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Plant a Hanging Flower Basket in 5 Easy Steps

Add color to nearly any space by designing and planting hanging flower baskets brimming with gorgeous blooms and foliage.

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Pwsupertunia Vista Jazzberry BasketCourtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners.com
Supertunia Vista Jazzberry basket

How to Create a Hanging Flower Basket

To display a lot of color in a small space, look up. Hanging baskets can expand your garden and add vertical interest to decks, patios and porches. Building your own hanging flower baskets is fun and offers more options, says Brooke Edmunds, a community horticulturist with Oregon State University.

Here’s how to make your own showstopping hanging flower baskets from start to finish!

Discover easy plants you can grow in containers.

hanging planters, mother's day garden giftsVia Amazon.com

1. Choose Your Hanging Basket Container

Hanging baskets and containers come in many sizes and styles. Select a basket material that’s lightweight, such as wire, plastic, wicker or peat.

“You can get creative and reuse something, too,” says Brooke. Metal watering cans, colanders and other containers can also work if they have drainage holes or if you add them yourself. Clean out your clutter with 28 recycled garden ideas.

When picking the container size, keep in mind what you plan on growing. A basket that’s too small for your plants requires more watering and pruning. For larger plants with deep root systems, a bigger basket offers more depth and soil surface. Baskets with open sides will allow you to plant along the sides.

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Red and purple flowers are perfectly contained in wire hanging baskets with coco liners.Steffen Hauser/botanikfoto/Alamy Stock Photo
Use a liner in baskets to keep soil from leaking out

2. Add a Hanging Basket Liner

Brooke suggests burlap to hold in soil. Plastic containers with drainage trays do the trick, too. “You can also use sphagnum moss, which comes in sheets, although it can sometimes get a bit messy,” says Brooke.

Soak your moss in water before packing it into the basket, she suggests. Another option is Supamoss, made of recycled cotton fibers attached to thin plastic with small holes to let water drain.

For larger baskets, you can overlap two rectangular liners, which slow the water seeping out of the basket while keeping soil from washing out.

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hanging flower basket potting soilVia Amazon.com

3. Select Potting Soil

Never fill hanging baskets with soil from your garden, warns Brooke. “It’s heavy and you risk potentially bringing pests or a disease into your hanging basket,” she says. Be sure to use good quality, lightweight potting soil, she advises. Can you reuse potting soil in planters?

Leave an inch of space between the soil and the top of the container to allow room for watering. Check the label instructions on when to add slow-release fertilizer. Find the best potting soil for every type of plant.

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Double Impatiens Sweet Potato Vine Coleus Hanging BasketCourtesy of Proven Winners - www.provenwinners.com
Combine double impatiens, sweet potato vine and coleus for a colorful display.

4. Pick Flowers for Your Hanging Basket

Most hanging baskets sport a thriller, a filler and a spiller: a taller plant in the middle such as a geranium, clumps of plants such as coleus and marigolds, and trailing plants such as petunias.

Check how big your plants will get before choosing how many to put in your basket, says Brooke. If you use too many, they won’t thrive, and too few will look sparse. Also pay attention to how much light the basket will get.

She says, “I want to make sure the plants are going to survive and look great. Fuchsias are a good choice for shade and petunias or million bells can handle more sun, and they fill out baskets very well.”

Add plants with pretty foliage, such as noninvasive dwarf ornamental grasses and ornamental sweet potatoes, she says.

Grow potted flowers and plants that attract hummingbirds.

Watering Petunia in Hanging Flower Basket Private HomeGarysFRP/Getty Images

5. Water Your Hanging Flower Basket

Give your completed basket an initial soaking, then water it regularly for gorgeous blooms all growing season. Keep in mind that small containers dry out more quickly than garden beds, especially in hot weather.

Next, experienced gardeners share their best container garden ideas.

Wendy Helfenbaum
Wendy Helfenbaum is a freelance journalist and urban gardener in Zone 5 who enjoys the flexibility of container gardening. Follow her on Twitter: @WendyHelfenbaum