How to plant a hanging basket

Timing is everything when planting a hanging basket. Summer hanging baskets should be planted from April onwards but need to be protected from frost until the end of May by using fibre fleece or keeping in a greenhouse, while winter baskets should be planted in the months of September & October.

Follow this straightforward guide to a beautiful hanging basket full of flowers all year round.

Steps To Plant A Hanging Basket

Choose a Liner for the Hanging Basket

Choose a liner to suit your chosen hanging basket and line as per manufacturer’s instructions. Some baskets will come with a P.E liner already supplied. If this does not come with drainage holes already pierced, use a pencil to gently create 2 or 3 holes.

A top tip for moss or lose fibre liners is to place a plastic saucer or section of polythene on top of the lining to ensure that when water is added it does not immediately drain out.

Choose A Good Quality Compost

Fill the hanging basket to approximately 1/3 full and firm slightly. If using water retaining gel, pre-mix the specified dose to this layer of compost.

Water Your Plants Before Planting

About an hour before planting into your basket, water the plants in their original pots or trays. This helps to reduce the ‘transplantation’ shock to the plant and eases the removal from their origin.

Plant Into Your Hanging Basket

  1. Plant by gently squeezing the base of the plant, holding the roots and compost together. Use your hands or a trowel to make a hole in the compost, the same size as the root ball of the plant. Remove the plant from its original pot carefully, insert it into the hole and firm into place.
  2. Add compost to cover the root ball up to the next layer of planting holes. Do not try to work from the inside of the basket as you will break the plant as you try to push the leaves and stems through the planting holes.
  3. Whilst planting, be sure not to overcrowd the basket. If using trailing plants, position these around the edges as these will eventually grow to cover the basket sides or, if using a wire basket, cut holes in the liner and poke through the openings to create a fuller basket design.
  4. Once the basket has been completely planted, ensure that the compost is slightly firmed and water well.
  5. Carefully place on your bracket or hook.

Hanging Basket Aftercare

  1. Deadhead any dead or dying flowers as this will encourage new flowers to grow and keep your container looking fresh and healthy for longer
  2. Water regularly and increase the frequency in hot and dry conditions. Water retaining gels and granules will aid water retention for your plants.
  3. Using a good quality plant food or fertiliser is advised to ensure the best chance for your plants- read manufacturer’s instructions for best results.
  4. Rotate the position of your basket regularly to ensure equal sunlight coverage and even growth.
  5. Check regularly for pests or diseases and treat with an appropriate insecticide or fungicide.

Ideal Hanging Basket Flowers

Here's a quick list of summer and winter flowers that are perfect for hanging baskets:

Summer Hanging Basket Flowers

  • Petunias
  • Fuchsia
  • Viola
  • Lysimachia (Creeping Jenny)
  • Pelargonium (Geraniums)
  • Lobelia
  • Argyranthemum
  • Salvia
  • Nicotiana (tobacco plants)
  • Impatiens (Busy Lizzies)
  • Hedera (ivy)
  • Clematis

Winter Hanging Basket Flowers

  • Buxus (Box)
  • Crocus
  • Gaultheria
  • Iris reticulata
  • Hedera
  • Carex)
  • Primula
  • Polyanthus
  • Cyclamen
  • Viola
  • Winter Pansies
  • Winter-flowering heathers

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