Spring is here and a variety of hanging baskets are now available at our markets. Caring for hanging baskets is relatively simple, but there are some basic things you should consider. Follow these tips to keep your baskets looking great all summer long.
The most important tip is water. Water, water, WATER! Since they have a limited amount of soil, hanging baskets lack the reservoir of water available to plants growing in the ground. Add sun and wind on a hot summer day and they can dry out quickly.
The easiest way to check your plant is to lift the pot. You know it needs water if it feels lighter than normal. In most areas you should be watering every day. During particularly hot days, you might even need to water twice. Water until water starts to stream from the bottom.
Don’t be fooled though! The peat moss used in most potting mixes is terrible at absorbing water once it dries out. Water can be running down the sides, around the root ball, and streaming out the bottom to give the appearance of a well-watered basket. If this happens, don’t be afraid to soak it in a bucket of water for about an hour.
All of this watering means that fertilizer is going to be washed from the soil. This means they need to be fertilized more often. We recommend using a liquid fertilizer, like Jack’s Classic, at least once per week. Feed when the soil is moist and never when plants are wilted.
As the summer progresses and the plants get bigger, they’ll require more frequent watering. This can be bad, especially during the hottest part of the summer. Don’t be afraid to give plants like petunias and calibrachoas a trim. This can give your plants a boost since the root system is now supporting less foliage. It can also encourage branching and blooming with some varieties.
Along those same lines, don’t be afraid to remove a plant from a mixed container if it has finished blooming or isn’t doing well. Being careful to not harm neighboring plants too much, gently remove the plant and replace it with another. I’ve also seen plants get too crowded in containers before. In this case it can simply be removed to let the others fill in the hole created by its removal.
Some plant varieties are labeled as “self-cleaning” meaning that new blooms quickly grow out to cover dying blooms or spent blooms fall off. However, don’t be afraid to deadhead and remove old blooms. This will help your plants look great and encourage new growth.
These are just a few general tips to keep your hanging baskets looking great. While these tips can be applied broadly, be sure to check the care instructions for your specific basket. For example, some plants might require shade and others full sun. That information can be found on the plant tag or through apps like GrowIt. Also, feel free to contact our experts at Bob’s anytime.