WITH the warm weather starting to appear, now’s the perfect time to start thinking about planting your summer hanging baskets and pots, to bring colour and cheer into your garden. With just a little advice and a few top tips, we are sure you will become a professional in no time.
Hanging baskets come in a wide range of styles and materials, from wire to wicker, and the increasingly popular solid iron. If you’re using a wire or iron hanging basket, you’ll require a liner to contain the compost and plants. Coco, coir or moss liners are the most common materials, offering excellent drainage and aesthetics.
When choosing your compost, opt for a specialist container and basket compost, as this will have added slow-release fertiliser and water-retaining gel to help encourage healthy plant growth. I would recommend the peat-free container and basket planting mix from Westland.
Now it is time to choose your plants, and an abundance of plants is available for hanging baskets. Trailing plants, which include geraniums, fuchsia, bacopa, surfinia, nepeta and lobelia, to mention a few, will be placed around the edge of your basket. Upright plants will be placed in the middle of your basket to add height – again, there are many to choose from, including geraniums, fuchsia, nemesia, felicia and verbena – the list goes on!
Make sure your plants are thoroughly watered before you begin. Start by placing your trailing plants around the edge of the basket, tweaking the roots out slightly to enable the plants to spread out and grow in all directions. Once you’ve finished planting your trailers, you can add your centrepiece, giving height to your basket.
The most problematic question asked about hanging baskets is: ‘How do we stop them from drying out?’ The key is to keep them hydrated – make sure you water them at least once a day. In the height of summer your baskets will need to be watered twice a day. Top tip: Lay ice cubes on the top of your basket – not only will this keep the overflow of messy water to a minimum, it will give the compost and roots enough time to absorb the water.
Come and join us every Sunday throughout May at 11am and 3pm in the plant area at Goulds Garden Centre for a free demonstration on how to make a beautiful hanging basket and a colourful container for the patio. Pick up some useful tips and have your questions answered by a member of our knowledgeable team.
SUE Butterworth is in her 24th year at Goulds Garden Centre.
She is the plant manager for this busy store and has been sourcing plants for award-winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show since 2018. She is an avid gardener, leading to numerous Britain in Bloom awards including a 1st.