How to Maintain a Beautiful Flowering Basket
There is nothing so glorious and mood enhancing than being surrounded by colorful annual hanging baskets. They literally bring our gardens up to a higher level; visually enhancing and dressing up entrances, decks, patios, and pergolas.
Keeping a hanging basket flowering throughout the spring and summer can be a challenging endeavor in Saskatchewan. As you know our summers can be hot, dry, and of course, there is always the wind!
Greenhouse growers take immense pride in producing a gorgeous hanging basket. Their baskets lead a pampered life being watered daily with water containing fertilizer and being provided with a windless sunny or shady spot.
Buy baskets that are at minimum 10 inches in diameter and up. Small baskets will dry out too quickly and will need constant maintenance. Do look for baskets that are not fully mature. The space between each plant will fill in quickly in warm temperatures.
Successfully maintaining a hanging basket throughout the summer into the fall basically comes down to supplying the following:
- The right Location
-The right Lighting
- Watering once or twice a day.
- Maintaining a Consistent Fertilizer Regimen.
- Deadheading or Cutting Back Leggy Growth.
Before you go shopping in the spring decide where you would like to locate your hanging baskets. It is all the better if you provide them with a sheltered spot in sun or shade. Do remember to harden them off during the first week home.
Once you have decided your hanging basket locations, take note of how much light per day each basket will receive.
Full Sun - 6 plus hours of sun per day.
Part Sun - 4-6 hours of sun per day.
Part Shade - Approximately 3 -4 hours of sun per day in the morning and protection from hot midday sun.
Full Shade – Less than 3 hours of sun per day. Morning sun.
Fertilization is a must for healthy flowering hanging baskets. Always fertilize with a water- soluble flowering plant fertilizer once a week when the baskets are moist. I use 20-20-20 as this fertilizer is great for all plants, but quite powerful so always follow mixing instructions. More is not better!
When you buy a ready- made hanging basket it is already full of roots. It needs attention paid to watering from day one in your garden. They will need water daily or during hot weather, twice a day. To check for water needs, use the finger in the soil check or if the basket is light, it usually means the soil is dry.
When watering, water until the water runs out of the bottom drain holes. If you allow your hanging basket to dry out too much, you should immerse the whole plastic basket in a large container of water for 30-60 minutes until the root ball is soaked right through. Be warned; this does not always work if the basket has been left too long drying out.
If your budget allows, consider setting up a drip irrigation system for your planters and hanging baskets.
Deadheading or Cutting Back Leggy Growth
Most new varieties of annuals are usually self-cleaning. Even so, it is always a good idea to take a few minutes every few days to check your hanging baskets for lingering dead flowers and leaves. You do not want the flowers to go to seed. Heavily prune back any aggressive plants that are taking over the whole basket.
If a plant happens to die, simply cut out the root ball, insert another plant and fill in around it with new soil and water thoroughly.
Provide instant color in a planter by taking the hanger portion off a hanging basket and place the basket in your planter! Instant color! Instant gratification!
If you are creating your own hanging baskets; 3-4 annuals per 12-inch diameter basket is lots. If you are following through on proper watering and fertilization, you will have a very full basket. Cut back any leggy plants early on and this will encourage each plant to fill out.