Saturday, October 31

Revisiting delightful hanging baskets for beautiful displays

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Choosing the right flowers will give you continuous beautiful displays.

WE all love to see and own beautiful hanging baskets of lovely flowers in bloom. Hanging baskets have the advantage of saving space, ease of movement to suitable sites for the plants, and also to receive enough light as required for continued flowering. The creation of hanging baskets can take several forms.

During this Covid-19 season, I have taken up making several good hanging baskets, which are now giving me a lot of joy and greater appreciation of their simple beauty.

Tips for success

For successful hanging baskets, we need to find the right materials and the varieties of plants to use. From my own experience, we can make hanging baskets by simply using wire to tie the holes or wind around the outer rim of the pot, then extending the hanging wire to enable it to be lifted up successfully. Plastic baskets have the advantage of being light and ready for three strings or wires to be attached for hanging.

To create a ball of hanging flowers, we would need two wire baskets and have the open ends tied together facing each other to form a ball structure, leaving holes and space to insert the medium and rooted plants.

Planting medium

The type of planting medium to use for hanging baskets is important. A good base would ensure long term growth and flowering for our hanging baskets. As such, the medium of choice requires our careful consideration. We can begin by soaking coco-peat or moss in water before using it as an inlay for the basket.

The planting medium for growth depends on the type of plants we want to plant in the hanging baskets. Deep rooted or shallow rooted flowering plants would require a different planting medium. A good potting mix consists of compost and soil, or just light peat moss or potting soil. The next consideration is the use of nutrients to be mixed with the base medium. The pH level or acidity and alkalinity of the medium has to be adjusted using lime or Dolomite to reduce the pH in most cases.

Just in case you want to plant camellia or hydrangeas, this would require good consideration. Hydrangeas will change colour according to the planting medium. An acidic planting medium will give a pink colour, but when given an alkaline planting medium the colour will be more blue. Camellias would require acidic soil to flower.

Suitable flowers

We have seen many suitable streaming or hanging flowers. Examples are petunia, Japanese roses, and vinca that I have used recently. There are many more if we look around such as ivy, honey suckers, the rare stephanotis, and creeping Charlie vine.

Plastic baskets have the advantage of being light and easy to hang.

Feeding

Essential feeding can be done by putting slow release pellets in the medium or adding foliar sprays and other forms of fertiliser granules. We have a whole range of NPK plus FTE, or can use organic microbes incorporated in compost.

The question is the suitability of the inputs for the particular species of plants. Take the case of orchids. We cannot use mineral inputs such as pellets or sprays without knowing the harmful effects first. We need to refer to expert advice lest we damage the plant or even over-fertilise it.

Watering

We have a lot of new technology for watering. First there’s drip irrigation like the hydroponic models to save time and ensure accurate application. Auto sprinkling systems are also available and these can be pre-set on the controller. The best method is still our own application – knowing best of how much and the ideal time of watering. This will take weather conditions into consideration too, not too wet or too dry, as our weather is rather unpredictable at present.

Pruning

We need to deadhead spent flowers, trim overgrown branches, and clear dangling streams of vines for a tidy appearance. An overgrown basket will not be a beautiful specimen.

Pruning normally takes the form of cutting off the unwanted and old or weak branches. We also need to check the formation and shape of the hanging basket.

Where to display

We like to place them up on the patio and veranda outside the window or leisure places around the house so that it is easy to handle aftercare and more importantly they often catch your eye or even that of your neighbours. It is indeed a talking point when hanging baskets thrive.

I hope all of you can try to grow hanging baskets yourselves. Do send me an email if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. Happy gardening.