Hanging baskets have taken the internet by storm and for a very good reason – they are probably the most versatile and beautiful plant containers.
They are an ideal solution for small spaces and they allow you to display flowers that you wouldn’t be able to display in normal containers.
If you have never owned hanging baskets, you might be a little reluctant at first. However, don’t worry because we are here to help you. If you are not sure of whether or not you should invest in these types of containers, we have a list of advantages that will surely convince you.
We also have some tips on how to properly care for plants in hanging containers as well as a list of the best flowering plants for hanging baskets.
By the end of this article, you will completely rethink your garden to optimize your available vertical space.
Advantages of hanging baskets
- Hanging baskets can be installed in almost any space – As long as you have a roof or overhead support, you can install hanging plants in any location. They are particularly useful for small spaces, where you lack shelves of floor space. Most hanging baskets are lightweight. You can install hangers on a ceiling or a window frame.
- These containers make the plants less susceptible to pests and diseases – As hanging plants are technically isolated from other plants, they are less likely to get infected by pests or diseases. Moreover, they are also out of the reach of terrestrial pests.
- They are out of the reach of pets and children – If you have pets or children, chances are you have already sorted your plants and got rid of the toxic ones. That is a shame because many of the plants that are considered toxic are very beautiful. Well, if you still yearn for some of those plants, you can bring them back into your home in hanging planters. They will be out of the reach of pets and children, so they won’t pose any threat.
- They can be used for different visual effects – From a design perspective, hanging baskets can pose many benefits. They create verticality and can be used to frame a space or to accent certain elements. They can also draw attention from the ground, in case you want to hide some unpleasant visual elements.
- Fewer soil issues – If you’ve ever had to deal with bad garden soil, you know that it can take a very long time to fix it. Whether you are dealing with weeds, poor nutrition, bad drainage, or too many rocks or sand, fixing your garden soil can be troublesome and time-consuming. That doesn’t mean that you have to wait until you fix the soil to bring some charming flowers into your garden. Some well-placed hanging planters are a quick fix that you can apply in any space.
- Easy to care for – Since hanging gardens are easy to access, they are also easy to care for. You don’t need to crawl on your knees or try to squish through other plants to get to them. Simply remove the hanging containers when needed and tend to the plants in a convenient location.
- Plants get better sun exposure when grown in hanging baskets – Due to their portability, hanging containers can easily be relocated. Most flowering plants prefer as much sun as possible. However, the scorching summer afternoon sun can sometimes be too much and you may need to reconsider your flower arrangements. It may take a while to find the best positions for your plants but hanging containers will give you the chance to find the best exposure.
A few possible disadvantages to keep in mind
- Plants require more frequent watering when grown in hanging baskets – Most container plants require more care than ground plants because they have limited access to water and nutrients. Since they get more air circulation, hanging plants dry out even faster. As such, you need to be very diligent with their watering schedules. Moreover, most of them require regular fertilization to bloom profusely.
- Hanging baskets are vulnerable to storms and winds – While moderate winds are not a problem, a stronger wind can whip branches and stems against the hanging chains. This can cause damage to your plants. Stronger winds and storms can knock down the hanging containers which can cause irreparable damage. As such, make sure to take down your hanging containers and shield the plants during storms and strong winds.
Tips for caring for plants in hanging baskets
You might think that hanging baskets require the same amount of care as potted plants. However, due to their hanging position and their usually sunny location, they will be a little fussy. As such, you might need to give them some extra attention. Here are some tips that will increase your chances of successfully caring for plants in hanging containers.
- Water your plants more frequently – Container plants require more water than garden plants. This is particularly true for flowering plants that are usually placed in sunny locations. The plants’ watering needs can differ in different seasons and at different temperatures. Most flowering plants need to be watered once or even twice a day in the summertime, but you can decrease the watering frequency in the colder months.
