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Hanging Basket & Container Care

by Lazy Flora 31 Mar 2024

Caring for plants in hanging baskets and containers offers a unique opportunity to bring colour and life to various outdoor and indoor spaces. These portable displays allow for creativity in gardening, enabling you to grow a wide range of plants, from flowers to herbs and small vegetables, regardless of the ground space available. This blog post delves into the essentials of hanging basket and container plant care, covering selection, planting, watering, feeding, pruning, and troubleshooting common issues.

Selecting the Right Containers and Hanging Baskets

The first step in successful container and hanging basket gardening is selecting the right containers. Consider the material (plastic, terracotta, metal, or wood), size, and drainage capabilities. Good drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot. For hanging baskets, choose ones with a sturdy frame and a lining (such as coco fiber or moss) that will hold soil and moisture while allowing excess water to drain.

Planting for Success

When planting, choose a high-quality potting mix that is appropriate for the plants you are growing. The mix should be lightweight yet able to retain moisture and nutrients. For hanging baskets and outdoor containers, consider adding water-retaining granules to the soil to help maintain moisture levels. When selecting plants, consider their light, water, and soil preferences, as well as their growth habits and mature sizes. Aim for a mix of plants that offer varying heights, textures, and blooming times for a visually appealing display.

Watering: Keeping the Balance

Watering is arguably the most critical aspect of care for hanging baskets and container plants. These plants can dry out quickly, especially during hot weather. Check the moisture level of the soil daily by feeling it with your fingers. If the top inch is dry, it's time to water. In the peak of summer, watering might be required twice daily. Always water thoroughly until excess water drains out of the bottom.

Feeding for Growth and Bloom

Container and hanging basket plants also require regular feeding due to the limited nutrients available in their confined soil. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season. For flowering plants, consider a fertiliser with a higher phosphorus content to encourage blooms.

Pruning and Deadheading for Vigor

Regular pruning and deadheading (removing spent blooms) encourage plants to produce more flowers and maintain a bushy, attractive shape. It also prevents the plant from putting energy into seed production, which can reduce flowering.

Seasonal Care and Overwintering

As seasons change, so do the needs of your container and hanging basket plants. In autumn, reduce watering and stop fertilising to allow plants to harden off for winter. For perennials or hardy annuals in containers, consider moving them to a sheltered location or covering them with burlap to protect from frost. Some tender plants or annuals can be overwintered indoors in a bright, cool spot.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Pests and diseases can be more pronounced in containers and hanging baskets due to the close proximity of plants. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of trouble and isolate any that show symptoms of disease or pest infestation. Treat problems early with appropriate organic or chemical controls, following label directions carefully.


With proper care, hanging baskets and container plants can provide a stunning display of greenery and blooms from spring through fall. By selecting the right containers, choosing compatible plants, and providing appropriate water, nutrients, and care, you can enjoy the beauty and satisfaction of this versatile form of gardening. Whether you have an expansive garden or a small balcony, hanging baskets and containers are a fantastic way to express your gardening creativity and enjoy nature's bounty.

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