All-America Selections Winners have many uses and proven success throughout the landscape. This same success can also be achieved in a wide range of containers and hanging baskets.
Written by Mark Dwyer
Landscape Prescriptions by MD
Baskets allow AAS Winners to “show their stuff” by putting them at eye-level or higher in containers suspended from above. Colorful baskets not only add beauty but they can also provide scale and softness to taller structures. Baskets also provide welcome plants in areas where there may not be traditional planting space available such as over decks, patios, paths and in-ground plantings.
Success with hanging baskets certainly includes using appropriate plants but the selection, preparation, and care of these baskets are equally vital for success! Here are six great tips on creating your own stunning hanging baskets.
Six Tips for Creating Successful Hanging Baskets
1. Consider the size and material of the basket.
Size and material are two very important features that will affect soil volume and the number of plants that will fit into the basket. The width and depth of the container also factor into how much planting space will be available. Those factors will then impact the finished weight of the basket. Proper anchoring is important for baskets due to their weight, the potential for wind damage and overall safety.
2. Trailing, mounding, spreading and upright plants can all be added.
When selecting plants for a basket combination, you’ll can use more than just trailing plants that cascade over the edges. Mounding, spreading and upright plants may have applications in larger baskets. However, you don’t want anything too tall that will exceed the “anchoring point” for the basket hook as that’s where wind and physical damage can occur. The amount of sunlight reaching the basket will impact your plant choices.
3. Achieve a fuller look by using baskets that let you plant along the sides and bottom.
While the majority of hanging baskets are planted traditionally with cascading plants just in the top, some modified baskets allow plants to be installed along the sides and bottom. This gives a very full, spherical look that obscures the container.
4. Don’t overplant the container.
Take into account the mature sizes of the installed plants and minimize the risk of overcrowding by not “shoehorning” in too many plants. Pruning or removing plants that are taking over or struggling is acceptable. Remember the old adage of “right plant, right place” when making your selections.
5. Hanging baskets get hungry too!
Hanging baskets are more needy when it comes to fertilizer because of the smaller volume of soil. Incorporate slow-release fertilizer into the soil in advance of planting. Also, schedule half-strength liquid fertilizer (balanced mix) applications every two weeks over the basket’s lifespan.
6. Maintain uniform moisture throughout the season.
Maintaining uniform moisture in the container will likely require more watering during warmer months. Moisture retention products, when properly measured, prepared and incorporated into the planting soil, will help with potential moisture deficiencies. Read package labels on how to use these materials. Also, add additional drainage holes to prevent over saturation of your plants.
Here are some AAS Winners for your consideration as “basket candidates”!
This selection offers a very unique color of indigo blue and wonderful, hyacinth-like fragrance. Baskets that include this selection should be positioned for the gardener to enjoy the beauty AND scent!
The mounded and semi-spreading habit of this geranium is accented with deep red flowers in profusion. Position where spent blooms can be removed (deadheading) easily to encourage constant flowering and extended color!
This is a very “basket suitable” geranium with gorgeous bronze foliage with a thin green margin. Colorful cherry pink, semi-double blooms should be removed (deadheading) as they fade to encourage constant flowering.
The compact and mounded form of this nasturtium lends to be placed at basket edges and edible hanging basket combinations due to the spicy, edible leaves and tasty bright rose blooms!
This series of zinnias is known for compact form and constant blooming making this specific winner a great selection for a basket combination that focuses on a pop of color for a long period of time! Pollinators will enjoy this plant as well.
“This post is provided as an education/inspirational service of All-America Selections. Please credit and link to All-America Selections when using all or parts of this article.”