How to Grow in Hanging Baskets

Hanging Baskets with Sphagnum Moss image by alpinegir/sxc.hu

Overview

To grow plants successfully in hanging pots, it is important to know which kind of plants are best suited for this kind of planting. Hanging pots are designed for plants that vine or spread but not for woodier plants that grow upright. When choosing a hanging pot for your plants, be sure to think about where it will drain. For indoor hanging pots, choose one that has an attached drainage dish on the bottom to hold any water that flows out through the bottom.

Getting Ready to Hang Your Plant

Step 1

Install the plant hook in the ceiling or wall, following any instructions that are on the package. Be sure to use a hook that is designed for hanging heavy plants and that it is rated for the weight that the plant will be. Remember to consider that the plant will have dirt, rocks and water. An average 12-inch hanging pot can weight approximately 10 pounds with a nicely developed plant in it.

Step 2

Wash out the planter and rinse well to remove any contaminants that may harm the plant. If you chose a wire hanging basket, it is not necessary to wash it, but line the inside with sphagnum moss. Do not reuse this moss from another plant.

Step 3

Place one inch of rocks, broken terracotta or clay pieces in the bottom of the pot if the container that you chose is a plastic, walled container. This will help to keep the soil well-drained. If you chose an open-air basket, this step is not necessary.

Step 4

Remove the hangers that are placed around the pot or pull them out of the way and let them rest along the sides of the pot.

Step 5

Prepare the potting soil by adding two teaspoons of ground limestone and two teaspoons of 5-10-10 granulated fertilizer into the soil. Mix thoroughly.

Step 6

Fill the pot two-thirds full of soil, cupping out the middle to form a pocket for the new plant. Make this valley about the height and width of the pot that the plant is currently in.

Step 7

Pick up the plant in your left hand and gently turn it over into your right hand, placing your fingers into the plant and holding the base of the plant near the stems while spreading your hand out to catch most of the dirt. It will most likely come out in a large clump.

Step 8

Gently guide all of the hanging strands of the plant to one side so you have one side of the plant free to avoid injury to the plant.

Step 9

Break up some of the roots gently if the plant is root-bound, to allow them to get air. Place the plant into the hanging pot, dirt side down, into the valley in the middle of your hanging pot.

Step 10

Fill the area around the plant with soil, patting it down firmly around the plant. Fill it enough to cover the top of the original soil in the plant. Be sure to leave about one-half of an inch at the top of the pot empty -- this will allow you to water your hanging pot without overflowing it onto furniture or carpet, if indoors. When it is hanging, it will be difficult to see if the water is deep in the pot, so this gives you some room for error.

Step 11

Guide any hanging tendrils to distribute them evenly around the pot so that when you reattach or pull up the hangers, some strands will hang in all areas of the planter.

Step 12

Be sure that the plastic drainage tray, if it has one, is attached firmly, and water the plant, allowing the water to soak through the new dirt and drain out of the bottom. Do this in a sink to allow the water to flow freely through and drain completely before removing from sink.

Step 13

Reattach the hangers, being careful not to pinch the plant while attaching them to the pot, or gently pull up the hangers from the edges, a little on each side of the pot, being careful not to pinch the plant.

Step 14

Pick up the plant and make any more adjustments to be sure it is hanging level and that all long, hanging strands are distributed evenly around the plant. Hang on the hook and water according to the needs of the particular plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Sturdy plant-hanging hook
  • 10-inch hanging basket with hangers
  • Your chosen vining plant in a four-inch pot
  • Potting soil
  • Coarse rocks, broken clay pots or other coarse material

References

  • Hanging Baskets: Texas A&M University
  • Hanging Plants: Maryland Cooperative Extension Univ. of Maryland
  • Hanging Plants: Humeseeds.com
Keywords: growing hanging plants, hanging pots, grow in hanging planters

About this Author

Robin Lewis is a freelance artist, designer and writer. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, national magazines and on several self-help areas of the Web. Lewis specializes in gardening articles, publishing frequently on a variety of websites.

Photo by: alpinegir/sxc.hu