How to Create Beautiful Hanging Baskets

Shutterstock / Stephanie Frey © Demonstration of a young woman giving a tutorial on how to plant a hanging basket or pot of flowers. Flowers include Verbena, Petunias, Creeping Jenny and Alyssum.

Whether you live in a small apartment or a huge house, every place can instantly become much more beautiful when you add some colour to it.

Nothing does it better than flowers, and one easy way to add a splash of colour is by creating beautiful hanging baskets.

Read on to find out more about how you can make hanging baskets yourself, what kinds of plants and flowers you should use and how to arrange them to make them look gorgeous.

Size matters

When you set out to make a hanging basket, your initial reaction might be to start things off small to save some money. Don’t do it. Most commercially available flower baskets are too small to let the flowers planted reach their full size and potential.

If a basket is too small, there will be no more room for the flower’s roots to expand by the middle of summer.

Not only will this stunt the plants’ growth, but they will also become root-bound. This will make it impossible to water them and care for them properly. Even using a fertiliser cannot help you once the plant grows too big for its container.

So, forget about any pots that are less than 14 inches in diameter. A planter that is 16 inches diameter works quite well, as it gives the flowers enough room to grow and expand throughout the season.

Plastic or wire baskets?

decorative basket with flowers with the blue sky background

Wire and coir fibre are more breathable and will last longer than plastic. Pic: Shutterstock

When choosing the materials you will use, the choice comes down to picking whether you want something cheap or something durable.

At a glance, plastic might seem like a better option, in particular, if you are going for a more vibrant and colourful look. But it has many disadvantages when compared to a wire basket.

  • Plastic tends to become brittle and fragile during the colder times of the winter. So the odds are that you will have to obtain new planters with each new season.
  • Plastic is not porous. This means that oxygen cannot reach the plant’s roots as quickly as is possible with a wire planter.
  • Moreover, plastic tends to keep the heat inside, which can mean disaster for your plants during hot summer days.

Wire baskets last longer and let the plants breathe and absorb nutrients much better. All of these factors make them a much wiser choice.

Pick the proper soil for planting

Once you have selected the right basket for the job, it is time to move on to the next step – choosing the most suitable soil for your plants.

Unlike flowers in your garden that are easy to fertilise and can benefit from all the resources nature can give them, potted plants are pretty much stuck with the soil you plant them in.

Because of this, choose a high-quality potting mix that will provide them with nutrients  your plants can benefit from all year long.

Feel free to add some compost into the pre-made mix, as every extra bit of nutrition helps your flowers.

Choosing the right flowers for your hanging baskets

Spring flower basket with variegated purple petunias and pink verbena flowers on outdoor table

Petunia and verbena are good plants for baskets. Pic: Shutterstock

Moving on, the next and perhaps the most crucial step is – picking the right flowers.

What you want is a variety of flowers that can make heavy blooms for the longest possible time.

Wave petunias, begonias, impatiens, lantana, and verbena are all excellent choices for hanging baskets.

For a bit of an exotic look, add some ornamental peppers in the mix. Not only are their flowers beautiful to look at, but they also provide thick, dark foliage that will make all the flowers you plant pop out more. They serve as a beautiful backdrop for all the other plants you choose.

Give your plants room to grow

Even when you find the ideal mix of plants and flowers for your hanging baskets, your job is not done. You must resist the urge to fill your planter to the brim with flowers and make it look incredible from the very first day.

Instead, give your plants enough room to expand and grow. For a 16-inch basket, the maximum amount of plants that can grow comfortably is seven, while a 14-inch pot can host five plants, six at  best.

Just be patient and give your plants some time to grow into their new home. In a few weeks, your hanging basket will look amazing.

Some additional care tips

Man watering hanging basket with sprinkler hose

Baskets need watering every day. Pic: Mark Hunt/Shutterstock

  • Hanging baskets dry out much faster than any other type of container. Your plants will need watering on a daily basis.
  • If your plants are not looking that great, don’t hesitate to add some fertiliser to their soil, or even some store-bought liquid nutrients.
  • Even when they have finished flowering, your plants can be useful to other plants – simply add them to the compost pile.

Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house. You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.