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Hanging baskets masterclass: best expert content


Multicoloured Nurseryman’s Choice Hanging Basket Mixed Collection from Thompson & Morgan

Hanging baskets are easy to maintain and grow
Image: Nurseryman’s Choice Hanging Basket Mixed Collection from Thompson & Morgan

Here’s all the advice you need to help you enjoy the best hanging baskets you’ve ever created. Packed with useful articles, videos and Instagram posts – these gardeners have generously shared the knowledge they’ve acquired through years of trial and error. If you’re new to basket growing or you’re keen to learn more, here’s how to choose the best hanging basket plants along with tips to keep them blooming for as long as possible.

Daniel Woodley – DIY Gardening

Purple and yellow Garden Grow Hanging Basket & Liner from Thompson & Morgan

Give your hanging basket plants all the nutrients they need using the right potting mix
Image: Garden Grow Hanging Basket & Liner from Thompson & Morgan

What’s the best compost for hanging baskets? If you’d like a fresh take on this age old question, head over to DIY Gardening where Daniel Woodley gives you the benefit of his knowledge and experience. His specific ingredients are: general purpose peat-free compost, coco coir soaked then added to the mix, slow-release fertiliser granules, and water storing gel or vermiculite. For a full rundown of what’s in the mix and why, head over to Daniel’s post and have a read.

Jim Buttress

Man showing how to plant hanging baskets

Use an appropriate basket liner to support your plants
Image: Jim Buttress

If you’re looking for a solid introduction to hanging baskets, head over to watch Jim Buttress’ excellent demonstration of how to prepare yours for planting. Beginning with making the choice between a manufactured liner or a traditional lining of sphagnum moss, he runs you through the appropriate compost and the mechanics of training plants to hang down. He says you should begin planting around the edge of the hanging basket – these will be plants with a trailing habit. He adds that, you also need “a good leader – maybe a fuschia, maybe a geranium – something that will give you a bit of height in the middle.

Hannah Miller – DIY Gardening

Petunia 'Surfinia' Collection from Thompson & Morgan

Trailing petunias provide bright colour and foliage
Image: Petunia ‘Surfinia’ Collection from Thompson & Morgan

If you really want to make an impact, choose plants that explode with rich, deep colour, provide lush foliage, and produce long trails that sway in the wind,” says Hannah Miller at DIY Gardening. If you’re wondering what to plant in your hanging baskets, see Hannah’s suggestion for seven delightful hanging basket plants. From Busy Lizzies to cascading lobelia she showcases an excellent selection of plants, plus some brilliant ideas for winter baskets too.

James Middleton – The Allotment Garden

Geranium ‘Rosebud Collection’ from Thompson & Morgan

Ivy leaf geraniums are a great choice for baskets in partial shade
Image: Geranium ‘Rosebud Collection’ from Thompson & Morgan

Not everyone has the advantage of a sunny south-facing garden, says James Middleton of The Allotment Garden. But if you think that rules out growing spectacular hanging baskets, James proves it can be done, and done in style. His advice is to aim for high impact foliage like ferns, heuchera, and ivies, and also to add partial-shade loving options like Lobelia Erinus. For a full range of lovely plants for shady hanging baskets, please do take a look at James’ excellent article, Hanging Baskets for areas of shade.

Thompson & Morgan

Easy Fill 14 inch Hanging Basket from Thompson & Morgan

Easy-fill baskets make planting easy
Image: Easy Fill 14 inch Hanging Basket from Thompson & Morgan

Plant up your baskets in April to allow the plants to establish before putting your baskets outside when the risk of frost has passed,” says our team of horticulturalists here at Thompson & Morgan. If you’re looking for some quick information, our ten top tips for hanging baskets is a great place to start. Other gems include making sure you select a hanging basket that’s big enough so that it won’t dry out too fast, and choosing a quality compost.

Thrive

Contrasting hanging basket colours

Contrasting colours can make a basket more eye catching
Image: Pixabay

Hanging baskets need three types of plants: ‘Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers’,” says the team at Thrive. “The Thriller is the taller plant that features as your centrepiece creating structure and impact. ‘Fillers’ are planted around the central plant, and ‘Spillers’ are planted at the edge of the basket to trail over.” For great suggestions for each plant category, check out the full post which also includes some excellent tips for getting kids involved – like planting edible baskets with tumbling tomatoes and herbs.

