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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Container gardening in Ireland, including Annual Bedding Plants

A Basket case for hanging baskets

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James Kilkelly
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Joined: 30 May 2006
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Location: West of Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:14 am    Post subject: A Basket case for hanging baskets Reply with quote

A Basket case for hanging baskets

An old saying goes "don't put all your eggs in one basket", this saying definitely has some truth to it. Sure, why put eggs in a basket at all when there are so many beautiful plants to populate that (hanging) basket instead.

There are so many of these hanging basket plants such as Alyssum, Dwarf Fuchsia, Lobelia, Mimulus (Monkey flower), Coleus (flame nettle), Nemesia, Impatiens (busy lizzie), Viola (pansy), Pelargonium (bedding geranium), Verbena and Petunia. I could go on, but I may come across as a basket case to those non-gardeners out there.

Petunias and marigolds in a hanging basket, photo / pic / image.

Like the traditional window box, the hanging basket allows the gardener to add elevated colour to what may be a dull house exterior or garden. In return for this lift, you must be prepared to devote some time to religiously watering and dead-heading your baskets occupants. Dead-heading in case you were wondering is the technique of removing spent flowers. Forgetting to dead-head once in a while can be forgiven, but missing a watering or two can be the end of your baskets colour for the year.

Hanging baskets are elevated, so are more liable to drying out with winds, water evaporation will also take place rapidly in warm weather. For safety, check the baskets moisture levels daily, you will find that watering once a day (in the evening) will become the norm.

Because most hanging basket composts are peat-based, they can be very difficult to remoisten if they dry out. So, I suggest that you add a quantity of well-rotted garden compost to most of the common peat-based container composts. This wholesome homemade compost has the ability to soak up water like a sponge, releasing it, as and when needed.

If you have not turned green enough to have a store of your own compost, it will pay you to instead incorporate some store bought water-retentive granules to the compost. Commonly sold as "swell gel", these granules absorb moisture and provide a reserve of water for plants, lest you forget your watering duties.

Even though us gardeners will usually apply a liquid feed every second or third watering, many of us will also use a slow release fertiliser as well. A shake of "Osmocote" or some other slow fertiliser when filling the basket will aid steady, voluminous and floriferous growth.

Watering, feeding, and dead-heading your plants regularly will put you well on the way to the heaving hanging basket look we all strive for.

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