Growing your own hanging baskets from seed is one of the best ways to create unique and beautiful flowering baskets – all while saving big on your gardening budget!
Hanging baskets add instant color anywhere. They can brighten up a lifeless porch, add interest and color to a patio, or create a gorgeous focal point in the landscape.
But can they ever be expensive! In fact, hanging planters have skyrocketed in price over the last few years. Small 8″ to 10″ diameter baskets can run upwards of $20 or more.
Go larger than that, and you can expect to pay $40 to $50 without blinking an eye. And that is exactly why we began growing all of our hanging baskets from seed a few years back. Not only is it easy and extremely cost effective, it opens up your growing opportunities to all kinds of amazing and unique plants.
Here is a look at how to grow your own hanging plants this year, and have the most beautiful baskets on the block!
How To Grow Hanging Baskets From Seed
When it comes to growing baskets from seed, the name of the game is planting seeds indoors early! For annual flowers, this means starting seeds a full 10 to 12 weeks before you normally would begin hanging them outside.
That is a full month ahead of starting most vegetable seeds, but so important. It allows plenty of time for the plants to grow into blooming stage, and be ready to color up your outdoors from the get-go.
Seeds Vs. Purchasing Transplants
There is always the option of purchasing transplants for planting your own flowering baskets. And that method certainly saves a pretty penny too.
However, that also means waiting until nurseries and greenhouses have transplants available. And, unfortunately, you are stuck with the everyday varieties they often choose to grow and sell.
That is exactly why growing your own hanging baskets from seed is the perfect answer! We absolutely love starting our own seeds because it opens up our flower growing to so many unique possibilities.
We grow ornamental pepper baskets, colorful coleus mix baskets, as well as rainbow petunias, calibrachoa and many other annuals to create colorful hanging planters you simply can’t find in local stores. At a fraction of the cost!
And growing from seed is so easy. Just as with growing vegetable plants from seed, very little in the way of special equipment or lights is required.
In fact, all you need are a few grow trays, a couple of fluorescent (or LED) shop lights, a good seed starting mix, and seeds!
Growing Hanging Baskets Plants From Seed
We like to start our flower seeds in regular seed trays with the exact same method we use when planting our vegetable seedlings. See: How To Start Seeds Indoors
Although you could start your seeds right in your hanging baskets, we prefer starting our annuals into seed trays first. This allows you to concentrate your lights and growing efforts in a much smaller area until they reach transplantable (4 to 6 weeks) size.
One thing you don’t want to do when growing hanging baskets from seed is to start plants in a windowsill. There is simply not enough light, and plants will grow leggy and weak. Use fluorescent or LED shop lights – they are simple, and they work!
Transplanting Seedlings Into Baskets
Once plants reach 4 to 6 weeks in age, they can be transplanted into sturdy hanging basket containers to continue their growth. Doing this early on helps the plants establish in their permanent soil much faster.
The key to growing big, beautiful baskets is to use enough plants that it will fill the space – but not so many that it will crowd out the soil too early in the growing season.
There are a lot of formulas for proper spacing, but for full season growth, here is what we have found to work really well:
- 10″ baskets – 5 to 6 plants
- 12″ baskets – 6 to 7 plants
- 14″ baskets – 7 to 8 plants
- 16″ baskets – 8 to 9 plants
- 18″ baskets – 9 to 10 plants
When transplanting, use high quality commercial or homemade grade potting soil to fill your hanging baskets. We add in 1/2 cup of worm castings to all of our hanging basket soil to help promote slow, strong growth. They truly are our secret weapon!
Growing Your Baskets Early – Hanging Baskets From Seed
Once you have transplanted into baskets, you can start to take advantage of warm days by placing them outside.
Unlike bedded flowering annuals and vegetable garden plants, hanging baskets are easy to bring indoors when frost threatens. So take them out and let them grow as much as possible on those early spring warm days.
In between, the fluorescent or LED shop lights can be hung over top of them to keep them growing. Just as with vegetable plants, keep the lights close, within and inch or two of the top of plants.
The warmer the room you locate them your baskets and plants in, the stronger and faster they will grow.
Fertilize Right – Growing Hanging Baskets From Seed
No matter how great your potting soil is, hanging baskets need to be fertilized to stay strong and beautiful all year long. After all, the nutrients in any soil will only last so long.
Once you have transplanted into the baskets, the plants will benefit greatly from a light, but consistent fertilizing approach. And for us, there is no better choice than a liquid fertilizer for that task.
Liquid fertilizers feed both through the foliage and roots of plants. This double dose really helps plants grow strong and bloom even stronger.
But the key is applying a low and slow rate of fertilizer on a consistent basis. A dose every 2 to 3 weeks will work wonders to keep plants strong all season long. See : The Best Way To Fertilize Hanging Baskets
We use homemade compost tea or worm casting tea as our go to fertilizer. But there are also a few excellent organic choices on the market that work well too.
If you provide too much fertilizer at one time, plants use the energy to grow too much foliage and roots. Too little, and they won’t keep blooming.
As your plants continue to grow stronger, and as daytime temps start to warm, set baskets out in increasing intervals so they can adjust to outdoor life.
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And by the time spring is full gear and the threat of overnight frosts have passed, your plants can be left out full-time to show the world their beauty!
So get those seeds in hand, and get ready to grow your own stunning hanging baskets from seed this year! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary.
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