If you are looking for the best way to fertilize your hanging baskets to keep them blooming strong all summer long, today’s article is a must read for sure.
Hanging baskets are one of the most popular ways to add instant color to an outdoor space. They can brighten up patios, bring life to front & back porches, or add a touch of class and beauty to light posts, overhangs and more.
But keeping them looking great for an entire summer can be a big challenge. And that is exactly where fertilizing your baskets in the best way possible can make all the difference!
No matter how rich and fertile your potting soil is at the beginning of a growing season, your baskets will eventually run out of nutrients from the soil. And when that happens, plants quickly fade into a mass of wilted leaves and sparse blooms.
How To Best Fertilize Hanging Baskets – Providing Nutrients Slow And Steady
It’s quite simple actually. The biggest key of all to keep baskets healthy and blooming is to provide them with a slow and steady diet of nutrients. Provide little or no nutrients, and your plants will simply run out of energy.
But provide too much, and the plant spends all of it’s energy growing a lot of roots and foliage. And unfortunately, all of that growth comes at the expense of more blooms.
Over-fertilizing is often as much of a problem for plants as under-fertilizing. It gives plants a few moments of big blooming glory, only to have them become root-bound and overgrown within just a month or two.
But there is actually a very simple way to keep your baskets healthy and strong all year long. And it is one we have been using here on our farm for years to keep them blooming and blooming profusely, all way the into late fall.
Best of all it’s easy,100% organic – and quite cost effective too! With that in mind, here is a look at how to fertilize your hanging baskets for big success, using a simple 1-2 punch of slow and steady energy.
Fertilizing Hanging Baskets – What To Use, And When & How To Apply
We have followed the same simple fertilizing formula for our hanging baskets for the past five+ years. And it has truly worked wonders in keeping them healthy and blooming strong from May to late September.
Check out our Podcast on Hanging Basket Care!
It all centers around a two prong approach of using a slow release dry fertilizer once a month, and combining it with a dose of a light liquid fertilizer every 10 to 14 days.
This works extremely well in providing a steady but small dose of energy. One that keeps plants energized, but without growing so fast they fizzle out before the end of summer
Slow Release Dry Fertilizer – How To Best Fertilize Hanging Baskets
Without a doubt, worm casting are our go-to slow release dry fertilizer for hanging baskets. They truly are the perfect, all natural energy source to feed plants with a steady but light does of power. (Check out our article : Why Worm Castings Are The Biggest Secret To Powering Flowers & Vegetable Plants)
We apply a 1/2 cup of castings to the top soil portion of each hanging basket every month. We simple shake the castings lightly over the foliage. Next, we brush the foliage a bit to make sure the castings settle down on top of the soil.
And then the magic begins! Every time we water the baskets or it rains, the nutrients from the castings leach into the roots. And in the process, gently power the plant with an easy-to-absorb nutrient source. (Product link : Worm Castings)
You can also substitute a good quality slow-release granular fertilizer in place of the castings. If doing so, select an all-purpose fertilizer with a lower ratio (5-5-5) of N-P-K instead of a 10-10-10 that is usually used. This will help to not overpower plants with too much energy all at once.
Liquid Fertilizing – How To Best Fertilize Hanging Baskets
In addition to the “dry” fertilizer application of worm castings, we also apply a natural dose of liquid fertilizer every ten to 14 days.
With a liquid fertilizer, plants can absorb nutrients quickly through both their roots and foliage. The liquid dose is a perfect balance for the slower, steady worm castings’ energy.
Our go-to for liquid fertilizing is compost tea. Not only is it free to make from compost, and all-natural, it is also extremely well balanced in nutrients. And does it ever power up plants to bloom heavy and fast! (See: How To Make Great Compost Tea)
In fact, without fail, within a few days of a dose, our plants perk up with more blooms and greenery than ever. We water each plant every few weeks with a quarter to a half gallon (depending on plant size) of the tea to each plant, leaves and all.
We can always tell just how powerful that liquid solution is when we look at the grass underneath our hanging baskets on the sign posts that line our driveway.
By summer’s end, there is always a dark green patch directly underneath every basket. And that is of course all due to the water that drips out of the basket to the ground below.
Other Liquid Alternatives – How To Best Fertilize Hanging Baskets
You can certainly substitute a good-quality liquid fertilizer in place of the compost tea. But to keep plants at a steady growing pattern, mix at about half strength. (Product Link : Miracle Grow Liquid Organics)
You can also use worm casting tea as a great alternative as well. But one thing is for sure, the double dose of dry and liquid is the real key. It simply works magic to power hanging baskets to one incredible growing season.
Here is to fertilizing your hanging baskets this year with big success. Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary.
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