Hanging baskets filled with brightly colored flowers create an inviting atmosphere welcoming guests to your home. Unfortunately, purchasing premade flower baskets at the greenhouse or nursery can be expensive--and you are at the mercy of whatever flowers are available. However, don't let that deter you from decorating with hanging baskets. You can grow your own flowers from seeds to create several one-of-a-kind baskets for less than the cost of one from the nursery.
Browse seed catalogs or magazines to determine the type of flowers you would like to grow in your hanging baskets. While petunias make delightful hanging baskets, they are not the only choice. Look for flowers that trail or vine as the central plants for your container.
Look for complementary or contrasting flowers to add to the basket, if you prefer a mix of flowers. Consider the effect of both the foliage and the blooms. Blue lobelia and alyssum make a striking pair with another upright plant, such as geraniums. Rosie Lerner from the Purdue University Extension Office recommends using foliage with blue or gray tones with brightly colored flowers.
Choose plants that thrive in the same lighting and have the same watering needs. Hanging baskets should be relatively carefree, other than watering and occasional fertilizing. Choosing plants that share the same cultural requirements ensures healthy growth with minimal care.
Start seeds inside in late winter or early spring. Sow in trays filled with seed starter, following the recommended seed depth for the specific plant. This information is located on the back of the seed packet.
Keep the seed starter moist until seeds germinate. Move the seedlings to a sunny location and water whenever the soil dries.
Fill a hanging basket ¾ full with lightweight potting medium. Mix one part all-purpose potting soil, one part peat moss and one part perlite to create a lightweight soil suitable for hanging baskets.
Transplant the seedlings to the hanging basket when they are 4 to 6 inches high. Position the seedlings to the original planting depth and fill in around the seedlings with fresh soil. Firm down with your hands to secure the plants. Three to four plants are adequate for a 12-inch hanging basket.
Water thoroughly until water runs free out of the bottom of the pot. Hang the basket in the appropriate lighting for the plants (check seed packet instructions/guidelines).
Apply water-soluble fertilizer diluted to ¼ strength once a week until you are ready to hang your plants outside. Once outside, apply fertilizer at the recommended strength once or twice a month until fall.
Move the basket outside when all danger of frost has passed in your area.