Hanging Baskets for Summer
I love spending time outside in my yard, but I have to confess the middle of summer -- in Miami, Florida -- isn't my favorite time to be out there. I think some of my plants feel the same way -- especially hanging baskets.
If you have trouble keeping your hanging baskets happy through the summer, here are some suggestions based on our years of experience testing hanging baskets and container gardens in Miami, Florida. If plants can survive our summers, they should have a chance in yours, too.
Angelonia has been a tried-and-true summer garden favorite in my yard for years. I have a soft spot for the tall, billowy varieties that bring amazing vertical presence to the garden, the newer spreading types are topnotch choices for hanging baskets, especially if you like the country, cottage, or casual look.
Angelonia loves the heat -- it practically can't get enough of it. It also holds up pretty darned well to dry conditions, so while it benefits from being watered daily, it probably won't die if you miss a day.
This showstopper primarily comes in shades of purple, lavender, pink, and pure white.
Caladiums are longtime favorites for shaded gardens because they have such fabulous leaves. Usually variegated in shades of red, pink, and white, they're truly tropical plants that thrive when temperatures soar.
Plant breeders have been working hard to bring a whole new class of caladiums to us for our gardens. Newer varieties have thick, almost leathery leaves and can thrive in full, hot sun -- even here in South Florida. They do a great job of filling out a large basket, providing a big burst of color overhead.
If you live in a cold-winter climate, you can also give a try at saving them by stopping watering when temperatures cool and letting the first frost make them go dormant. Then throw the whole basket in the basement (don't water at all), and bring them back out in the spring.
Ornamental peppers bring plenty of heat to the garden with their lovely display of colorful fruits. One of my personal favorites, 'Basket of Fire' (shown here) looks like an explosion of color and texture!
Full sun and a hot spot aren't a problem for ornamental peppers, though they do like regular watering. That may mean daily if you have an especially warm spot or it's really windy. A good breeze, while it feels good to us, can suck the moisture right out of a hanging basket.
A lot of people ask me if ornamental peppers are edible. I don't recommend it. If you want to enjoy the taste of a hot pepper, grow one bred for flavor.
Trailing pentas is one of the new varieties we're excited to have in our Trial Garden. This easy-care plant (the variety name is Falling Star) has the same qualities as its upright-growing cousins (it loves heat, tolerates drought, and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds), but its graceful shape makes it ideal for filling hanging baskets.
And speaking of butterflies, I've found this variety is especially effective at attracting them. From what I've seen, the butterflies spend more time sipping nectar from my Falling Star pentas in a hanging basket than they do from the upright-growing ones in my backyard.
The most traditional plant on this list for hanging baskets, scaevola is a heat-loving groundcover that also trails beautifully when planted in hanging baskets. I've seen it both as a companion plant that spills over the sides and filling a hanging basket solo. Both are fun!
Most scaevola varieties appear in shades of blue, purple, white, and pink, but there's also a fun yellow. Scaevola will grow well mixed with any of the other varieties I mentioned here so you can really use it to get the look that you like.
Get tips to keep hanging baskets and other containers alive over summer!
See more ideas for hanging baskets.