when it comes to planting up the very best hanging baskets, think Thriller, Filler, Spiller.

Choose tall plants that make a statement (Thriller) for the centrepiece, surrounded by plants that fill the space and hide the soil (Filler) and then beautiful blooms to weep over the edges (Spiller). Creating this three dimensional effect will help your baskets be even more impactful.

Thrillers, Fillers & Spillers

Thrillers are almost usually any plant that grows with an upright habit. This can range from bedding like upright geraniums, to perennials or grasses - essentially anything you'd like it to be! The main point is it stands out above the rest.

Fillers are plants that 'fill' the space in your pots and baskets and hide any soil on show. Choose a mix of brighter or darker colours depending on your theme. Bacopas, pansies, bidens or nemesia are usually a good filler choice.

By choosing plants that weep and spill across the edges of pots and baskets, you can add another dimension to your displays and really get people talking. Trailing fuchsias, petunias or verbena are usually popular choices for this look.

FAQ: How many plants do you need?

The number of plants needed for a hanging basket display depends on your own preference, the type of plants used and the size of the basket. As a rough guide for a 14inch (35cm) hanging basket, about six to eight plug plants may be needed around the edges and a further five to seven for the centre.

How to prepare a hanging basket...

Start by putting the basket on the bucket or pot to make it stable. Then line the basket with moss or a pre-formed basket liner. If you're using a liner, push out the pre-cut discs so you can plant through the sides too.

Cut a plastic disc from a bin-liner or empty compost bag to sit in the bottom of the basket as a water reservoir. If using moss to line, you can line the inside of it with plastic, cutting slits to plant through and small holes above the reservoir area for drainage. Mix your planting compost with the water-retaining gel and slow-release fertiliser according to the pack instructions.

Planting up the sides of the basket

Firstly, add compost to the basket until it’s half full. Gently push the plant's root-ball from the outside, through the gaps in the side of the basket into the compost. When you do this, place the root-ball in a plastic bag to protect them and remove the bag.

Fill all the planting spaces, resting the necks of the plants gently on the edge of the basket. Cover roots completely with compost, ensuring the neck of the plant is securely against the basket and fill to about 1inch (2.5cm) below the rim.

Planting up the centre and top of the basket

Make a depression in the compost and place a large, upright plant in the centre. Add more plants evenly around the top, topping up with compost and making sure they are firmed in. Allow a little space from the top of the compost to the rim of the basket for watering.

Slope the compost downwards in the centre ever so slightly to create a watering reservoir. Water well and place in a greenhouse or conservatory if growing on seedlings or super plugs before placing outside once the danger of frost has passed.

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