A Hanging Basket Can Be for Life, Not Just Summer
Sure, a stuffed-out, summer-flowering hanging basket in full flow is a joy when hanging from a secure bracket on a well-maintained fence. But once autumn arrives, the plants fade and are consigned to the compost bin, what happens then? Of course, you can replace it with a winter basket. And that will last until spring, then begin to look a little tatty before summer bursts back on the scene. Or...you can plant up one basket to last the whole year round.
A good-sized basket is best. The compost doesn’t dry out as quickly and you can get more in there! Then a little bit of planning and planting and a 12-month-of-the-year display is possible:
Spring is one of the easiest seasons to sort with primroses and daffodils taking centre stage. Go for dainty, little daffodils so that they don’t overpower your basket. The actual bulbs are planted in November and are easily popped into any space in your basket. Or pick up plants in flower in spring so that you know exactly what they are going to look like. February Gold is a little beauty and Minnow a firm favourite. Primroses come in lots of different colours, to suit any colour scheme you may be sticking to. Both plants can be left in the basket all year round. And sow a few seeds of nasturtiums into the compost. These will quietly grow and flower in summer.
My word, there is a seemingly endless choice of summer flowering plants. Buy them early and grow them on a bit - it’s the most economical way to produce a basket. Look for trailing plants to cover the sides and extend down from your basket. Fuchsia Southern Belle is a popular choice as are petunias and lobelia. All are easy to grow. They will flower until the first frost, can be carefully pulled out and replaced the following year. But the show isn’t over because other plants will take over the display.
I’m not averse to popping a couple of small shrubs into a basket to keep things looking great in autumn. Hebes are adaptable and tolerant of the squashed conditions in a basket, with a variety called Baby Marie being a charmer, whilst the pure white blooms of Hebe Subalpina calm many a hot basket plan down a tad. Hebes are tough and will live for years. Even in a basket.
It’s not as tricky as you first think, with Hellebores mopping up late winter. And I recently saw superb baskets (winter only) made up of snowdrops. They looked beautiful and, when combined with hellebores, pansies and bellis perennis, look amazing. A true blast of winter blooms when all around is cold and dull.
With this all-year basket the same care tips apply:
- Water when dry - check daily as there are a lot of roots crammed into a relatively small space.
- Nip out flowers as they fade to encourage new blooms to appear.
- Feed regularly - all those roots devour all available nutrients pretty quickly.
And that is your all year-round basket…guaranteed to turn heads. Give it a try.