Time to Hang Those Hanging Baskets

May is upon us and we are heading straight for sunnier and warmer days. The middle of May is the best time to get your baskets out and on display. That said, the best time to prepare and plant your baskets is the end of March. Assuming you are lucky enough to have your own greenhouse, then hanging baskets can be prepared as early as St Patricks day and left in the warmth of a greenhouse to develop and grow. Come the middle of May and these baskets will be exploding with lush foliage and ready to pop buds

There is a number of things to consider before hanging your baskets:

Position of your Baskets

Really, Hanging baskets need full sun to be a success. Otherwise a dull shady spot will only offer a lack lustre floral display that would hardly be worth all the watering. Therefore a south or south east facing wall is most ideal. If your wall is north facing you don’t have to give up all hope but your choice of plants would be limited.
Here is a selection of plants suited to a north facing wall:

  • Hellebores
  • Primroses
  • Violets
  • Dicentra
  • Campanula
  • Ferns
  • Ivies
  • Hosta
  • Epimedium
  • Ajuga
  • Heuchrea

What you can see from this list is that a north facing hanging basket is more about foliage than flower. The plants above offer a range of leave shapes and colours which can really make for an interesting display
Baskets can of course be positioned anywhere; place by either side of an entrance, or dot a number of baskets along a wall. What every you do, you should consider symmetry and repetition to achieve the best results. Hanging baskets should mirror each other for the greatest impact

Maintenance of your Baskets

Watering and feeding must be done on a regular basis, therefore this should be considered before hanging your baskets. The task of watering can be an onerous task and because I should be done every day in the summer months we need to make the task as easy as possible.
Here are some tips tp make watering your baskets easier:
Use water storing crystals: These are gel like balls are added to compost at time of planting and can absorb many times their own weight in water reduces the frequency of watering required
Watering globes: These handy inventions come under many names but are basically an upturned plastic bottle placed into the hanging basket. These can be filled with water and will slowly release the water to the plants, again reducing the frequency of watering required
Watering retaining mats: Some baskets come with moss lining, but the water retaining mats should be placed under the compost and again absorb water
Using plastic instead of the moss liners: Moss liners are very prone to allowing all the water you use to irrigate your baskets to flow straight out the bottom. If you instead use plastic you can avoid this from happening
Use the handy Hi-low. This tool allows you lower and raise your baskets with ease when required. This means that you can easily water them with the need for ladders, pogo sticks or slits!

If you don’t have a hi-low: you should invest in a watering wand. These are simple hose extensions that allow you to reach up and water at a height