Petunias, with their colorful, trumpet-shaped blooms and easy care, are one of the favorite commercially grown flowers for hanging baskets. This gorgeous annual works great pouring out of containers kept in full sun. Achieve results similar to professionally arraigned hanging baskets with a few simple steps.
Mix equal parts peat moss and potting soil to create a lightweight, nutrient-rich mix of soil. Petunias are hungry plants and eat up nutrients quickly. Giving them a good start is vital to vibrant plants. Peat moss retains moisture in the soil, something else petunias thrive on. Petunias will respond to re-hydration if drought-stressed, but doing so too many times leads to weak plants. Hanging baskets often need watering more than once a day, and peat moss will keep that moisture in as long as possible.
Fill a coconut shell-lined basket with the peat moss/potting soil mixture. Using a knife, cut slits 1 1/2 inches wide in the sides of the coconut shell liner. The slits will be used to plant flowers through the shell to create a fuller plant. Keep your slits uniform to ensure a uniform growing basket. Skip this step if you prefer the rustic look of the liner to be seen, or you want an arrangement that just cascades over the side of the planter.
Slide seedlings root first into the coconut shell lining, allowing the seedling to hang. Continue to do so until the pot is uniform. Plant seedlings in the center of the container as well, stacking plants close together. When trying to create a full, cascading basket, ignore the plant's spacing instructions. In this case, crowd the planter. As long as they are watered and fertilized regularly, the flowers will do fine with little root space. Add soil mixture as needed to cover roots.
Prune all blooms or buds with garden shears or sharp, clean scissors. Snip just below the bloom. Petunias, like all annuals, have a specific life cycle--grow the plant, bloom, go to seed, and die. By pruning blooms for a week or two, you force the plant to grow. Doing so creates a fuller plant mass, which in turn will produce more blooms once you allow it to bloom. In the same manner, once you allow the plants to bloom, deadhead by pruning before the blooms die off completely and the plant goes to seed. Once it seeds, it will stop producing so many blooms.
Hang in a sunny location and water and fertilize regularly for best results.