Is it really possible to keep your hanging baskets healthy, green and blooming big and beautiful all summer long?
Believe it or not, the answer is a resounding yes! Especially if you can provide your plants with 4 critical but simple needs that can make all the difference between a basket that thrives – or one that fades away as soon as the heat of summer arrives.
There is little doubt hanging baskets are the perfect way to add flair to any outdoor space. They bring instant color and texture to any area of the landscape, and in a big way. But for many, the struggle to keep their baskets looking great all summer long is a tough one.
Unfortunately, most baskets that are purchased or planted in the early spring don’t make it past mid-summer. In fact, sadly, some don’t even make it to late spring without their foliage fading, and their once plentiful blooms becoming more scarce with each passing day.
When hanging baskets do begin to fail, many gardeners assume they just need more water or fertilizer. And although those two needs are very important for their health, there are a few other issues that usually are a factor when plants fail before they should.
With that in mind – here is a look at 4 simple tips that will help keep your baskets blooming from spring til fall – and have you enjoying big color anywhere you place them!
How To Keep Hanging Baskets Blooming All Summer Long!
#1) Pick The Right Growing Location
Where you hang your flowering baskets can make a huge difference in how they perform. In fact, one of the biggest reasons hanging baskets fail is location. Success all starts with putting your baskets in the best location possible for the plants growing inside of them.
If you are trying to add life to a covered porch or shady outdoor area, select plants that perform well with less light. Likewise, if you will be hanging your plants on a sun-drenched deck, choose sun loving plants that can handle the heat.
It sounds so simple, but it is amazing how much this factor comes into play. Hanging shade-loving Impatiens out in full sun areas will result in a basket that fails early. Be sure to read basket and plant labels carefully to select varieties of flowering annuals that will do best in the conditions you will be growing them in.
For full sun locations, select varieties like petunias, calibrachoa, geraniums and marigolds. For shade or areas that receive little sunlight, impatiens, begonias and fuchsia are all excellent choices. See: The Best Hanging Basket Varieties To Grow – How To Select Plants That Last!
#2) Water Consistently – How To Keep Hanging Baskets Blooming All Summer
Insufficient or irregular watering can play a major role in the early demise of hanging baskets. Because the soil hangs out in the open in a basket, it dries out much faster than flowers growing in the ground.
When flowering plants dry out, their roots and leaves shrink, shrivel and curl from the stress. Left dry long enough, they will begin to brown and die off. But even when water is eventually supplied to the plant, the shriveled roots make it hard for the plant to absorb it.
Get in the habit of watering plants at a consistent time of day. Early morning is by far the best time to water. It not only helps plants take on the upcoming stress and heat of the day, but there is less chance of damage from the sun’s rays burning the foliage.
Listen In Below To Our Podcast On Hanging Basket Care!
Check plants daily to see if the soil is completely drying out. Especially on exceptionally hot or windy days. If so, you may need to water once in the morning and again in the evening.
Make Sure Your Plants Can Drain Excess Water – How To Keep Hanging Baskets Blooming All Summer
Just as important as making sure your plants stay hydrated is to make sure they don’t become waterlogged. All too often, excess water from rain or watering gets trapped in the baskets, unable to drain through.
When this occurs, the roots of the plant become swollen. As they swell, they become unable to take in moisture or nutrients. It sounds almost impossible since there is so much water around them, but when roots become waterlogged, they actually can’t take in food or water.
Always make sure your hanging baskets have a few drainage holes in their bottom. If they only have one in the center, drill out a couple more with a 1/2 inch drill bit. With multiple holes, if a single drain hole becomes blocked, water can still drain away.
#3) Powering Plants With Fertilizer – How To Keep Hanging Baskets Blooming All Summer
Without adding additional energy and power to your hanging basket plants throughout the growing season, they will not be able to survive the entire summer. See: Fertilizing Hanging Baskets – How To Keep Baskets Blooming Strong All Summer Long!
The plants growing in a hanging basket have a limited amount of soil from which to absorb energy. Unfortunately, they have no ability to expand beyond the basket and find additional nutrients. That means fertilizing is a must. But how and when you fertilize is the real secret to blooming success!
Hanging baskets need to be fed a low, slow and steady stream of nutrients. If you provide plants with too much power too quickly, they will expand their roots and foliage too fast. The result will be a plant that outgrows its basket and stops blooming because of it.
How & When To Fertilize
To keep baskets growing and blooming strong, it is far better to give a lower dose of nutrients more frequently. A light dose of fertilizer applied to your baskets every 10 to 14 days is best. This will feed the plants slowly with a constant dose of power.
With hanging baskets, liquid fertilizing options are the best choice. Liquid fertilizers absorb both through the roots of a plant and through its leaves. This double absorption means plants get the nutrients much easier than with granular applications.
Compost tea and worm casting tea are both excellent all natural liquid fertilizers. You can also use a good quality all-purpose liquid fertilizer to do the job. When using a commercial liquid fertilizer, mix at half of the recommended strength to keep the dose light. (Affiliate Product Link : Miracle Grow Organics Water Soluble Fertilizer)
If using compost tea or worm casting tea, you can use it at full strength. Both have a lower nutrient makeup when compared to commercial fertilizers. Because of this, they will not cause overgrowth. When using either, simply water the plant with the tea as if you were watering the plant.
#4) Remove Spent Blooms Quickly – How To Keep Hanging Baskets Blooming All Summer
The longer you allow dying and decaying blooms to stay on your baskets, the longer it will take new blooms to form and unfurl. That is why removing those old blooms is a huge key to keeping your baskets flowering strong!
When old blooms are left on a plant, not only do they become an eyesore, they use up valuable resources. Resources that should instead be going to new growth and more blooms.
Remove dead and dying blooms from your hanging baskets on a regular basis. This is also a great practice for container and bedding plants as well. Doing this will keep the plant’s energy and resources focused on creating new blooms and better looking baskets!
Here is to keeping your hanging baskets healthy and strong all summer long!
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