Baskets of glorious color along a front porch or on your patio are more than just decoration. They imply welcome, hospitality and a chance to celebrate the beauty of nature. A thoughtful plan and some simple steps will keep these baskets beautiful!
The first and most crucial consideration is location. The plants in the hanging basket you purchase or that you have planted must "match"-- that is, be compatible with the environment in which you are displaying them. Know where you will be displaying the basket; full sun all day, full shade all day, sun in the morning only, sun in the late afternoon only, or dappled shade all day. Be familiar with various plants and research which require shade, part shade and full sun or ask the seller if you are purchasing a prearranged basket.
The second consideration is water. By their very nature, hanging baskets will dry out faster than any other container. Often, a hanging basket that "looks fine" when you leave the house in the morning will be drooping and wilted on your return. Most hanging containers need to be checked once or twice a day to avoid this stressful dehydration. Be sure to water well - saturate the soil and root ball. Placing the container down on the ground to water is a more efficient method than trying to water a moving target and "guessing" if it's watered well.
While you have the container where you can examine it easily, make it a daily habit to check for spent blooms, broken stems or any signs of pests or disease.
Providing for plant nutrition is an important consideration. The high temperatures of the summer can be hard on blooming plants. An established routine of fertilizing help these plants through the heat with plenty of color. There are many good fertilizers. Look for one that has a higher "middle number" on the package such as 15- 30 -10.How often you fertilize depends on the form you use. There are timed release formulas which can be applied only once per season and formulas meant to be used every time you water. Ask if a purchased basket is already fertilized. Choose a product that suits your gardening style.
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Updated Friday, April 19, 2013