Greetings, fellow gardeners! As spring approaches and we start envisioning the possibilities for our outdoor spaces, I wanted to share my top picks for creating stunning hanging baskets. These vertical gardens pack a visual punch while also being an excellent use of space.
Before diving into specific plant recommendations, let’s consider why hanging baskets can be such a boon for big and small gardens.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Choosing Plants for Optimal Growth
- 3 Top 10 Plants for Hanging Baskets
- 3.1 1. Petunias (Petunia spp.)
- 3.2 2. Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata)
- 3.3 3. Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum)
- 3.4 4. Trailing Geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum)
- 3.5 5. Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.)
- 3.6 6. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
- 3.7 7. English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- 3.8 8. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
- 3.9 9. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
- 3.10 10. Cherry Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme)
- 4 Design Tips for Style and Substance
- 5 Maintaining Beauty and Bounty
- 6 Concluding Thoughts
Hanging baskets elevate your garden’s design, add welcomed greenery to patios and porches, and bring beauty to the most unlikely spots. Don’t underestimate the power of going vertical!
These suspended planters boast many benefits:
- Space-saving design: Hanging baskets maximize your garden real estate. Go vertical where you lack horizontal space.
- Incredible versatility: Hang them outdoors or bring the garden inside. Baskets thrive in soil or soilless mix.
- Heightened visual interest: Hanging at eye level, baskets become living art. Let them lead your garden tour.
- Adaptability: Baskets happily grow in full sun or part shade. Switch out plantings each season.
When thoughtfully planted, baskets become a focal feature that transforms any space. Now, let’s explore how to choose the right plants for stunning success.
Choosing Plants for Optimal Growth
Selecting the right plants starts with honestly assessing your site’s growing conditions. Consider the following:
- Sun exposure: Full sun? Part shade? Morning sun and afternoon shade? Hanging baskets thrive in 6+ hours of direct sun, but some plants tolerate partial shade.
- Temperature and climate: What growing zone are you in? Can the plants withstand your seasonal shifts from hot and humid to downright frigid?
- Watering needs: Hanging baskets dry out faster than in-ground plantings. Look for drought-hardy choices like succulents or plants with thick, water-retaining leaves.
- Soil quality: Is your soil rich in organic matter or more sand-based? Does it have good drainage? Hanging plants rely on potting mix, not in-ground soil.
- Maintenance: Some plants need frequent trimming; others can go weeks between grooming. Be realistic about your commitment level.
Beyond these factors, consider selected plants’ size, texture, and colors. Blend a variety of shapes, textures, and hues for maximum impact!
Now let’s get growing with my top 10 plant picks for hanging basket brilliance:
Top 10 Plants for Hanging Baskets
Any of these beauties can help you create a show-stopping hanging garden.
1. Petunias (Petunia spp.)
No list is complete without petunias, the flashy favorites of hanging baskets. These trumpet-shaped bloomers come in a rainbow of colors and play nicely with other plants. Choose cascading types like Surfinia for maximum spill. Grow in full sun.
Keep soil moist but not saturated. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage new flowers until frost. Petunias can take some shade but prefer 6+ hours of direct sunlight.
Try: Supertunia Vista Bubblegum, Surfinia Baby Bouquet Red
2. Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata)
With long cascading fronds, Boston ferns put on a spectacular show. Their natural charm works in traditional or modern spaces. Nephrolepis exaltata remains unaffected by heat and humidity when grown in bright, indirect light, or partial sun.
Keep their soil lightly moist but not saturated. Ferns filter chemicals from the air, making them excellent indoor plants. Mist often or place near a humidifier. Soak the pot to provide the needed humidity.
Try: Fluffy Ruffles, Dallas
3. Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum)
Spider plants are my top recommendation for beginners wanting to try hanging baskets. They adapt readily to containers, are hard to kill, and spread via baby spiderettes. Chlorophytum thrives in bright indirect sunlight and part shade.
Let the soil dry slightly between watering and feed it a few times each season. Remove brown leaf tips promptly. To propagate this willing spreader, you can root spiderette shoots in water. It’s always a classic!
Try: Golden Glow, Variegatum
4. Trailing Geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum)
Few rivals can match dazzling geraniums for nonstop color. Trailing ivy and zonal geraniums spill abundantly from baskets with little fuss. Grow them in full sun with average water needs. Remove spent blooms regularly to maintain their lush appearance.
Give them a bloom-boosting fertilizer twice a month. Place containers in full sun and bring indoors before the first frost. These beauties can take morning or afternoon shade but need at least 6 hours of direct sun for prolific flowering.
Try: Ivory, Pink Cascade, Red Elite
5. Fuchsia (Fuchsia spp.)
For shadier spots, look no further than graceful fuchsias. Prized for their dropping, bell-like blooms, these Beauties offer incredible diversity. Upright and trailing varieties provide versatility. Although they hail from tropical regions, they tolerate fluctuations in temperature.
Site fuchsias in partial shade or dappled sunlight. Pinch back leggy growth to promote bushiness. Transplant to a slightly larger container every 2-3 years. Water when the top inch becomes dry. Mulch to retain moisture during dry spells.