- Water at the right time – Make sure to water the plants at the coolest times of the day. Watering in hot temperatures will cause the water to evaporate before the plants get the chance to absorb it, and it might even scorch the plants. Watering frequency also depends on the size of the containers. Smaller baskets retain less water so they need to be watered more frequently. Until you get used to a watering schedule, check the containers regularly by sticking your finger in the soil from the containers. If the top inch and a half are dry, you need to water the plants.
- Remove dead flowers regularly – Deadheading is an essential practice for flowering plants. Not only does it make the plants look better, but it also encourages more blooms. To remove dead flowers, simply pinch them off at the place where they meet the stem.
- Trim the plants when needed – If the plants get too leggy, showing thin foliage and fewer flowers, a trim might give them a well-needed growth boost. It is quite common for most flowering plants to get a little straggly during mid-summer. Trim at least 5 cm and you will shortly enjoy a fuller-looking container. Trailing plants might need to have more than 10 cm trimmed to achieve a groomed look.
- Fertilize the plants – When it comes to flowering plants, it is essential to fertilize. Opt for a slow-release or a liquid fertilizer. Beginner gardeners think that fertilization is a fad or a hack for gardeners that don’t want to put in the work. While some plants can grow well in poor soil, others are more pretentious. It is not enough to simply replace the soil once every couple of years. With each watering, the container soil is depleted of essential nutrients. Fertilization helps you replace those lost nutrients to enjoy baskets with a full look.
- Rotate the baskets – As you hang plants in all available spaces, you will notice that some will perform better than others. If your space doesn’t allow you to place all your hanging baskets in optimal positions, you can always switch the baskets. This way, they can all get some of the benefits of a good location. Ideally, you should switch the containers weekly, so that the plants have time to thrive in the good spots.
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Last update on 2023-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best flowering plants for hanging containers
Due to their high position and their abundance of cascading flowers, hanging baskets are the highlights of each garden space. Not only do they add some life to your vertical spaces, but they also allow you to get creative with colours and textures.
The best plants for hanging containers come in an abundance of colours, sizes, and textures. They can be used to add verticality, spice up a plain space or simply add more joy and colour to a garden space. There is a wide variety of flowers that you can choose from and you can find plants suitable for any garden space. Here are our favourite hanging flowering plants.
These low-maintenance plants can be found in almost any garden. Geraniums are warm-weather plants. They are grown as annuals all over the world, but in USDA zones 9-10, they can be grown as perennials.
Geraniums are upright plants, but they do have a bit of a trailing nature, so they look great in hanging baskets. They bloom in red, white, pink, apricot, violet, yellow, and orange. They can also be bicolour. They can reach a top length of 100 cm and a top spread of 90 cm.
Some of the most popular types of geraniums include Garden Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum), Scented-leaf Geranium, Sweet-scented Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum), Regal Geranium (Martha Washington geraniums), Angel Geranium, Wood Geranium (Geranium maculatum), Meadow Geranium (Geranium pratense), Bloody Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium sanguineum), and Hardy Geranium.
All begonias are beautiful, but the best variety for hanging baskets is Begonia Boliviensis. This type of Begonia is similar to fuchsia, but it is more heat and humidity hardy. It blooms in red, pink, white, yellow, and orange. They can reach a top height of 40 cm and a top spread of 50 cm. They bloom from mid-spring until the first frost.
It is suitable for USDA zones 9 to 11. It grows best in full sun exposure, but it can also handle partial shade. It needs rich, moist, and light soil with good drainage. They are very easy to care for, as long as you shield them from strong winds.
Aside from Begonia Boliviensis, several other Begonias grow well in hanging baskets. Such is the case of Begonia Cascade Pink, Pendula White, Cascade Red, Cascade White, and Bertini. You can learn more about these fascinating flowering plants from our article on the best types of begonias to grow.
The electric-blue Lobelia flowers will add a touch of vitality to any space. This plant thrives in moderate temperatures and it is great for attracting beneficial insects. It can reach a top height of 25 cm and a top spread of 30 cm.
