Hanging Baskets Flowering Plants Always In Style

colorful petunias

Today, nurseries continue to “try” more and more plant varieties to find ones suitable for hanging baskets.

No doubt this ties in with today’s increased use of plants for home decoration.

Hanging Baskets In Style

For some reason, plants (especially flowering plants) suspended in the air, growing up and down and all around; takes on added beauty.

Whatever the reason, hanging baskets are definitely in style.

Where to hang them, how to plant and take care of them, and what kinds of plants are most effective are frequent questions. The where, of course, is the first consideration.

Plant and Container Selection

In container gardening, (hanging baskets are no different) the selection of container and plant material depends entirely on the chosen area or environment. Wall planters at some distance from day light, for example, should hold only foliage plants – because only foliage plants will exist without good light and some sun.

And even these should be fairly frequently renewed. Sunny windows are excellent for flowering plants. Even for an unheated sun porch, there is wide variety of flowering plants from which to choose.

Containers, then, are selected with dual purposes in mind – decorative value where they will hang, and suitability for specific varieties of plants with specific good-growing requirements.

Earthenware, terra cotta, and other pottery containers; finely finished or rustic-looking hangers of wood, particularly redwood; bronze, brass, pewter, wire, or other metal baskets — any or all of these should have either drainage holes in the bottom, or in an inside plant liner or basin.

Planting directly in any container garden without drainage can lead to over-watering and the problem of rot.

Strawberry jars hung by chains are charming.

Baskets, with protective liners, or wire baskets lined with a thick layer of sphagnum moss. The sphagnum moss can be pressed tight around the outside of a bulb pan one size smaller than the basket, then transferred and packed tightly inside the wire baskets.

A liner of burlap or other coarse material inside the sphagnum moss will help keep soil from falling through. This is filled with the proper planting mix.

These wire baskets can be watered by a hose spray, from below or plunged into water and set aside to drain. Watering is always thorough, yet the soil is never packed and soggy, and the roots can easily breathe.

There are few hanging plant varieties which will not do best in these traditional baskets.

Type of decorative container, plant material and growing area, of course, determine the method of planting. One single angel wing begonia will put on a magnificent show of flowers in a four-inch pot, inside a small hanger. But large baskets are usually not crowded when planted with four plants of the same variety, for balance.

Foliage and flowering plants like episcias start well this way; and they can be further encouraged to cover the soil and edges of the basket by hair-pinning stolons to the soil where they will take root.

Few Rules For Planting

In container gardening a mixture of plants can be extremely effective, if one caution is kept in mind — in one container, mix only those plants which like the same or very similar growing conditions.

Dry-growing pepperomias, for example, will rot in a basket kept moist enough for ivy; shade-loving ferns will blister in the sunlight the sedum basks in.

But a selection of tropical foliage plants – all of which like moisture, humus and humidity — can be a delight, and can thrive.

Mixed Plantings

In a mixed planting, place a slow grower with erect habit in the center; next outside it, some shorter bushy plants; and around the margin, trailers, creepers, and droopers — some which will hang down, some twine upward on cord or handle.

A common fault in container gardening is over-crowding, which leads to reciprocal strangulation — one plant fighting another for its very life.

Allow plenty of room for growth. Pack the soil firmly about the roots, to forestall settling or washing out. Water thoroughly.

The Soil Mix For Container Gardening

A soil mix with equal proportions of garden loam, sharp sand, and leaf mold or humus is suitable for most hanging plants. However, outdoors I like to use a bagged potting mix in all my container gardening. Some growers recommend the addition of a good proportion of bark. If you know your plant material, you will know its needs.

Watering Baskets

Water hanging baskets regularly all the way through, so water runs out the bottom of the container. But don’t keep them saturated, and don’t let them get bone dry. Provide fresh air – but not cold drafts.

