Looking for the secrets to keep your hanging baskets beautiful all summer long? We have you covered today!
Whether it’s petunias, impatiens, zinnias, begonias or any hanging baskets with blooming annuals, keeping baskets vibrant and healthy can be a big issue for many.
Freshly home-planted or fresh from the nursery, hanging baskets add big color in the spring and early summer. But, for many gardeners, by late July, many of their gorgeous baskets start to fade.
Plants that once were full of bright green foliage and loaded with blooms now struggle to just survive.
But there is an answer. In fact, with just a few simple tips, you really can keep them booming and blooming all season. Even into late fall!
3 Simple Secrets To Keep Hanging Baskets Beautiful
#1 Start With Small Plants & Bigger Pots
Secret number one is to stay away from those incredibly large and beautiful early spring hanging baskets. These baskets may look amazing now, but all of that growth simply means they will not last for long.
Many growers plant baskets as early as November or December indoors to create gorgeous baskets for early spring.
The issue is that the plants have already nearly outgrown their containers. At the same time, they have used up every bit of nutrients in the soil as well.
Instead, choose hanging baskets that are just beginning to fill out their containers. These are the baskets you can grow slowly with proper care, and that you can make last all season long.
In addition, stay away from hanging baskets that have smaller containers. There is simply not enough soil in small baskets to keep plants going all year. Avoid using or purchasing 12″ to 14″ basket sizes, and instead select ones at least 16″ to 18″ in diameter.
#2 Fertilizing – Slow, Steady & Lightly
Quite simply, without additional fertilizer applied throughout the season, hanging baskets will begin to fade.
Hanging baskets, just like flowers planted in containers, have limited soil fertility. Even if you use the best planting mix, it will eventually run out of power.
But it is how and when you apply fertilizer that is the biggest secret of all when it comes to long-term success! If you apply fertilizer in heavy doses, it will grow plants too quickly. The end result is an oversized plant that is finished by mid-summer.
The key is to apply a lighter ( weaker) dose more often. As in every few weeks to keep plants supplied with a steady and slow feed of nutrients.
This can be best be accomplished with a liquid feeding of an organic fertilizer, or using liquid compost tea or worm casting tea. (See: 4 Great Homemade Liquid Fertilizers)
The Two Fold Fertilizing Approach
We use a two-fold approach to fertilizing. First, we apply a 1/4 cup of worm castings to the top level of the basket’s soil every month.
Worm castings are the perfect slow release fertilizer. Every time you water, the nutrients leach down through the soil and are absorbed by the roots.
We then apply a light dose of liquid fertilizer every two weeks as well. We opt for either worm casting tea or compost tea.
If you are using a commercial liquid fertilizer mix, use at 1/4 ot 1/2 of the recommended strength ever 10 to 14 days. This supplies a slow dose without pumping up the plants too quickly. (Product Link : Jobes Organic Fertilizer)
You will be amazed at the results!
#3 Watering With A Consistent Approach
Our #3 tip is a big one for sure! The quickest way to weaken a hanging basket plant is to let it go too long without water.
Get in the habit of watering your baskets at the same time every day. Not only does it help the plant with regular watering, it helps you remember to do it!
The best time to water is in the early morning so plants can withstand the heat of the day. But if you come home on a scorcher and they look wilted, don’t wait till morning – give them a second dose.
Double Up Watering In Mid-Summer
As baskets grow larger in mid-summer, they will probably need to be watered once in the morning, and once in the evening. Constant and consistent watering, or the lack of it, is almost always the reason for early hanging basket failure.
There you have it, 3 simple secrets to keep your hanging baskets beautiful all spring, summer and fall long. Here’s to Growing Great! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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