Anatomy of a Hanging Basket
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Chances are, you'll have difficulty rivaling King Nebuchadnezzar's sprawling scenery at home, but you can take one small step toward its splendor by embellishing your house or garden with hanging baskets. Martha prefers using wire baskets because their construction allows you to position plants along the side as well as up top. Wire baskets are available at garden stores, but you can also use old wire buckets or boxes found at antiques stores or tag sales.
To plant a hanging basket, first determine the plants you want to use and how you'd like to see them positioned. For this project, Martha used flax lily in the center, and flanked it with coleus (Solenostemon ‘Black Magic') and sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Margarita'). For the sides of the basket, she decided to alternate the coleus with golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), and Dracaena ‘Compacta.'
Soak some sphagnum moss, and use it to line the basket to about 2 inches from the rim. If the basket has a round bottom, you can give yourself some stability while you work by setting it on a terra-cotta pot. Fill half the basket with potting soil, and arrange the plants you've selected for the sides at mid-level by poking the roots or shoots (whichever is easier by size) through the basket and a layer of sphagnum moss. Continue to fill the basket with potting soil; leave an inch or so at the top to facilitate watering. Arrange the rest of the plants, and fill the space around the roots with additional soil. Trim any stray, shaggy moss with scissors, and water the plants as soon as possible.
Wire Hanging Baskets
Martha Stewart: The Catalog for Living