Kris Collins – Amateur Gardening

Autumn hanging basket with white flower

It’s easy to give your garden a colour boost with a hanging basket
Image: Amateur Gardening

Have you thought of giving your hanging basket an autumn makeover? Watch this video over at Amateur Gardening where horticulturist Kris Collins demonstrates how to replant a spent hanging basket with chrysanthemums and sweet Williams. His neat trick for side-planting the basket without damaging the flowers and foliage is really clever. With tips as good as these, there’s no wonder Kris went on to join the T&M team!

Nic Wilson – writing for the Thompson & Morgan Blog

Heucherella ‘Trailing Collection’ from T&M

Heucherella has fantastic trailing foliage in a range of shades
Image: Heucherella ‘Trailing Collection’ from Thompson & Morgan

How about some ideas for wonderful winter hanging baskets? Writing for Thompson & Morgan’s blog, Nic Wilson from Dogwood Days provides two lovely winter planting schemes. The first is a lime, green and gold hanging basket featuring delights like Dwarf Lemon Cypress and Slender sweet flag grass. The second is a red, white, and silver display with Checkerberry and Heuchera ‘Prince of Silver’. Alternatively, you could grow both! Nic shows you how to plant winter hanging baskets with panache.

Catherine Hughes – Growing Family

Pink cyclamen in a winter hanging basket

Winter hanging baskets don’t have to compromise on colour
Image: Growing Family

If you’re looking for flowers to plant in winter hanging baskets, try heather, hellebores and winter flowering bulbs like snowdrops, says Catherine Hughes over at Growing Family. Just three of the wealth of planting suggestions on offer here, if you dream of winter colour for your garden, this post is a must. There’s also an equally impressive selection of winter foliage and evergreen plantings for anyone planting a cold season container display.

Benedict Vanheems – GrowVeg.com

Man watering hanging basket

Hanging baskets can be used to grow edible crops
Image: GrowVeg.com

Not everyone has the space for a full-blown vegetable garden,” says Benedict Vanheems at GrowVeg.com. That’s why he’s come up with a space saving solution that’s also great fun – fruit and vegetable hanging baskets. If that sounds like something you’d like to try, check out Benedict’s video in which he shows you which fruit and veg to plant in a hanging basket, the best way to plant them, and tips for a tasty harvest.

Marie Shallcross – Plews Garden Design

Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ from Thompson & Morgan

Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ has a naturally trailing habit, perfect for a basket
Image: Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ from Thompson & Morgan

Try growing herbs in your edible hanging basket, says Marie Shallcross at Plews Garden Design. She recommends trailing thymes and marjoram which, she says, “come in spicy and citrus varieties as well as the ‘ordinary’ types you’d expect.” Also making Marie’s list are mint, origanum, and rosemary. Salads like mangetouts and tomatoes get the thumbs up too, as do strawberries and, our favourite, cucamelons.

Sarah – @woodedge_cottagegarden

Hanging baskets in greenhouse

Go vertical in your greenhouse or polytunnel by planting edible hanging baskets
Image: @woodedge_cottagegarden

How about an edible hanging basket that includes everything you need for a Mediterranean-style salad complete with companion planting to keep pests away? That’s what Sarah over @woodedge_cottagegarden has been planting in her large hanging baskets. Check out her Instagram post for a corker of a hanging basket planting scheme!

Tony O’Neill – Simplify Gardening

Water retaining crystals in hanging basket

Use special gel crystals to improve the water retention of your basket
Image: Simplify Gardening

How do you stop your hanging baskets drying out, and spend less time watering? That’s the question allotmenteer extraordinaire, Tony O’Neill at Simplify Gardening sets out to answer in his YouTube video. He begins by reiterating the importance of thoroughly soaking your hanging baskets, before going on to explain about the use of water gel crystals, and putting super-absorbent disposable nappies at the bottom of your baskets before you add the compost – what a great idea.

Mike Palmer – GardenTags

Begonia x tuberhybrida 'Apricot Shades Improved' F1 Hybrid from Thompson & Morgan

Keep your hanging basket blooming with a few simple steps
Image: Begonia x tuberhybrida ‘Apricot Shades Improved’ F1 Hybrid from Thompson & Morgan

If you’d like to know how to keep your hanging baskets blooming for longer and looking great right to the end of the season, you really must check out Mike Palmer’s video over at Garden Tags. His top tips include fortnightly feeds and thorough deadheading. If you need convincing, just check out Mike’s incredible blooms – this is great advice from a man who knows his stuff.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our pick of some of the best helpful hanging basket tips and enjoy your own stunning display this season. For more information and advice, head over to our hanging baskets hub page



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