Hanging basket plants can be categorized in many ways, such as identification by “sun” or “shade”. Decide whether your flower basket will be on a covered porch or in the sunshine. Knowing whether plants are annuals or perennials is another good way to know what you will need. Hanging flower baskets look beautiful with a variety of flowers which bloom at different times. Considerations about watering can also influence your choice of plants.
Shade Loving Plants
The hanging basket you place in a covered patio or porch will need shade plants. Some shade plants are beautiful for their leaves, such as coleus and angel-wing begonias. Others give beautiful brightly colored flowers, such as impatiens and fuchsias. Dr. Leonard Perry, of the University of Vermont, has named over 32 varieties of impatiens so you can be sure there’s one you’ll like.
Sun Loving Plants
Sun tolerant plants for hanging baskets 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 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.
Annuals and Perennials
Plants identified as annuals grow, bloom and die in one season. Perennials last for many seasons. Plant both annuals and perennials for a year-round flower basket. Many of the sun-loving plants are also annuals, such as petunias and trailing verbena. Million Bells trails down over the basket edge and is covered with bell-shaped small blossoms in reds, violets, and blues. Good perennials to plant in flower baskets are geranium, fuchsias, and begonias.
Some plants need more watering attention than other plants. Hanging baskets dry out much more quickly than plants in garden flower beds. Check the top soil often. It should be moist to the touch. Hanging basket plants which require frequent watering are fuchsia, petunias, trailing verbena, nasturtiums, miniature zinnias, and tuberous begonias. Water the baskets gently with a spray nozzle
Plants identified as drought tolerant for baskets include Portulaca. It has small rose-like blossoms on trailing vines and comes in yellows and pinks. Many varieties of trailing geraniums are drought-tolerant and even bloom more brightly without a lot of water. Midnight blue Lobelia also trails down the basket side and asks for less water. Give your plants a good, rich humus potting soil and they will retain water more effectively.