It blooms from late spring until early fall and it is hardy to USDA zones 2 to 11. It is an annual in most parts of the world, but it can be grown as a perennial in USDA zones 10-11. It has thin leaves but its cascading blooms make up for its subtle foliage.
This is a very low-maintenance plant. It thrives in full sun, but it can also grow well in partial shade. It will however have fewer blooms when grown in partial shade. It prefers rich, moist, and well-drained soil. Regular fertilization will ensure an abundance of flowers.
As the flowers start thinning towards the end of the summer, you can cut back the plant to encourage a fall blooming session. The best thing about Lobelia is that it is virtually pest and disease free. To learn more about Lobelia plants, don’t forget to check out our complete guides to Lobelia erinus and Lobelia cardinalis.
Fuchsias come in a wide range of varieties. The trailing varieties are ideal for hanging baskets. They have thin stems that cascade around the containers under the heavy weight of an abundance of blooms. They bloom in shades of pink, red, magenta, purple, and white.
The flowers have at least of petals and over 4 sepals. The colours of the petals and sepals don’t always match, resulting in endless color combinations. A well-cared-for fuchsia can reach a top height of 60 cm with a similar spread. It is hardy to USDA zones 9 and 10.
Fuchsia plants thrive in full sun exposure, but they can also make do with partial sun. They prefer moist soil, enriched with plenty of organic matter. Good drainage is essential to protect the plants’ roots. This plant can be a little high maintenance when it comes to its water needs.
It is essential to water it daily, but depending on the temperature and the size of the container, you may need to water it even two times a day. You should water a fuchsia plant until water starts dripping from the drainage holes.
Make sure the water drains properly because this plant has very sensitive roots and soggy soil can cause severe root damage. You can become an expert in growing these plants by reading our complete guide to Fuchsias.
Petunias are probably the most popular flowering plants for hanging containers and for good reason. They bloom profusely all summer long. They bloom in shades of white, pink, yellow, red, purple, and blue. Their flowers have a sweet scent that relaxes the senses and encourages a positive vibe.
The scent is stronger in the evening when the plants want to attract pollinators. Just like humans and other beings, plants also have a circadian clock that regulates their cellular activity. This is how the plants know when to smell nice. Petunias can reach a top height of 50 cm and a width of 120 cm.
Petunias need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. The more sunlight they get, the more lavish their blooms will be. They like fertile soil with good draining properties. They will perform better in light, slightly acidic soil.
Just like Fuchsias, they need to be watered frequently. Depending on the local climate, water them at least once, if not twice per day. Watering the plants in the early morning will help them handle the hot afternoon sun without problems.
If you water them in the evening, allow the soil to cool down before watering them, to avoid boiling the roots. Learn everything about growing and caring for these versatile plants from our complete guide to Petunias.
Also known as Calibrachoa, Million Bells are essential plants for hanging baskets. Unlike petunias, they are not sticky. They bloom in shades of pink, yellow, white, red, blue, magenta and violet. They attract numerous beneficial pollinators.
Some varieties have a sweet scent similar to petunias. A mature plant can reach a top height of 25 cm and a top width of 60 cm. It is suitable for USDA zones 9, 10, and 11. It grows best in full sun exposure, but it can also grow in partial sun. They bloom from mid-spring until the first frost.
This plant needs rich, slightly acidic soil with good drainage. To ensure rich blooms, you will need to fertilize them every two weeks with a high potassium fertilizer.
They need to be watered daily, but it depends on the container and the temperature. It is best to test the soil and only water them when the top 5 cm of soil has dried. In temperate climates, you can water them every other day. Learn more about these colourful plants from our complete guide to Million Bells.
If you are looking for some hanging plants that will truly enchant your senses, you can’t go wrong with Dianthus plants. More commonly known as carnations, these perennials bloom in shades of pink, white, red, rose or yellow.
