How To Keep A Hanging Basket Looking Good

How To Keep A Hanging Basket Looking Good

For many it’s a Mother’s Day tradition to buy a colorful hanging basket to celebrate the holiday and kick off the summer flower season. It’s a favorite time for our staff at the garden center because every hook and beam is filled with beautiful hanging plants. It’s a celebration of abundant bloom for everyone. Many of our customers wonder how they can keep their hanging basket looking good for the rest of the season, so we’re pleased to give you some tips for success.

Working in our large greenhouse is like being in a flower festival! The worst thing for the customers is making a choice when there are so many beauties to pick from.

Here are the ways you can keep your basket looking great:

  • On Cape Cod we frequently have cold nights up to Memorial Day. When the night temperatures drop below 50 some of the summer annuals suffer. Additionally, these hangers are coming straight from the grower’s greenhouse and haven’t yet been exposed to “the real world.” If it’s possible to bring a hanger in during the night and then put outside during the day, do so until the end of May.
  • When you water a hanging basket, be sure to saturate the root ball completely. Soaking the soil well, and then waiting until it starts to dry before watering again, is better than giving the plant “a lick and a promise” every day.  One way to tell if the basket needs watering is to lift it from the bottom. Do this before you water and again afterwards, and you’ll soon learn how it feels when dry and saturated. This is one way we can quickly tell if a hanging basket needs water here in the store.
  • Fertilize regularly. Annuals flower on new growth so it’s important to keep stimulating that new growth. Either use a liquid such as MaxSea every other week, or put a teaspoon of Osmocote into the basket every two or three weeks. Remember to water your basket well a few hours before you use a liquid fertilizer: never fertilize a thirsty plant.
  • Some annuals such as Calibrachoa and blue Lobelia flower best in cooler temperatures. If the summer is especially hot, these will do better when sheltered from the midday sun.
  • Petunias and some other annuals flower at the end of long stems. By clipping two or three of these stems in half every week you will be shortening the long green areas, and promoting double the new growth. Begin pruning a few stems back regularly before the plant gets too long and leggy.
  • Be sure to place a hanger where the sun is right for the plants in the basket. We have hanging baskets for direct sun and those for shade…you’ll be able to match a beautiful hanging plant to your location.

    Petunias are one of the plants that benefit from pinching stems as they grow longer, and keeping up with the fertilization.

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