Try: Firecracker, Holiday, Trailing Schwarz
6. String of Pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)
The trailing succulent strands of a string of pearls make a modern statement in bold designs. Though hardy, it provides well-draining soil and bright indirect light. Avoid intense afternoon sun.
Allow the soil to dry between thorough waterings to prevent rot. Trim wayward strands to promote even growth. Move containers indoors before temperatures dip below 50°F. This is an easy-care option for contemporary spaces!
Try String of Pearls, String of Tears
7. English Ivy (Hedera helix)
English ivy’s vine growth looks sharp when cascading from suspended pots. Enjoy bright or filtered light indoors and partial shade outside. Trim back aggressively to prevent rapid growth from taking over your entire space!
Keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy. Yellowed leaves usually indicate overwatering. Ivy benefits from monthly fertilization in spring and summer. For added interest, look for variegated cultivars like Goldchild or Shamrock.
Try: Duck Foot, Goldchild
8. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Sweet alyssum is prized for its darling flowers and sweet honey scent. It makes a fragrant addition to baskets. Group it with cascading plants like ivy for maximum impact. Plant it in full sun or light afternoon shade.
Deadhead spent blooms to prolong flowering from spring until frost. Water when the soil surface feels dry. Prevent lodging by trimming plants if they become unruly. Sweet alyssum also draws beneficial pollinators to your garden.
Try: Carpet of Snow, Purple Princess
9. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Pothos vines are ideal for low-light areas and lend a tropical vibe to indoor spaces or covered outdoor areas. For best results, cultivate them in bright indirect light and allow the soil to dry out partially between watering.
Remove yellowed leaves promptly and dust occasionally to prevent buildup. Variegated varieties like Pearls and Jade add flashes of white to dramatically trailing foliage. Keep pothos away from pets, as they are toxic when eaten.
Try: Pearls and Jade, Neon
10. Cherry Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme)
For edible appeal, cherry tomatoes check all the boxes. These compact plants load up with sweet fruits perfect for snacking. Grow in full sun and provide strong support for their vine growth.
Choose determinate varieties that stay compact. Stake stems and prune off lower leaves for ample airflow. Container culture allows you to move tomatoes into sunnier or shadier spots. Pair with herbs or ornamentals!
Try: Red Pearl, Sun Gold, Sweet Million
While these plants top my list for hanging brilliance, don’t limit yourself. Creativity leads to the best garden designs. Now, let’s explore how to combine plants for a showstopping style.
Design Tips for Style and Substance
Creating a cohesive look starts with clever plant pairings. Follow these tips:
Thrillers, fillers, and spillers: This classic technique combines plants of different heights and growth habits. Use thrillers as height, fillers to provide fullness, and spillers to cascade over the edges.
Complementary colors: Coordinate colors for a soothing, monochromatic look or vibrant contrast. Repetition creates cohesion.
Mix textures: Velvety, waxy, prickly – vary textures for added interest. Combine delicate ferns with broad hosta leaves.
Vary heights: Add more dimension by incorporating tall grasses or small succulents.
Transition with the seasons: Refresh plantings each season. Pansies are in spring, petunias are in summer, chrysanthemums are in autumn, and evergreen branches are in winter.
Play with shape: Consider rounded boxwood with spiky grasses and mounding petunias with trailing ivy.
Beyond plants, the basket itself deserves consideration:
Material: Choose all-weather resin, natural rattan, or copper for durability. Ceramic and steel offer contemporary flair.
Size: A larger basket provides ample space for plantings to mix and mingle. But even a small basket can make an impact.
Style: Traditional wire baskets effortlessly blend into garden settings, while metal wire, geometric-shaped, and colorful baskets make a statement.
Plant selection provides the foundation, but clever combinations yield showstopping style. Now, how do we keep our hanging creations looking their best?
Maintaining Beauty and Bounty
Hanging gardens require some maintenance to look stellar. Here are my best tips:
Water wisely: Baskets dry out faster than in-ground plantings. Check soil moisture daily and water early so leaves dry by nightfall. Consider self-watering options.
Fertilize regularly: Feed plants with a balanced liquid fertilizer or slow-release spikes every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.
Prune diligently: Trim back wayward stems and “deadhead” spent blooms often to encourage new growth.
Monitor for problems: Treat spider mites, scale, aphids, powdery mildew, and other issues promptly. Remove badly damaged plants.
Shelter from harsh conditions: Move baskets indoors or under overhangs during storms, heat waves, and cold snaps.
Refresh the soil: Every spring, replace some old soil with a new potting mix to provide nutrition.
Don’t let maintenance woes stop you from going vertical! Your efforts will be rewarded with a stunning display. Follow these best practices and troubleshoot problems early.
Hanging gardens invite greenery into unlikely places and maximize every square inch. They provide endless opportunities to play with color, shape, and texture. I hope these tips inspire you to look at your spaces with a vertical mindset.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What favorite plants have thrived in your hanging baskets? Feel free to share photos of your creations or post any questions. Let’s elevate our gardens together this season!