Care of Hanging Baskets
Hanging baskets can add a fantastic spray of color to an existing landscape. Many people visit garden centers and nurseries in the spring to buy their favorite hanging baskets. With a little care, hanging baskets can last well into the fall. Here are a few tips on caring for your hanging baskets.
- Watering - Hanging baskets and containers dry out very quickly. On a warm summer day, you may have to water as much as two or three times. One way to know if your baskets are dry, is to lift them up from the bottom of the container. Dry baskets will be very light weight and should be watered at once. You may also feel the soil to determine dryness. If the potting soil feels dry one inch below the soil surface, then it must be watered. When you water, be sure to water enough so that it drains out the drainage holes. If your hanging basket has dried out too much, then you will need to immerse it in a bucket of water to resoak the soil mix.
- Fertilizing - Frequent watering flushes nutrients from the soil rather quickly. Frequent fertilizing will help replenish that which is lost. Two different fertilizers can be used, liquid or timed-release. Liquid fertilizers are applied biweekly throughout the growing season. They are fast acting. Timed-release fertilizers are applied to the soil, and are released over time. They can last up to several months, depending on the fertilizer. Before you fertilize, it is important that the soil is moist. Fertilizer is utilized by plants much better when they are turgid and not wilting. Be sure to follow all labeled instructions on fertilizer applied to hanging baskets.
- Dead-heading - It is important to remove all faded flowers after they have bloomed. This is known as dead-heading. Removal of spent blooms will promote additional flowers to form. Some plants, such as verbena, benefit from cutting them back in mid summer. This will help promote further branching and flower formation.
Visit your local garden center or nursery for ideas on hanging baskets for your home. You may get some ideas for different color combinations that may work for you.
Lynn Loughary, LLoughar@oznet.ksu.edu
County Extension Agent, Horticulture
Wyandotte County, Kansas
Kansas State University Research and Extension