Hanging basket masterclass: Here’s how to make the best flower display in easy 8 steps
So often my hanging baskets end up looking lacklustre and forlorn, with gaps where filler plants should have gone, holes in my moss liners and a lack of regular watering.
However, expert Nathan Syrett, assistant plant manager at Squire’s Garden Centres, has been running hanging basket masterclasses at its Stanmore store for a number of years, and offers the following advice to hanging basket hopefuls (including me)…
1. Choose the right materials and plants
Go for the biggest basket you can, as this will hold more compost and require slightly less watering than smaller baskets. Metal-framed baskets are ideal, but you will have to line them.
Various water-retaining liners include coir and sphagnum moss, although you can even cut up an old woolly jumper to line a basket, which will soak up the water and keep in the compost.
If using moss (which you can buy at garden centres), use long strands of it laid laterally across the inside of the basket, working from the bottom, so the moss does not escape out of the holes.
Build the lining up in circles until it reaches the top of the basket, and lift it up to make sure you can’t see any gaps.
2. Make a reservoir
Cut a small circle of plastic from your compost bag to make a reservoir in the bottom of your liner, to hold just enough water to keep the compost moist, while still allowing free drainage at the sides.
3. Add your compost
Multipurpose compost, preferably the sort which has added plant food, is ideal, although you will still have to feed your basket plants during the summer, bearing in mind how many of the nutrients will be washed away when you’re constantly watering. When you reach the top of the basket, firm the compost down so there are no air holes.
4. Choose your plants
If you want your basket to be admired from all sides, choose one larger plant to put in the centre, such as an upright fuchsia or geranium, and select around five other plants to place around it.
These could range from trailing petunias and calibrachoa, to bacopa, lobelia, nemesia, diascia and helichrysum, although there are many other suitable plants available.
5. Position the tall and the small
Try positioning your chosen plants on top of the compost before planting, so you can decide which looks best where. Make sure your gaps are even when placing the outer plants.
Usually the tallest plant will go in the centre, surrounded by the lower trailers, which need to be planted closer to the edge, but if your basket is going to face in a particular direction, put the biggest plant at the back and the lower trailers in front of it.
To minimise any damage when planting, remove each plant from its pot and use the pot alone as the planting template, easing it down into the planting hole to make it the right size. Then your plant will slot right in.
Cover it with the compost you removed to make space for the hole. Repeat using the plant pot template until all your plants are in.
6. Hang it up
Hang up your basket on a wall bracket or other hook or frame (some hanging baskets are really heavy, so make sure your bracket is secured tightly and is strong enough to take the weight).
7. Be waterwise
Water your basket well using a watering can rose. That way, the water will seep into the compost to reach your plants, rather than running straight through it.
8. Keep it healthy
Keep your basket well watered. In the height of summer you’ll need to do it twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Feed your basket bedding plants regularly with either plant food or tomato food, following the instructions on the packet, and deadhead often to encourage further blooms.
Squire’s Garden Centres are holding Large Summer Basket Masterclasses on Friday, May 17. Tickets cost £25. For details visit squiresgardencentres.co.uk
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- Quiz: How many of these iconic city nicknames do you know? - August 16, 2019
- 4 types of headaches and what they’re trying to tell you - August 14, 2019
- Garden angels or thugs? 4 plants you might not want in your garden - August 12, 2019
- 5 ways to tackle insomnia by improving your sleep ‘stimulus control’ - August 12, 2019
- 7 ways to keep your hands looking youthful - August 12, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!