Hanging Baskets Ideas
By Justin Hancock
AngeloniaLovely heat- and drought-tolerant angelonia is a lovely idea for hanging baskets; available in shades of purple, pink, and white, the plant shows off spikes of flowers that attract bees and butterflies. It loves sunny spots. Go with one variety or mix several together -- the colors coordinate beautifully.
Angelonia Idea: Look for spreading varieties of angelonia to fill your basket; older types have a tall, upright habit that you can’t enjoy as well from below.
BegoniaOne of the easiest plants around, begonia is a no-fail pick for beginners, forgetful gardeners, or folks who are too busy to keep most other plants alive. Most of the common types offer flowers in shades of pink, red, or white; some have double flowers or bronze-flushed foliage.
Bolivian BegoniaA new twist on a traditional favorite, Bolivian begonias have a decidedly different look -- their narrow leaves look almost lacy and their pendulous flowers dance like little butterflies. These types of begonias are fantastic ideas for hanging baskets so you can enjoy their unique flowers from below. Most types bloom in shades of orange, red, and pink.
Tuberous BegoniaPerhaps the queen of begonias, the tuberous varieties (so-called because they grow from bulb-like tubers) show off large, ruffled, rose-like flowers in a wide range of colors from warm reds, oranges, and yellows to cool pinks. Unlike other begonias, these beauties prefer cooler temperatures and like a little shade in the afternoon. They’re an absolutely lovely idea for hanging baskets.
Tuberous Begonia Idea: Look for varieties that have fragrant flowers for extra interest!
ColeusCan’t figure out your sun or shade situation? Coleus may be for you! Varieties of this leafy wonder thrive in both sunny and shaded spots. Just keep it watered well and enjoy. Look for varieties that have purple, pink, red, orange, chartreuse, or white variegation.
Coleus Idea: Look for trailing coleus varieties for your hanging basket. They’ll drape down, covering the basket with color.
PetuniaPetunias are longtime favorites for hanging baskets. They offer flowers in just about every shade of the rainbow, and if watered and fertilized regularly, produce so many flowers you can hardly see their leaves.
Petunia Idea: Use white or light-colored petunias if you want them to be visible in the evening or under moonlight/starlight. Dark flowers fade away when the sun goes down, but lighter shades shimmer and almost seem to glow.
Petunia and Sweet Potato VineBig petunia varieties are natural partner for sweet potato vine in large hanging baskets. The petunias provide plenty of blooms and sweet potato vine offers color from its elegant foliage. Make a statement with a green-edged petunia such as Pretty much Picasso and a chartreuse sweet potato vine.
Sweet Potato Vine Idea: Look for compact varieties for your basket so they don’t overtake your combinations.
Calibrachoa and Sweet Potato VineCalibrachoa, a petunia relative that has smaller, but even more flowers, is a perfect idea for hanging baskets. Calibrachoa comes in just about every color, so you’re sure to find a variety to suit your look. It mixes well with compact varieties of sweet potato vine; we love the look of this basket, which features hot-pink and pale-yellow calibrachoas paired with a sweet potato vine that has rich purple foliage.
Calibrachoa and Sweet Potato Vine and LobeliaLush lobelia is a welcome addition to just about any hanging basket. It produces tiny flowers, but lots of them, almost creating a mist of color. One of the few flowers available in true blue, lobelia looks good with just about everything you plant it with. In this case, we think it’s stunning with creamy calibrachoa and chartreuse sweet potato vine.
Lobelia Idea: Look for heat-tolerant lobelia varieties to go the distance. Old-fashioned varieties fizzle out once summer heat arrives.
Calibrachoa and Petunia and LobeliaCalibrachoa and petunia are fun plants to pair together. They both offer trumpet-shaped flowers, but the size difference adds a fun textural element to your baskets. Create even more contrast by adding lobelia, an airy filler-type flower that has sprays of blue, purple, or white flowers.
LobeliaLobelia is a lovely filler for other flowers, but don’t overlook the impact of this beauty on its own. One way to plant it is to make a statement with just one variety, such as a cobalt-blue selection (try that if you have a yellow house). Or another idea is to mix different colors, such as we did here.
Calibrachoa and VerbenaTrailing verbena is an old-school choice for hanging baskets -- and it’s still a good one. Like petunia, it’s available in a wide range of both hot and cool colors. Make hanging-basket magic by pairing it with a contrasting calibrachoa. Here, the hot mixture of orange calibrachoa and red verbena creates a bold, eye-catching look.
VerbenaVerbena spills and trails over the edges of hanging baskets, helping hide the plastic or coconut fiber with a lovely cloak of color. It’s delightfully easy to grow, able to take hot spots without skipping a beat. Add lots of interest to your baskets by mixing varieties. Here, we love the purple/pink/white mix -- it adds a cool, fresh feel to those hot summer days.
Bidens and Lantana and Calibrachoa and PetuniaHot colors catch and hold attention. Embrace that palette with a fun combo of golden-yellow bidens, rich orange calibrachoa, hot pink petunia, and rosy lantana. These vigorous varieties don’t mind summer heat and are also excellent butterfly and hummingbird attractors.
Hanging Basket Care Tips
The toughest thing about keeping hanging baskets looking healthy is watering. In full sun, especially if they're exposed to wind, the baskets can dry out quickly -- so daily watering may be necessary. Fertilizing once or twice a month with a general-purpose product helps produce lots of blooms; you can also use a slow-release fertilizer in spring that gradually releases nutrients over the course of several months.