Hanging Baskets

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Container Gardening
Hanging Baskets

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Pots & Planters

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Container Intro
Container Rules and Overview
Color and Design
Potting and Repotting
Hanging Baskets
Planting Hanging Bags
Vegetables in Containers
Layering Bulbs and Plants
Vines and Roses in Containers

Planted on all sides, this kind of container can create a lush ball of flowers or foliage, or keep vegetables above the reach of many garden pests.

Traditionally, wire mesh baskets are lined with sphagnum moss and filled with potting soil. Today you can also use drop-in liners available from nurseries, garden centers, and mail-order garden businesses. You'll find them in both plastic-lined polyester (which cuts down on moisture loss) and such natural materials as cocoa fiber. Or you can make a liner yourself from burlap (to hold the soil in place) or other materials - one OGGer even uses disposable diapers for liners!   

Here's how to plant moss lined baskets, followed with how to plant a lined one. 

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Planting a Basket lined with Moss.

Select a wire basket 12 inches or more in diameter, use lightweight potting mix, and plant cell-pack-size seedlings.

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Step 1: 

Push soaking-wet green sphagnum moss through the basket mesh from the inside to make a lining that's 1 inch thick, extending 1 inch above the basket rim. (If you wish, you can add a teaspoon of soil polymer at the bottom of the basket to help retain moisture near roots.)

Step 2: 

Starting from the bottom, poke planting holes 2 to 6 inches apart in the moss. Then insert cell-pack-size plants in the basket's bottom tier, pushing roots through from outside while gently pulling from inside. Add enough soil to cover the plant roots and gently tamp it down.

Step 3: 

Continue planting and adding soil in tiers, filling in the top of the basket with soil last and adding 1 or more plants on top, depending on the size of the basket. Water gently until it drains out the bottom.

Planting a Basket with a Liner

To assemble a hanging basket, follow the steps outlined here. For baskets with trailing flowers (like petunias), skip Steps 3 and 6, and use only six plants.

Step 1:

Pad the basket's rim with vinyl tubing to prevent trailing stems from breaking. To do this, cut tubing into lengths to fit between the spaces for the hangers. Slit the tubing lengthwise with scissors, then wrap it around the rim.

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Step 5:

Thoroughly soak the plants by submerging the pots in water until all air bubbles disappear. This makes them more pliable for planting and helps them get established more quickly.

Step 2:

Place a wood-fiber liner in the basket with the dark side facing out. Fold any excess liner material over the rim. Then, place the water saucer inside the basket. Don't use a saucer for shade baskets in damp climates, since it may keep the basket too wet.

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Step 6:

Insert plants through slits in the liner. Remove plants from containers, holding them by the root ball to protect the stems. Wrap root balls in small plastic bags to make insertion easier from outside the basket. From inside, pull root balls through so they rest on top of the soil. Remove the bag and anchor the root ball with a handful of soil.

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Step 3:

Mark the liner for side-planting of short-trailing plants. To designate planting positions, use a felt-tip pen to mark seven dots evenly spaced around the basket about 3 inches from the rim. Cut a cross-shaped slit in the liner about 2 inches by 2 inches at each dot.

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Step 7:

Next, add soil to within an inch of the rim. Place one plant in the center, and then space the other seven around it, an inch or so from the edge. Firm the soil around the base of each plant. Sprinkle one tablespoon of slow-release fertilizer beads over the soil.

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Step 4:

Prepare 20 quarts of hanging-basket soil mix and moisten it with 4 quarts of water. Add soil mix to the basket, patting it down firmly but gently until it reaches 3 inches below the rim.

Step 8:

Attach hangers to the rim and hang the basket outside any time after your region's frost-free date. In hot, dry weather, water it immediately and hang in the shade for a few days. In cool, damp weather, wait until it warms up before watering your basket thoroughly. Firm the soil around the roots of plants on the top layer after the first watering.

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