Hanging baskets can be a wonderful way to make the most of your space. Whether you hang them in a polytunnel or greenhouse, on a wall or fence, or on the side of your home or another structure in your garden, they look great, and can even be productive too.
Hanging Baskets With Edible Produce
Hanging baskets can be a wonderful additional growing space for an annual fruit and vegetable garden. You might be surprised by how many edible crops work very well in a hanging container. Some things that you should consider growing in your hanging baskets include:
- Trailing tomatoes.
- Small chilli pepper plants.
- Small bell peppers.
- Trailing beans.
- Smaller squash and zucchini.
- Mixed salad leaves.
Remember, there are also a wide range of edible flowers that you can grow in hanging baskets, such as pansies and nasturtiums. These can allow you to create summer displays which are ornamental as well as productive.
Hanging a basket from the crop bars in your polytunnel could give you an additional growing space and increase the yield that you are able to achieve from the space available.
Beyond annual crops, you might also consider adding hanging baskets, inside a polytunnel or outdoors, which contain perennial edibles. Strawberries are the most common and obvious example, but you might also grow a wide range of other edible perennials. Perennial alliums (onion family plants) for example, and some other leafy greens.
Also, culinary herbs such as thyme, oregano, marjoram etc… perennial Mediterranean herbs can work well in a hanging basket and won’t require quite as much care when it comes to watering since they thrive in the free-draining conditions that hanging baskets often provide.
Hanging Baskets With Summer Bedding Plants
If you are aiming for hanging baskets which provide a splash of colour over the summer, there are of course a wide range of bedding plants to choose from.
There are the obvious choices like pansies, petunias, begonias etc… but there are many other options and you can certainly think outside the box and choose plants for a display that reflects your personality, preferences and style.
Hanging Baskets For the Winter Months
Remember that hanging baskets can work for the winter months too – as long as you choose the right plants.
Once summer crops have been harvested or summer displays are done, you can also choose plants for winter bedding which will bring colour and cheer to your garden right through to the spring.
Pansies, Viola, Primula, Hellebores and Erica are just some of the plants to consider for winter hanging baskets alongside evergreen foliage plants.
Tips for Hanging Basket Success
No matter what you choose to grow in your hanging baskets, there are a number of important things to bear in mind. Here are some tips for hanging basket success:
- Choose the right size of basket or hanging container for your needs. (Certain plants will, of course, require more space and depth of growing medium for their roots than others.)
- Remember, you do not necessarily have to buy hanging baskets. You can also use a number of different items/ materials to make your own hanging baskets and containers.
- If you are using a basket that requires a liner – consider sustainable options that aid in water retention, such as moss from your property, mulches, or coconut coir.
- Choose the right growing medium for your hanging baskets. For most edible plants, one rich in organic matter, with plenty of home-made compost is ideal. Remember – plants need nutrition, and you need to ensure that there is a steady supply of the nutrients they need over their growing season. A mix high in organic matter will help to retain water too.
- Hanging baskets will, of course, dry out more quickly. So it is important that you water often and well, especially during hotter and sunnier times of the year. This is especially important if you are growing edible crops with high water needs.
- Even with a nutrient rich growing medium, you will still need to add fertility over time. Mulch the surface of your hanging basket where there is space, and use liquid fertilizers to give plants a boost.
- Prune, pinch off growing tips and deadhead over the season as plants grow, to encourage plants to bush out and produce more blooms as the year progresses.
Tips for Planting Your Hanging Basket
- When planting, think about the requirements of the specific plants you have chosen. Plant densely, but don’t overdo it or there may not be enough water and nutrients to go around.
- Think about where the hanging basket will be located (in sun, or shade, for example) and choose plants that can cope well with that setting. (Ans which are suitable for your climate/ area.)
- Group like-plants (ones that like a similar growing environment) together in the same basket. Don’t include plants that need plenty of water with those that like a more arid environment, for example.
The above may have inspired you to work out your own plants for hanging baskets or other hanging containers. As you can tell, there are many options to consider and you certainly do not have to be limited in the plants that you grow in this way.
As long as you choose the right strategies and plant correctly, you should find that you are able to create hanging baskets which really enhance your space throughout the year.
Share your own hanging basket ideas or give us more inspiration by sharing your own examples with us using the links below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.