Hanging baskets have a cheerful and spacious effect. You can hang one by your front door as a colourful welcome, or on walls or pergolas, but they are also very suitable for your roof garden, patio or balcony. From Britain, the cottage baskets in particular have become very popular all over Europe.
Use your imagination
Hanging pots or baskets can be bought complete with flowers, but it is much nicer to use your own imagination and create your own basket with your favourite colours and fragrances. Any pot or basket will do as long as excess water can drain away. Very popular are the wire baskets that can be lined with spagnum moss for a natural look. You can also use coconut matting. Willow baskets come in all shapes and sizes and are very decorative, as are wooden baskets. Terra cotta pots and even plastic baskets can be used as hanging baskets.
Use a three point hanging system
For stability use a three point hanging system from heavy-duty string or, even better, chain. These are then attached to the rim of the basket. As a filled basket can be fairly heavy, it is best to suspend it from reasonably strong chain. If you want to hang your basket quite high, you might want to use a pulley system. That way you don't have to use steps each time you water your basket.
Filling the basket
- Place the basket on top of a bucket to stop it from rolling about. Line the basket with a thick layer of spagnum moss (this retains a lot of water), coconut matting or, in wooden baskets, a plastic liner. In the latter case, don't forget to pierce some holes in the liner to allow for drainage. Now you can put some potting compost in the basket. You could also mix in some special tub plant food in which case you don't have to add any fertilizer in the first few weeks.
- If you use a wire basket and you want plants to grow out of the side of the basket, you simply cut some slits into the lining, push the young plants through and add some more compost.
- You will get the best result when you plant the taller growing plants somewhat at an angle at the edge of the basket and the more bushy ones in the centre. This way you won't get a dull, flat top!
- Add more soil to about 2 cm from the rim of the pot or basket. Water the basket thoroughly to ensure the roots make proper contact with the soil so the plant will take root as soon as possible.
- After about two weeks it is time to add extra food. The many plants that grow in a relatively small amount of soil will rapidly use up the available nutrients resulting in spindly, anaemic looking plants.
- Keep on watering regularly. A filled basket requires enormous amounts of water every day, especially on warm days.
Tip: Place a small terra cotta pot in larger baskets. This can serve as a water reservoir. It also prevents plant from getting damaged by watering when this is done through the pot.
Tip: Fill a large tub (a cement-mixing tub for instance) with water and leave it to warm up slightly. Dip your basket in the tub and leave it for about half an hour. This way the soil and the roots will get saturated and can go without watering for a few days. If you have several baskets you can dip them in one after another. This saves water and is very handy when you want to go away for a few days.