They don’t have a trailing nature, but they bloom in masses, so they look good in hanging baskets. Bi-coloured flowers are also very common. They can reach a top height of 30 cm and a top width of 45 cm. They bloom from early spring until the first frost.
Dianthus plants grow well in both full sun and partial sun exposure. They need light, fertile soil with good drainage. They prefer neutral or acidic soil.
These plants don’t require a lot of fertilizer. Nonetheless, slow-release fertilizer or some compost can increase the number of blooms. These plants are draught-resistant, but they like to have a strict watering schedule. Allow the soil to dry almost completely before watering them. Learn more about these attractive ornamentals from our complete guide to Dianthus.
Also known as sun plant, wax pink, or rose moss, Portulaca is a drought-resistant perennial that looks great in hanging baskets. It is in fact a succulent, perfect for coastal areas. It blooms in shades of yellow, pink, red, white, and orange.
It can reach a top height of 20 cm and a top spread of 45 cm. It self seeds, so you can allow it to spread in the garden and then replant it in hanging baskets for a more stunning visual effect. It is suitable for USDA zones 2 to 11.
This plant needs full sun exposure. It is not fussy about its soil, as long as it has good drainage. It will perform best in fertile, sandy soil.
Ground plants can make do with occasional watering, whereas container plants might need to be watered weekly. Like it goes with all succulents, you must allow the soil to dry out completely before watering the plant. Learn more about these delicate ornamentals from our complete guide to Portulaca.
This hearty plant can survive in unlikely conditions. It is particularly resistant to draughts and it can be invasive in frost-free areas, so be careful where you place it. It can reach a top height of 60 cm with a top spread of 120 cm.
It blooms in shades of yellow, blue, purple, orange, white, red, or pink. It has a unique appearance due to its woody vines.
For abundant blooms, place your hanging Lantana in a sunny location. Partial shade can also work but the number of blooms will drop significantly. The shade will also make the plant more susceptible to pests and diseases.
This plant needs fertile soil with a good amount of organic matter. Good drainage is essential and so is regular watering. During extremely high temperatures, you will have to water Lantana daily. In moderate temperatures, you can water it every other day. Learn how to grow and care for this plant from our complete guide to Lantana.
Verbena is another excellent choice for hanging baskets. It produces vigorous flowers in shades of purple, scarlet, pink, white, peach, and red. Ombre hues are also quite common. It can reach a top height of 25 cm with a top spread of 90 cm.
It can be grown both as an annual and a perennial, depending on the local climate. It blooms from mid-summer to early fall. While it is usually grown for its looks, it also has valuable medicinal properties.
Verbena requires full sun exposure, but it can also tolerate light shade. It needs rich soil with good drainage. One peculiar need of this plant is air circulation. It doesn’t like being crowded so keep it away from other hanging containers.
Its need for good circulation also calls for occasional maintenance. Deadheading will deliver a more groomed look, while also encouraging more blooms. An occasional trim might also be necessary for leggy plants. It needs to be watered once a week, but always check the top soil before establishing a watering schedule. Learn more about this amazing plant from our complete guide to Verbena.
These are just a few of the most popular and beloved plants that you will find in hanging baskets all around the world. However, the possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing plants for these versatile containers.
You can get creative and try your hand at growing your favorite plants in hanging baskets, but keep in mind that your chances of success will grow if you choose drought-tolerant plants that have a trailing habit.
As mentioned above, plants that grow in hanging baskets tend to require more frequent watering, so if you choose drought-tolerant plants, your plants might survive even if you forget to water them once in a while.
Some examples of drought-tolerant plants that you can try growing in hanging baskets include the Firecracker plant (Russelia equisetiformis), Cobweb spiderwort (Tradescantia sillamontana), Wandering Jew plant (Tradescantia zebrina), Purple heart (Tradescantia pallida purpurea), and Bougainvillea.
Are you growing plants in hanging baskets outdoors? Let us know what your favourite trailing plants are and what your experience with hanging baskets has been so far!