Building a Hanging Basket
Hanging baskets make a perfect adornment for homes or patios and are a great way to connect your garden to structures near by. Having hanging baskets on your home can draw the eye up from the garden and connect it with your garden space to create a more seamless environment. Creating your own hanging basket is easy, and allows you to pick the colours and textures that you want. Most hardware stores and garden shops will sell the plastic pots and hooks to start building. When selecting a proper hanging basket pot, like with any other form of container gardening, it is important to ensure that the basket has proper drainage holes and a secure hook that will be sturdy enough to hold its weight when fully built. The pot should have a small plastic liner on the bottom with small holes to ensure that proper drainage can occur, and will keep the soil in. If you cannot find a plastic liner, coconut fibre liners or small pebbles will work fine. The idea is to create a small portion at the bottom of the basket where the roots can breathe and drain properly and so that the soil does not sit directly against the bottom of the pot where it can clog the holes and prevent aeration and drainage.
Once you have found the proper hanging basket pot and liner, it is important to create a proper soil base to plant into. Hanging baskets require a light mixture of universal potting mix combined with organic materials. Most garden shops sell hanging basket mixes that will be fine to use, or you can create your own by mixing one-part organic compost with two-parts potting soil. You want a mix that will drain well but will also be able to provide the correct nutrients to your plants. After you have filled the pot up with the mixture, you can then start to add plants and build up your basket. Remember to create depth in the pot much the same as you would in your garden. Add taller plants that will remain upright near the centre of the basket, and place hanging plants near the edges so that they have the space to hang down and create a dramatic look. You can create anything you want with your basket, and can even have all the plants hang down or cascade, but it is important to not overcrowd the basket when you build it because the plants will grow and may become root bound if they are too tightly packed.
Some ideas for planting hanging baskets, if you want plants that hang, are Sweet Alyssum, Lobelia, Petunia, Fuchsia, Coreopsis, Calibrachoa, and Ipomeas. For plants that can stand up in the centre of hanging baskets, Marigolds, Cosmos, Portulaca, and Begonias make good choices. Once you have created the basket, make sure to properly water it before hanging it. Hang it in an area that it will get enough light and to regularly check it for watering. You will find that hanging baskets generally need to be watered more frequently than plants in the ground, but it’s a small sacrifice for the joy that you will get from them.