Preparing and planting hanging baskets is easy with a few simple steps and the right materials.
The first step is to select a wire basket to allow for proper drainage. Some wire baskets will come with a prepackaged coconut fiber disc, and sometimes the disc will be sold separately.
The wire provides support for the hanging basket while the coconut fiber disc acts as the walls. When selecting the coconut fiber disc, place it in the basket and make sure an inch of fiber sticks out above the wire rim.
Fill the basket about halfway with potting soil and begin planting your selected plants. Choose taller plants and mounding plants for the middle and trailing plants for the sides. The advantage of the hanging basket is that you can even plant the sides by cutting a slit in the coconut fiber and inserting small trailing plants. This will distribute color throughout the basket.
When adding plants to the sides of the basket, the root ball must be planted into the soil to prevent it from drying out.
Leave at least 1 or 2 inches of open space between the top of the coconut fiber and the soil when the planting is finished. Just like when planting a pot, you need to provide a lip that will serve to hold water for your hanging garden.
Watering will be your biggest maintenance challenge. With intense summer heat, you may be watering every day or every two to three days. You could also have the problem of too much water when frequent summer rains occur.
When watering your baskets, soak the soil thoroughly. I like to use a garden hose with a water wand attachment and water the basket from overhead. I also water until I see it pouring out of the bottom of the coconut fiber.
Another important aspect of growing hanging baskets is plant selection. If your basket will be planted in direct sunlight, plant full sun plants such as gold mound lantana, blue plumbago and marguerite sweet potato vine.
If it will be placed in the shade, plant impatiens, begonia, Mexican fan flower and periwinkle vine. As much as you love that full sun plant, don’t plant it in the shade; it will not perform.