Hanging baskets and container gardens are an easy way to add instant bright color to your yard. Many people find their baskets look amazing until early-to mid-summer, where they start to peter out. Here is an easy way to keep your baskets looking amazing all season long.

Water

Watering is one of the hardest things to do for basket or container gardening. Too much water leads to root rot, while too little will leave the plant dehydrated. In both these cases, the plant will wilt and die. Plants in baskets need to be watered more frequently than gardens. There are two reasons for this:

1) Small pots dry out faster in the heat.
2) Plants have limited root space in pots and uptake water much faster.

Here are a few tips to help with watering:

  • DO make sure baskets have proper drainage. All hanging baskets purchased from our garden centre have great drainage.
  • DO make sure containers or pots that you plant into have drainage holes.
  • DON’ T water on a schedule. While it’s great to check your baskets daily, you may not need to water each plant daily; some may need water twice a day. Keep in mind that while one plant needs water, it does not mean that they all do.  Many factors, including pot and plant size, will determine how fast a basket or planter dries out.
  • DO check pots individually. As a good rule of thumb, soil color is a great indicator of whether a basket needs water or not. Dry soil generally is the color of a brown paper bag, wet soil is dark brown to black in color. Only water when the soil is dry.
    • Another great tip for hanging baskets: feel the weight of the basket. If the basket is very light it needs water; if it is heavy it does not.
  • DON’ T give a cup a day. DO water thoroughly. Plants will do much better with a deep watering rather than a frequent light watering. It is best to water until water starts to come out the bottom drainage hole. This will encourage roots to grow to the bottom of the pot, which means a healthier plant. It also means you won’t have to water as frequently.
    • Has your plant gotten too dry? If the soil has seemed to “shrink”, where there is space in between the soil and pot, it has gotten too dry, and you need to re-hydrate the soil. The simplest way is to soak the baskets 3 times.
      • Water the basket to where the water runs out the bottom.
      • Wait 30 minutes, water again until the water runs through.
        • Wait another 30 minutes. Your soil is now re-hydrated. Water once more till the water runs through again; this third watering is actually where the roots of the plant will uptake water.

FERTILIZATION

Second to watering, fertilizer is the most important thing to keep your baskets looking great all season. Fertilization is key, as plants need a lot of nutrients in order to sustain large growth and blooms. Each time you water, the nutrients that the plant has not already used are leeched out of the soil. By consistently feeding, you are ensuring that your plants maintain all the nutrition necessary to grow large and produce blooms.We recommend feeding your baskets either weekly or bi-weekly with a water-soluble fertilizer. If you want massive amounts of blooms, we recommend our Power Bloom fertilizer. One of our secrets to our large hanging baskets is a consistent fertilizer program.

TIP: We were able to water 2 of our 11″ hanging baskets with one watering can. One 12″ hanging basket required another full watering can. If plants are very dry, it would take one watering can per 11″ basket, and 2 watering cans for one 12″ basket.

HAIRCUTS

Sometimes, even if you are doing everything correctly, baskets and containers can look stretched. Giving baskets and plants a mid-summer trim will help keep them full and robust. Get a sharp pair of scissors and trim one or two inches all around the basket. You will lose some flower heads at this time, but the pay-off will be worth the bloom loss. With fertilizer, you will begin to see blooms again in as little as few days to a week or two.

By fertilizing and watering properly you will have the best baskets and containers on the block!