There can be few more joyful sights than a hanging basket in full bloom. Synonymous with British summertime these plump, verdant, vibrant baskets of blossoms offer numerous choices when it comes to shape, style and planting.
Whether you are potty about Petunias, loopy over Lobelia or just plain nuts about your Nasturtiums the summer hanging basket gives the chance to flex your creative gardening muscle in an infinite array of colour and size guaranteed to brighten up even the smallest of spaces.
But there is a lot to consider when it comes to what to plant and where to hang them.
Read on for Henchman’s top five tips for your summer hanging baskets.
Which summer hanging baskets are best?
When it comes to choosing the hanging basket itself the choice is seemingly endless. If you are buying your basket then there is no shortage of ideas including the traditional wire framed baskets, solid plastic – some of which include their own water reservoir to help make watering a breeze – and then, of course, there are wicker and straw versions for a more natural, rustic feel.
You could even get creative and make your own. Your imagination is the only limit here – you could plant up an old colander or enamel kitchen bowl for a retro feel. Or what about hanging an old watering can or teapot filled with your favourite flowers?
You will need to line your hanging basket and the liner is really important when it comes to water retention in the soil. The three main types of liners tend to be Sphagnum Moss, Cocoa and Supamoss and each have their advantages and disadvantages.
Sphagnum Moss has excellent water retaining properties making it great in bigger baskets and while it looks great, it can be fiddly to use and the birds love it so you might find that after all your hard work the local starlings are making off with your basket liner.
Cocoa liners are usually pre-moulded which helps speed things up, but because they are thicker that not ideal for planting on the sides of baskets.
While Supamoss is a plastic product (although some variations are made with vegetable fibres) it does offer versatility and enables good drainage thanks to hundreds of holes. It can also easily be cut to size making it the perfect choice for the more creative basket maker!
Consider the size of the space you have to hang your basket and don’t forget that plants will grow so be careful not to overplant your summer baskets. The bigger the basket you go for the more choice you will have when it comes to picking larger and more vibrant plants. But small is beautiful too and fewer blooms mean less pruning – why not consider hanging several smaller baskets in place of one bigger one?
Which plants should I choose for my summer hanging basket?
Having a particular plant in mind can help with your choice of hanging basket and the best advice is to go for 2-3 different species and between 6 to 9 plants per basket.
After that, it’s up to you. Lobelia is a great side planter that will trail nicely to add length to your basket. Pansies are quite hardy and can be planted early and last throughout the summer. Petunias grow quickly so are great for filling a hanging basket fast, and fuchsias and geraniums add a riot of colour in hues of popping pink and ruby red.
Nasturtiums can give a citrus burst of colour to your baskets and with both the flower and leaves being edible, can also add a peppery hit to your summer salads. Verbena is also a lovely basket filler with small flower heads and endless colour combinations.
You could also plant a herb garden hanging basket with soft-stemmed herbs such as basil, mint, dill and parsley. The beauty of this planting combination is the scent it will give off as the plants gently waft in the summer breeze.
Tomatoes also do well in summer hanging baskets enjoying the combination of lots of sunlight and good drainage.
Weeding, watering and feeding your summer hanging basket.
The amount of watering your hanging basket will need will vary depending on the size of the basket and the liner you have chosen. The larger the basket the more water it will hold – especially if your containing has a water reservoir.
Plants should be watered as soon as the soil becomes dry to the touch. On hot sunny days aim to water once a day and water until it begins to flow out of the bottom of the container.
Keep on top of any weeds that find their way into your planting with a daily check and at the same time nip out any dead-heads and prune where necessary.
There are a host of hanging basket feed options on the market and many more opinions on the best type! Good quality compost will contain slow-release plant foods to help give your blooms a boost. Tomato plant feed can also be watered in to help plants flourish.
Where should I hang my summer hanging basket?
The beauty of the hanging basket is that is can be hung virtually anywhere and adds colour and texture to areas of the garden where you might not normally get plant growth such as along fences, the front porch or the corner of the shed roof.
Hanging baskets bring vertical interest to the garden and require only minimal preparation in terms of securing fixings.
The most important thing to remember when hanging your basket and watering it is to use a suitable ladder. Traditional step ladders can be uneven so to lend extra security and support Henchman offers the Tripod and Hi-Step Platform ladders which are ideal for working at height or on uneven or sloping terrain.
The Tripod ladder is unique to Henchman. It features three separately adjustable legs and is lightweight and easy to store making it the ideal partner for your hanging basket maintenance. A built-in 18cm wide platform rung allows you to work in greater comfort and safety and the Tripod is available in four sizes from 6ft to 16ft.
The Henchman Hi-Step has four adjustable legs and a spacious platform tackling hanging baskets at a greater height.