Creating hanging baskets that ooze flowers from their very pores may seem a little daunting, especially if you’ve never tried it before. Yet, come the end of spring towards the start of summer and the ‘Ooohs’ and ‘Aahhs’ you receive from besotted visitors will make the challenge seem…well, less challenging I suspect.

Growing flowers in hanging baskets may seem to some as a gardening freak show – plants were indeed made for the ground not the air, unless they’re epiphytic of course. But don’t discount this form of gardening for it forces you to see your plants through ‘new eyes’. Rather than looking down on them you may find yourself enjoying them from underneath or at least eye level. Perspective changing, really.

The Basket or the Flowers?

So, where do you start when making hanging flower baskets? Should the basket come first, or the plant? Or, are we going to argue semantics like the age-old debate, “The chicken or the egg?”.

For me, it’s the basket but only because I don’t have many of them – yet! So if I want to start a new floral hanging basket, I will shop around for the basket to complement the surroundings rather than the plant. But even that’s not entirely true, because I have had some hanging baskets that were specifically chosen for the plant – like strawberry planters, as an example.

My current fascination is hanging planters that resemble mythical gods where their hair can be grown with suitable plants. This is a classical example of the planter coming before the plant.

Yet in most cases the hanging basket will be chosen before the flowers because you will either (a) already have the basket, (b) have a style that you are trying to retain, or (c) you find a gorgeous basket at your local nursery and feel the need to fill it with something beautiful – though you’re not sure what that might be just yet.

Obviously there are some considerations when sourcing a hanging basket.

  1. Size – if your basket is too big it will detract from the rest of your yard. Too small and it could get lost.
  2. Weight – and structure required – when the hanging basket is complete and the flowers are blooming profusely, will it still be able to be supported?
  3. Location – full-sun, part-shade, full-shade? Plus, will the basket be knocked about by the prevailing afternoon wind?
  4. Longevity – will the hanging basket last longer than one season?
  5. Maneuverability – in relation to the Size and Weight issues is whether this planter is able to moved by yourself or will it require a small team of weightlifters to prop it in place?
  6. Material – will the basket need a liner or is it already lined? Will you need anything else to start this project?

Ok. So you’ve chosen your hanging basket/s after weeks of scouring through the local garden centres for just the right one. Now what?

Adding flowers to those hanging baskets

Plant choice is paramount to making this project a success. You will find that the location of your hanging baskets will depend entirely upon which plants you choose. It’s no good purchasing shade lovers if they’re sitting in full-sun all day and vice versa.

Over the Easter weekend, I will list some great plants that work well in flowering hanging baskets from the sun-seekers to the shade-lovers; the trailers to the clumpers, so stick around.

In the meantime, get some premium potting mix (whether it’s store-bought or home-made), some liquid fertiliser, a couple handfuls of bonemeal and set up a trickle system – unless you prefer other methods for watering plants.