Getting the Hang of Hanging Baskets

What's So Great About Hanging Baskets? Hanging Baskets...

• Are beautiful!

• Last a lot longer than cut flowers

• Add visual impact by bringing plants up to eye level

• Are moveable and add interest in unexpected places

• Can be purchased ready-made if you prefer – just hang 'em.

• Don't require digging or weeding

Tips You Can Hang Your Hat On • Location, location, location. Always match the plant to the location - sun-loving plants for sunny spots, etc.

• Keep watch over them. Be on the alert for wilting or discoloration. Wilting probably means you need to water. Yellowing can indicate the need to feed. Brown spots, sticky residue or chewed leaves usually indicates a bug problem.

• Food for thought. Nutrients tend to leach through hanging baskets faster than other containers. Feed plants every 4 weeks with Espoma Flower-tone®.

• Keep things tidy. Because hanging baskets tend to be right in your face, pinch off dead flowers to keep the basket looking good – and to encourage more flowers. Snip off unsightly or unruly stems.

How to Do It:

1. Choose a basket Think size, strength and style. Look for a pot/basket that fits your space appropriately. Smaller ones can dry out quickly in the hot sun. Make sure you use a strong hook – wet baskets can be heavy. Common types of baskets available at garden centers are: Galvanized wire Plastic Woven natural material (true baskets) Ceramics.

2. Need a Liner? Good drainage is important, but if your basket doesn't hold back any water, you'll need to line it. There are lots of liners available. Sphagnum peat moss and cocoa moss are absorbent natural favorites that also hold in the soil. You can find them at your local garden center.

3. Add Potting Mix. A high quality organic potting mix, like the one from Espoma, is an excellent choice. It contains mycorrhizae to promote root growth. Because nutrients can leach through the basket, it's smart to add in about 1/4 cup of rich, organic plant food too, like Espoma Flower-tone®.

4. Choose plants or seeds. You'll need to evaluate your hanging location. Tall, upright plants aren't usually the best choice, unless you like looking at the undersides of leaves and stems, or you're planning on hanging the basket about waist high. Most folks prefer to hang plants a bit higher, so plants that “spill" over the sides of the container are a better choice for that purpose.

Here are 5 of our favorite candidates for hanging baskets: Verbena, Nasturtium, Alyssum, Dwarf Impatiens and Viola Pansy Mix

5. Come Heck or High Water - Don't Forget to Water! Since many hanging baskets are porous and drain very well, they also dry out quickly, especially in the outside air. Stick your finger in the soil about one inch down to check the moisture level. The soil down there should feel moist, like a wrung-out sponge. If the soil feels moist, your plants in that location don't need watering today.

That wraps up our easy advice on hanging baskets. Now that you know the basics, there shouldn't be anything to get hung up on. It's high time you got started!