Hanging baskets create instant color, interest and beauty wherever you put them. Baskets of blooming flowers and green foliage create a romantic look for deck areas or the front porch. Planted baskets of flowers can be purchased at a garden center or you can make your own. Consider where you want to place the flower basket before you buy plants at the nursery. Some plants do well in sunny areas and some need shade to flourish.
Create the Basket
Wire baskets or wood baskets may be purchased at the garden center or by mail order. Orchids prefer a wooden slat basket. Wire baskets often come with a coconut-fiber lining already in place. Purchase a bag of potting soil when you buy the basket. Potting soil is porous, which allows good drainage. Decide if you will hang the basket in a sunny or shady location. Your choice of flowers depends on this.
Flowers for a hanging basket in a sunny location include Million Bells, Sweet Alyssum, petunias, trailing Verbena and geraniums. The trailing varieties of geraniums are very popular, very hardy and come in many colors. They are easy to grow in baskets because they do not need constant watering. They love heat and will set more flowers when the weather is hot. Sweet Alyssum is tiny, white, globe-shaped flowers that are good for "fillers" between larger plants. The 12 to 18 inch long stems of the Trailing verbena give your basket a romantic look. Petunias are a delicate plant which blooms profusely and comes in many shades of pink, red and blue.
The hanging basket you place in a covered patio or porch needs shade plants. Some are prized for their beautiful leaves, such as coleus and angel-wing begonias. There are many varieties of begonia which have small delicate flowers and waxy green leaves. Other shade-loving plants give brightly colored flowers, such as impatiens and fuchsias. There are over 32 varieties of the popular impatiens, with flowers from white to dark purple. Consider adding ivy as a trailing plant to the shade basket.
Plant the Basket
You have chosen the sun or shade-loving plants to use; now you can create the basket. Work in an area where some spilled soil won't matter. With the basket on the ground, fill it two-thirds full with potting soil. Arrange the flowers with tall ones in the middle and trailing varieties at the edge of the basket.
Check the basket soil frequently and water as needed. The soil should be moist to the touch. Baskets in sunny locations need more frequent watering. Feed with organic fertilizer once a month. Replace faded plants after the growing season.