Summertime is here – and if you are like most people, those gorgeous hanging baskets and potted plants purchased back in the spring are starting to show some serious signs of wear and tear. The leaves have started to thin out, and the beautiful blooms that once blanketed the plant are now few and far between.

hanging baskets
A few weeks back, this was a worn out hanging basket from early spring – but once transplanted into a large container – it now flourishes on top of our wine barrel.

But wait! Before you toss those worn out baskets to the curb – think a little outside the box, or in this case, the hanging basket containers – and rejuvenate those tired plants back to a beautiful, blooming new life – in a new space and space.

Although summer’s high heat and humidity will take its toll on nearly every outdoor plant, most hanging baskets and potted plants start to fail by late July or early August because they have run out of the room and nutrients needed to stay strong.

The root balls become a matted, tangled mess, with little soil left to be found at all. This makes it nearly impossible for the plants to absorb water or nutrients, and the reason many times a watering will run right through the plant and onto the ground below.

By simply giving those cramped roots a little more space and fertile soil to grow, you can extend their beauty and life until late fall. For us, two simple ways work best :  (1) replanting into a larger container or bucket, or (2) replanting directly into the landscape. 

New Life For Hanging Baskets and Potted Plants

Replanting Into Large Pots

hanging baskets
Most hanging baskets and potted plants will become root bound by mid-summer

It is amazing how a little new soil and some bigger digs can perk up those tired looking plants! For replanting, it’s best to use a pot or container that is at least double the size that the plant came in. This allows enough room for new growth, and to keep the plant looking great until that first frost.

For many of our plants, we have found a 5 gallon bucket is the perfect, inexpensive solution. We then set them in our homemade planter boxes around the patio for an attractive burst of big color.  (See: DIY grow boxes)

The Process: Start by removing the old plant from its original container, and gently break apart the tangled root ball all around the edges. This will allow for the plant to easily begin growing again in its new space. Next, fill in with potting soil or a compost / soil mixture and water thoroughly.

This is one time where a little bit of fertilizer goes a long way in helping the plant to re-establish its beauty quickly. We water in the plant with a little of our compost tea to give it a boost. (See : Compost Tea Recipe) 

Much like your original hanging baskets, be sure to water nearly every day, and perhaps twice a day for that first week to keep the shock of transplanting to a minimum.

Replanting Into The Landscape

If you don’t have access to larger pots, or the additional patio space for the transplants – then simply replant directly into your landscape and flower beds. It provides a huge splash of color to perennial bed spaces for the rest of the growing season. You will be amazed at how big those little potted plants or hanging baskets can get once transplanted!

hanging basket
We replanted this overgrown hanging basket into a 5 gallon bucket and into one of our DIY grow boxes about a week ago. It has already started to take off!

Start by digging a hole in your flowerbed about twice as deep and wide as the existing root ball of the hanging basket. Remove the plant from the original basket, break apart the root bound edges, and fill back in with soil. Soak the plant into the new soil with a good dose of water when complete.

When re-planting our old hanging baskets in the ground, we like to use an equal mix of soil and compost in the hole. The loose, nutrient filled soil gives the plant an easy path to set new roots.

Be sure again to water daily or even twice daily for the first week, until the roots have had a chance to become re-established. In no time at all, your old hanging basket will bounce back to life in a beautiful display of color.

This Wave Petunia was transplanted from a potted plant directly into a flowerbed, and will now continue to grow and flourish until late fall
This Wave Petunia was transplanted from a potted plant directly into our flowerbed.

So don’t give up on those tired hanging baskets and potted plants just yet – rejuvenate them this summer to add even more color to your landscape.

Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

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