So we have all seen and been seduced by the beautiful hanging baskets in the nurseries- you know the ones that are overflowing with bloom and color and texture that we all want at our house... I always wanted to know how people planted them and actually were able to keep them alive for the whole summer. I finally learned their sneaky tricks that will help your annual hanging baskets, or porch pots looking amazing!! After I tried these tips the last few years my hanging baskets have been so much fun!
Trick #1- When planting annuals change the soil in your container make sure to change your potting soil EVERY year for best results!, (or at least every two years) Make sure it is good quality potting soil. Clean out your pot when you switch the soil. I usually just dump the old soil in my flower bed. If you have had any problems that year with pests/fungus it is a good idea to use some diluted bleach water to sanitize your pot. DON'T FORGET to drill drainage holes in your pot if they aren't already there... the water needs to be able to drain out to avoid fungus/over-watering problems. (roots need oxygen as much as water to be able to do their job! no drainage=no oxygen) Notice drainage holes in pot below! A good drill will do the trick.
Trick #2- Add a slow release fertilizer to your potting soil. Potting soil is depleated of it's nutrients very quickly because of the ammount of plants you are craming into the pot. You want a big show from your flowers so adding a slow release such as Osmocote REALLY helps your plants a lot! Follow label directions to know how much to add for the size of the pot.
Trick #3- Choose the right plants for the right location... Make sure all your plants are the correct light requirement for the area you plan to place your container. Make sure the plant also does well in your zone (I am amazed at how many nurseries sell plants that will die in my zone) Some of my full sun favorites for hanging baskets are- Wave Petunias, Million Bells, Bacopa, Sweet potato vine, and Lobelia. Ask your local nursery-man/woman for help choosing good plants for your zone.
Trick #4- Water often if your plant is in full sun! I watered mine once a day in the full sun, in the hottest part of the summer I found they sometimes needed twice a day. I know it sounds crazy- but hey this is Utah I'm talking about. Check if it needs water by putting your finger 1" into the soil to see if it is wet at root level. If it is wet wait a day, if not it's time to water again.
Trick #5 - Water with Miracle grow or similar fertilizer as often as label directs- (usually every 7-10 days) They really do need a lot of fertilizer for maximum performance! Believe me it will be worth all the time you put into it to enjoy the beauty you have created!
Please don't attempt to plant your pots till after the last freeze date in your zone. In Utah it is May 5th... California; March 5th... find out the last freeze date and plant accordingly.I hope you enjoy your beautiful hanging baskets as much as I do!