Hanging Baskets for Beginners!

The beauty of any and ALL green thumbed advice I share is that I can’t be told I’m wrong.
Why?
Because you cannot put beginners down for trying! 
Plus, I have learnt over my two and a bit growing seasons, that gardening forgives mistakes just as easily as it punishes plans too well laid. Perfectionists…take a breath, its time give way to Mother Nature and simply give greenery a go with no promises of success. 
I had meant to share a little guide to creating hanging baskets for you at the end of last year but, spooked by my move of going for intensely bright Petunias, I thankfully held off. This means I have been able to share the importance of the journey AND the experimentation while showing you examples of where I have been and where I am going! 

Below you will find a little video I shot of creating my baskets this for this year including my reasoning behind my choices. 
Further down the post I include pictures from previous years and some key tips and tricks to help you on your way! 

ALSO check out my completely over the top Pinterest board of Hanging Basket inspiration to help you imagine the possibilities! 

MY HANGING BASKET ADVENTURE SO FAR….

2018 – Italy inspired exuberance! 
As explained in the video, I got back from Europe and was mad for saturated colour. 
Buoyed by my success the previous year (below) I got brave with my plant combos too! 
These ones included a rainbow spectrum of purple, magenta and coral Petunias, white and blue Lobelia plus scattered editions of Paper Daisies.

Overall I loved the abundance and greater variation in plant combinations. 
I didn’t love the purple Petunias and missed the subtley of my palette the year before. 

2017 – a restrained launch into the unknown! 
Still coming to grips with the fact that I even WANTED to have hanging baskets (hadn’t been urge in the previous 36 years of my life!) I kept pretty classic and safe on my colour combos. 
White rambling Petunias with white and baby blue trailing Lobelia plus a little basket of cloudy annual Gypsophila.
Looking back at these pics they were so lush and the lack of bright colour did let the eye lead out into the garden where there was plenty of colour to be enjoyed. 

Our post wedding ceremony meal before heading to the party. It felt GOOD to have grown those baskets! - Photo by Charlotte Sowman

HANGING BASKETS 

My first foray into hanging baskets was after finding a big old wire one at our local dump store and wondering if I could bring some floral whimsy to my back verandah. In all honesty I mostly felt that hanging baskets walked the line of old fashioned and gaudy…but there was something about the battered, un finished, galvanised wire basket that I loved. 

Key factors: 

  • They are FANTASTIC opportunities to experiment with colour, texture, height, trailing and plant types in a convenient, compact format. 
  • When picking plants aim for choosing seedlings that list “trailing”, “cascading” or “rambling” in their descriptions. I do pair these with upright plants as well, but if you want the effect of “hanging” don’t just go for the upright versions only! 
  • Hang high enough or in a spot that isn’t going to cause a household war with people hitting their heads (speaking from experience here!)
  • In saying this, a spot in the sun is important for growth.
  • Go into creating a hanging basket knowing that it will need regular, maybe daily, watering in the summer months. 
  • Use potting mix to be sure you give them the best, nutritious chance of success. 
  • You have choices in lining to contain your soil. I use coir liners that actually last me two years each time and naturally break down after. 

Places to find hanging baskets: 

  • search for them at dump shops, secondhand stores and Trade Me. If you, like me, prefer old and battered this could be a bargain AND attractive result! 
  • I purchased one from a dump shop and the other two ordered from a maker in New Plymouth via Trade Me. This was all due to me wanting to match the raw wire finish. I just wasn’t into the others out there but you will find options plastic, glossy green/black metal ones and baskets too. 
  • You can find them at all garden centres and hardware stores too. 
Don’t be limited by the examples of what I have done, there are incredibly creative and mind bending ideas online that include poking holes in your liner and planting your specimens upside down! 
This is just the frothy, happy, abundant feeling vibe that I like to go for. 
I’ve spotted great options with vegetables too and am trialing growing a strawberry plant in one this year! 

 

Plants – the choice is endless! 
I mostly find the weather just warms up a degree and I think, it’s Hanging Basket week! This always coincides with garden centre sales around Labour Weekend, so I simply shop the aisles of choice. 
Very cost effective and it helps you race toward full baskets for Christmas! 

But my favourites are: 

  • Lobelia (cascading/trailing) – They come in wonderful options of pale pinks and blues through to deep blue and classic white. I like their delicate foliage and the softness of how they “hang”. Do your best to avoid letting them dry out as I find they can die very quickly but also, once they start looking a bit “spent” and past it, try pruning back to below the old flowers and I have found they will come again! 
  • Petunias (rambling/cascading) – I know, they seem so old fashioned but I love to choose them for their “frothy” effect and endless flowering. I have fallen back to my classic white BUT there are a rainbow of colours to choose from! 
  • Annual Gypsophila – I used this last year on its own in a small basket it it looked so simple and beautiful!
  • Sweet Peas – they were they only thing I had successfully grown, so I popped some in a basket. The result was a crazy, tangled mess of happy, sweet smelling joy! 
  • Pansies, Begonias, Geraniums etc.…not my personal favourites for hanging baskets but you will see on their seedling labels they are often suggested as good candidates! 
  • Other upright annuals – eg. compact flowering plants that might give a nice floral “centre” to your basket. This season I found a small daisy, and last year I used a perennial Paper Daisy that looked lovely…but once my baskets were finished I needed to re home in a pot. 

Watch my video to see how I put each basket together.
I DO pack a lot of  seedlings in as I love a completely over the top vibe, but you can certainly use less. 

Please always always use gloves and a face mask when handling potting mix from a bag. 

As always, all photography and videos are shot by me in my home garden in Christchurch, New Zealand. 
Copyright of Studio Home Enterprises Ltd. 

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