Five Tips to Ensure Your Hanging Baskets Last All Season
A little TLC goes a long way when it comes to both indoor and outdoor flowers and greens.
Many home gardeners believe that once hung, hanging baskets need little care or attention. But the truth is, "to keep your hanging baskets [looking good] you will need to pay continuous attention to them," says Susan Brandt, co-founder of Blooming Secrets. But what kind of TLC do hanging baskets actually need? Here, Brandt shares five tips to keep your hanging baskets in tip-top shape from the time you set them out until the season's end.
Pinch Your Plants
"Pinching is a form of pruning," Brandt explains, "and it is designed to encourage a plant to branch out or to promote an additional blooming cycle." Here's how to do it: Remove dead flowers just above the next closest set of leaves. "This not only makes the plant look better aesthetically," Brandt says, "but promotes healthy growth as well." Make the cut with your scissors or by "pinching" the stem between your thumb and forefinger, then snapping it off.
Fertilize Your Plants
Most flowers—and especially annuals—need to be fertilized, whether they're in a basket or not. For hanging baskets, you can use a granular fertilizer or liquid fertilizer, Brandt says—but she prefers the latter because granular fertilizers can burn and even kill the plants if not applied properly. You'll want to fertilize the plants in the baskets every two weeks, Brandt adds, because "nutrients can leach out of the container fairly quickly."
Trim Your Plants
In addition to pinching your plants, you should also trim (or prune) them. While it may seem counterintuitive to prune greens and flowers that are, in all likelihood, meant to look full or even hang down, "pruning your plants will help keep your basket fuller over the summer," says Brandt. "It's like giving your hanging basket a haircut: In the short-term, you may lose some flowers. But in the long-term, the basket will bounce back and will be fuller and healthier."
Move the Baskets Periodically
If you spot some of your baskets thriving while others are withering, consider swapping their locations. "One location might get more sun than the other one—or get the morning sun and some the afternoon sun," Brandt says. By changing their spots, you'll give all your baskets the benefit of different environments. (She suggests swapping them once a week.)
Your ultimate goal may be to have several hanging baskets, but it's important to remember that each basket requires a lot of time and attention. That's why Brandt recommends that you start with a few baskets and work your way up to the number you really want. "This way, you can see the amount of time you will need to devote to them before you add more," she explains.