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, writes Hannah Stephenson.
However, expert Nathan Syrett, assistant plant manager at Squire’s Garden Centres, offers the following advice to hanging basket hopefuls...
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. 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.
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.
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. When you reach the top of the basket, firm the compost down so there are no air-holes.
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.
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.
Hang it up
Hang your basket on a wall bracket or other hook or frame (make sure it is secured tightly and is strong enough to take the weight).
Water 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.
Keep it healthy
Keep your basket well watered. In the height of summer you’ll need to do it twice a day, morning and evening. Feed your basket bedding plants regularly with either plant food or tomato food, following the instructions on the packet, and deadhead often.