How to Make My Hanging Basket Full


Buying that hanging basket filled with lush green foliage and brightly colored flowers at the nursery may have been the highlight of your day. Unfortunately, nursery plants rarely look the same after hanging outside at home for a few weeks. Blooms may drop and foliage may begin to look a bit thin with scraggly branches spilling over the side. Correcting the problems and creating a full basket of vigorous foliage and abundant blooms is relatively easy.

Step 1

Trim scraggly or overgrown branches that lack vigor or show large spaces between leaves with a pair of garden clippers or a sharp knife. Trim back to the overall shape of the plant to force a flush of new growth to replace the old stems. Abundant blooms soon follow.

Step 2

Deadhead old blooms by removing flower heads as soon as they begin to fade. Removing flower heads before they can set seed sends the message to the plant that its job is not completed and it quickly complies by sending out more blooms.

Step 3

Pinch out the center leaves on terminal ends of branches whenever the plant becomes leggy or looks sparse. This forces new foliage to emerge along the stem and creates dense compact foliage.

Step 4

Provide adequate light for the plant. Refer to the plant identification tag and follow the recommendations for proper lighting. Plants that do not receive adequate light often stretch for light and develop scraggly stems with small leaves. Blooming is inhibited.

Step 5

Fertilize with water-soluble fertilizer developed for your specific plant. Follow the recommended application rate and feeding schedule on the container. Plants that receive adequate nutrients develop rich vigorous growth and bloom color is improved.

Step 6

Water when the soil dries, and watch for any signs of wilting. Water needs varies among plants. Follow the recommendations for your specific plants. Container-grown plants require frequent watering and may need to be watered everyday, particularly in hot, dry weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden clippers/knife
  • Water soluble fertilizer


  • Purdue University Extension: Growing Annual Flowers
  • University of Missouri extension: Removing Spend Flowers/Deadheading
  • Iowa State University: Growing Annuals in Containers

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University Extension: Container Gardening
  • Cornell University Extension: How to Grow Annuals
Keywords: hanging basket, make plants full, pinch back plants

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.