Fertilize according to the plants’ needs with weak liquid fertilizer, or a soluble balanced fertilizer. In the window garden turn baskets regularly to the sun, a quarter turn each clay, to maintain good balance.

Keeping plants well-groomed will increase your enjoyment. Remove faded flowers and foliage. Water-spray as often as possible to keep plants clean, to increase humidity, and to help control pests. If pests do attack, most can be controlled with a good plant pesticide.

If you’re planning some hanging baskets, don’t stop when you find philodendron, grape ivy, or cissus to put in them.

Check through the following list for less usual varieties which can provide the fresh appeal of newness. Some are large growers, some small, some grow fast, some slow, some bloom, some are primarily foliage plants. For more complete descriptions of unfamiliar varieties, check any house plant reference book.

Vining and Trailing Plants
grouped by preferred growing conditions

Full Sun   Cool Porch or Greenhouse
  • Abutilon megapotamicum variegatum (flowering maple)
  • Campanula isophylla (star of Bethlehem)
  • Hoya carnosa variegata (wax plant)
  • Kalanchoe uniflora
  • Lobularia maritima (sweet alyssum)
  • Lobularia maritima flora plena (double form)
  • Lotus bertholetii (winged pea)
  • Mahernia verticillata (honey bells)
  • Passiflora caerulea
  • Passiflora caerulea trifasciata (passion flowers)
  • Sedum morganianum (burro’s tail)
  • Sedum sieboldii (October plant)
  • Streptosolen jamesonii (orange browollia)
  • Cymbalaria muralis (Kenilworth ivy)
  • Fuchsia, many varieties
  • Hedera helix (ivy), almost all varieties
  • Lantana montevidonsis (trailing lantana)
  • Lobelia, and other annuals
  • Nepeta hederacea variegata
  • Oxalis, many varieties
  • Pelargonium peltatum
  • Pelargonium peltatum variegatum (ivy geranium)
  • Pelargonium tomentosum (peppermint geranium)
  • Saxifraga sormentoso
  • Saxifraga sarmentosa tricolor (strawberry geranium)
  • Senecio mikanioides (German or parlor ivy)
  • Tolmiea menziesii (piggy-back plant)
  • Vinca major variegata
  • Tropical Warmth, Humidity   Average House
  • Achimenes, all varieties
  • Begonia bowerii
  • Begonia digswelliana
  • Begonia foliosa
  • Begonia fuchsioides
  • Cissus adenopodus
  • Cissus discolor (begonia vine)
  • Columnea arguta
  • Columnea bonksii
  • Columnea gloriosa (and many others)
  • Episcia, all varieties
  • Ferns, many varieties, particularly Nephrolepis
  • Helxine (baby tears)
  • Manettia bicolor (firecracker vine)
  • Maranta massangeana
  • Pellionia dauveauana
  • Pellionia pulchra
  • Philodendron micans, and many others
  • Pilea depressa
  • Pilea involucrata
  • Pilea repons
  • Schizocentron elegans (Spanish shawl)
  • Selaginella, almost all
  • Smilax mexicana
  • Syngonium, many varieties
  • Begonias:
  • Angel wings
  • Rhizomatous (star begonias):
  • ‘Black Magic’
  • ‘Cleopatra’
  • ‘Bow-Nigra’ and many others
  • Browallia speciosa major
  • Ceropegia debilis (devil’s tongue)
  • Ceropegia woodii (Rosary vine)
  • Chlorophytum elatum vittatum (spider plant)
  • Ficus pumila (creeping fig)
  • Peperomia prostrata
  • Peperomia fosteriona
  • Peperomia cubensis and many others
  • Plectranthus australis
  • Plectranthus oertendahlii
  • Scindapsus ∞circus
  • S. pictus (pathos, devil’s ivy)
  • Senecio confuses (orange-glow vine)
  • Serjania communis glabra
  • Seicreasee, Tradescantia and Zebrina (inch plants, wandering Jew), many varieties

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