Hanging baskets need special care and attention. The volume of soil in the hanging basket is smaller than in most containers so it does not hold as much water or nutrients as the usual container.
Because the hanging basket hangs, it is exposed to sun and drying winds on all sides. Often the basket is made of wood or fiber and so it evaporates water even more quickly.
For all of these reasons, the owner of one or more hanging baskets must not let the baskets suffer from lack of water. During hot summer days (temperatures over 70°F) the baskets must be watered every day until water runs out the bottom of the basket. As the growing season continues, the plant in the basket gets larger and uses more water and nutrients. It is entirely possible that on hot, sunny, breezy days, your plant may have to be watered twice each day.
If you are preparing your own hanging basket, use a high quality potting soil such as Master Nursery® Gardener’s Gold™; plan on using a basket ten or more inches in diameter. When the basket features a single variety of plant such as: Fuchsia, Rose, Abutilon, Bougainvillea, Lantana, Jasmine, Chrysanthemum or Cyclamen, position only one plant in the center. A plant from a four inch container will soon fill the basket. A one-gallon plant requires a 16 inch basket.
When you plant a mixed basket, use plants from cell packs; half a dozen in a 12 inch basket and up to a dozen in a 16 inch basket. Do not pull the roots apart when planting. It is okay to gently pull the tiny root ball into two parts. If a four inch potted plant is used, trim the roots at the bottom and make four to six vertical cuts in the sides of the root ball. Cut one-third of the way into the root ball. After completion, water thoroughly.
The nutrients in the hanging basket will be used up in three or four weeks and must be replenished. The simplest method of fertilizing is to sprinkle Osmocote® or Osmocote Plus® in the basket once every four months. Otherwise, use a mild acid fertilizer such as Maxsea at half strength every two weeks.
At the beginning of the second growing season, the plant should be pruned and repotted. This is necessary for plants such as Fuchsias, Geraniums, Roses, Begonias, etc. When repotting a plant, knock it out of the container after trimming the top back to the edge of the pot. Then, trim one or two inches off the root ball all the way around and off the bottom. Return the plant to its container and refill with Master Nursery® Gardener’s Gold™ Potting Soil and water thoroughly. Fertilize and irrigate the baskets as described above. Fuchsias should be sprayed with GardenTech Sevin® at this time and then monthly to prevent infection by Fuchsia mites.
Hanging baskets may be used to fill in a landscaping plan, as a focal point or as a screen in front of windows to ensure privacy. For whatever use, remember that hanging baskets will require frequent watering and fertilizing.