I have worked in garden centres and horticultural retail for 20 years and the question I get asked most is: "How can I get my hanging baskets and pots to look like that?”Â [pointing to our display or a photo]
The first point I make is the basket didn’t look like that to start with.
It takes time and patience and consistency (and a bit of sunshine) to get it there.
And I always explain it’s very simple if you prepare your pots correctly and put in the hard work once everything is planted.
Personally, winners every time are plants such as non-stop begonias, lobelia and bacopa, as these perform no matter what the weather, but I suggest you follow these steps:
- Identify the pot/basket that you’re planting up and measure the circumference. This lets us know how many plants will be best suited to it. A good guide is one plant per inch. So a 12-inch hanging basket will need at least 12 plants. But don’t overcrowd the pot - the plants won’t like it.
- Put some stones or broken crockery in the bottom of your pots (hanging baskets don’t need this). This helps with drainage. And then fill the pots with good quality peat-free compost.
- Position your plants evenly in the pot/basket. Keep trailing plants to the edges to give the waterfall effect and trailing colour. Ideally, you would have a taller plant in the centre.
- Once planted, soak the pot/basket giving it at least one full watering can of water. Also add feed (a general purpose soluble feed will be fine). Now this is where the hard work starts. Watering is key and don’t rely on the rain to do this. If the weather is particularly warm, watering everyday is a must. If the weather is dry but not warm, water 2-3 times a week, and if the weather has been wet you still need to water at least 1-2 times a week.
- Dead head all flowers as they start to fade (dead head means pick the flower off), because when you remove an old flower this gives the plant the energy to produce a new one. The more you dead head old flowers the more new flowers your plants will produce.
I hope this helps you get the summer show you want, but remember if the planting of your pots seems to be daunting we can do this part for you.