Hanging Basket and Container Care Tips
Your flowering hanging baskets and containers can bloom and thrive for many months – with a little help from you. Follow these easy guidelines to keep your plants healthy and beautiful throughout the season.
Choosing a Hanging Basket or Container
Do not use any basket smaller than 10 inches or container smaller than 12 inches for outside use. Do not use a moss or coconut basket smaller than 14 inches. Baskets and containers smaller than these do not have enough water holding capacity and the plants will die. If you are using a moss or coconut basket put a liner in the bottom to hold the moisture. Most do not come with one. The ones we make all have lines in them for you.
Be sure to choose container with holes in the bottom for drainage. Please only purchase baskets with chain or wire hangers. We feel the plastic hangers distract from the beauty of the plants. We feel a basket with a plastic hanger is like a man hung by a rope by your front door. A basket with a wire hanger is like a ballerina floating in air.
The Right Light
Most flowering hanging baskets and containers will tolerate a wide range of light conditions, though some will balk at the heat and drying of the all day sunlight or the dimness of all-day shade. Match your plant with its light location for best results.
Tuberous Begonias do best in full shade and should be watered as needed in the morning.
Fuchsias are like Tuberous Begonias with an additional requirement of the need for humid environment like in the woods.
Water Before Wilting
Don’t wait for wilting as your cue to water. Flowering plants do best if you never allow them to wilt. Take extra care with watering since hanging plants dry out faster than garden plants, because they’re exposed to more wind and warmer temperatures.
Under average conditions here in Wisconsin, flowering plants in 10″ diameter hanging baskets use 16 to 32 fl. oz. of water per day. With proper watering, the plants should last one day between watering, in the heat of the summer. If it is cloudy and or cool two or more days between watering may be OK. We use 10 inch Kord baskets with straight sides and wire hangers. These have more soil and more water holding capacity than any other 10 inch basket on the market especially more than curved sided baskets. A container of similar size may use a little less water since it is on the ground.
Be sure to water thoroughly If the container or basket dries out, the soil may shrink and allow the water to quickly run out the drain hole, fooling you into thinking it’s thoroughly watered when, in fact, the water is bypassing the roots. Make sure the basket, becomes heavy with water, about 7 to 9 lbs. You may need to re-water the basket again in 15 minutes – or soak it in a bucket of water for 5 to 10 minutes to thoroughly moisten the soil.
Fertilize When Needed
Even if you never allowed them to wilt, your plants may develop yellow leaves and poor flowering which can indicate a need for fertilizer. In Wisconsin with our hard water and a pH of above 7 for most of the wells, we recommend you use an acid fertilizer such as mir-acid by miracle grow. It says on the can for acid loving plants like azaleas and rhododendrons. This helps compensate for the hard water but if you can save rain water for your plants this is best. Most of the instructions say add one tablespoon of fertilizer to one gallon of water. Use this once a week or about every seventh watering to water your plants instead of your regular watering. Do not use soft water.
They also make slow release fertilizers like osmocoat and we have found two applications of about one tablespoon when you buy the basket or container and one in early July is enough.
Keep in mind that if a little fertilizer is good, a lot is NOT better. Too much fertilizer can burn roots and damage plants.
Plant Care During Vacation
Don’t forget your flowering baskets and containers when you go on vacation. If you can’t get a “plant sitter” to water them for you while your are gone, take them down from their hangers and set them on the ground in the shade. With a thorough watering before you leave, most plants will last a week on the ground in a well shaded location. Flowering may be reduced when you first re-hang your plants, but they will soon return to their summer glory.
If your plants get large and overgrown, right before you go on vacation is a good time to trim them back and remove some of the extra growth.
We have worked hard to produce the best and most beautiful healthy baskets and containers. We now entrust our beauties care to you. The keys we have found are the watering and placing the right plant in the right place.
The above information is provided from our many years of experience and the knowledge we have gained from the following organizations of which we are members. The Wisconsin Commercial Flower Growers Association , The Ohio Florist Association, The Perennial Plant Growers Association, American Nursery and Landscape Association, Garden Centers of America, and The International Herb Association.