With a little help from you, hanging baskets can bloom and thrive for months! Follow these simple steps to get the most out of your annual hanging baskets.
Most annual flowering hanging baskets will do well in a wide range of sunlight, though some will wilt at even the slightest hint of direct sun or heat and others will balk at even the slightest bit of shade.
- Geraniums and Lantana do best in similar growing conditions. Full sun and they really enjoy drying out in between watering.
- Petunias also enjoy the sun, but like a bit more watering. Watch for the first signs of wilting then give them a good soak by letting the water run out of the bottom of the pot, wait a few minutes, then give it another good soak.
- Inpatients and Begonias brighten up the shadiest spots.
- Fuchsias like some afternoon sun, but prefer to bask in the shade in the morning and evening.
Hanging baskets dry out faster than garden plants so keep a closer eye on them when it comes to watering. On average a 10” diameter hanging basket takes 16-32 Fl. Oz of water therefore in the hottest conditions they should be checked daily and watered every 2-4 days depending on the plant.
I like to do the lift test for my plants. If I can lift my hanging baskets with two fingers, and its light as a feather, I give it a very good soak. If It has any weight to it, I give it another day to dry out.
When watering be sure to water thoroughly. When a hanging basket is bone dry, it takes a bit longer for the water to soak to the center of the pot. When you first water a dry hanging basket, the water will run right out of the base of the pot. Do not let it fool you, the water is completely bypassing the roots and evacuating the pot entirely.
When you are watering, make sure your hanging basket becomes heavy. Again, with the lift test, you will be able to feel when your plant is watered. It will be almost impossible to lift with just two fingers.
You may need to allow the plant to rest and soak up some water, wait a few minutes, then revisit and give it another good soak – or you can do the dunk method.
Sometimes I take a bucket or a kiddy pool, fill them up with water, then dunk my hanging baskets in them until air bubbles stop coming out of the pot. This method is a little more labor intensive, but on scorching hot days it puts my mind at ease that my hanging baskets will continue to thrive.
The only exception to these methods are Geraniums. Again, they enjoy dry conditions, so I tend to water them only when absolutely necessary.
Come springtime here at Devitt’s we get asked how we maintain our hanging baskets. They are always full and in bloom. A big part of maintaining them is knowing when to fertilize them.
Eventually over time your plants will begin to yellow. This is because every time you water, you flush nutrients the plants need right out of the base of the pot.
We highly recommend a water-soluble fertilizer like Jacks Bloom Booster (10-30-20) for all of your flowering annuals.
Specifically for Petunias we recommend Jacks Petunia Feed (20-6-22) that is amended with iron. This low phosphorus formulation keeps plants fuller and especially effective in hanging baskets and containers.
One scoop per gallon of water every other week should help boost your plants! If you are unsure of your fertilizing schedule or how much to use (because more fertilizer is not better) just come in and ask us for help or give us a call. We would be more than happy to help you out!
Clean Pot, Happy Plant
With a routine water and fertilizer schedule your hanging plants are going to push out an abundance of flowers. This means there will be dropped flowers to clean up and spent blooms to deadhead.
Cleaning up your hanging baskets will deter pests from making a home in them and deadheading spent blooms and seed pots will only encourage more growth!
I find myself deadheading and cleaning up my pots as I water, it just keeps me in the habit and ensures I won’t overlook any issues that might arise.
Vacation Survival Guide
Its summertime and of course you are going to take a vacation here and there. Sometimes it is hard to find a “plant sitter” but have no fear. Simply take your hanging baskets off their hook, set them in a shady location (I put them around the base of my house behind large shrubs or under overhangs that I know are shady) and give them a good soak before going on vacation.
Plants should last about a week on the ground in the shade. Yes, flowering will slow down a bit but don’t worry. Once you come home and get them back on their hooks and on a regular schedule, they will burst with blooms once again.
If your plants start to look leggy mid to late season, then will be a good time to give them a much-needed haircut. We talked about deadheading early in this blog, and a haircut will do the same thing, promote more healthy growth.
Don’t be scared, grab a set of pruners and cut the spent growth back. It will look ugly and potentially worry you but fear not, in a week or so they are going to be overflowing once again even better than before!
If you run into any questions or have concerns, just stop in or give us a call.
We will be happy to help!