How to Keep Your Hanging Baskets Looking Great All Summer
Is there anything more picturesque than a sunny patio filled with vibrant canopies of trailing blooms, spilling out from hanging baskets like a waterfall of rainbows? Summer annual flowers have certainly gained a reputation for having breathtaking color and impressive growth, but to keep up with their accelerated growth pattern, a little extra care is needed. Our hot Houston sunshine provides our hanging baskets with all the light they need, but it can also end up drying out the soil a bit quicker— especially with thirsty annuals that soak up water like a sponge. Follow these guidelines on the basics of summer care for hanging baskets, so you can make sure your flowers are happy and well-fed.
Hanging baskets need a ton of water in the summer— honestly, you’ll probably want to give them a good watering almost every day, especially if it hasn’t been raining much. That being said, you don’t want to overdo it, and making sure your soil has good drainage is a must. When roots sit in soggy, waterlogged soil, this can lead to root rot, which will totally terrorize your plants. To make sure your soil stays moist, but not too moist, opt for a basket with drainage holes on the bottom, or one made out of porous material in a wire frame, like coconut fiber.
If the plants in your hanging baskets aren’t growing as fast, or if they’re looking a bit on the pale side, chances are they need a little nutrient boost. Just like a gaggle of unruly teenage boys, annual flowers need a surprising amount of food to keep up with their crazy growth spurts and boundless energy. Since we need to water annuals so frequently, that can wash away a lot of the vitamins and minerals in the soil, so they need to be replenished more frequently with fertilizers.
Picking off the old spent blooms from flowering plants can often encourage them to develop new fresh blossoms afterward, but not all annuals need this. Some are self-cleaning and can deal with them on their own. Popular hanging basket flowers that don’t require deadheading include:
- Supertunia® Petunias
Some flowers require deadheading to promote better growth, whereas others just benefit from the occasional tidy-up so they aren’t covered in old wilted blossoms. Either way, if you’ve got any of these flowers in your baskets, they’ll benefit from some occasional pruning:
- Wave Petunias
Most spent blooms can be easily removed by pinching the base of the flower with your thumb and forefinger and simply popping it off. However, some flowers like bougainvillea, which have thicker stems may need to be trimmed with a small set of garden shears.
Aside from the basics of watering, fertilizing and trimming back spent blooms, there are a couple of other things you can do to keep your baskets looking as fresh and fancy as Beyoncé at the Met Gala:
Keep more delicate hanging baskets away from the wind. It can get pretty windy here in Houston, and while hardier blossoms in the breeze can look like Queen Bey in front of a wind machine, more soft-petaled flowers like petunias will end up looking more haggard than Nick Nolte’s mugshot. Try to hang your baskets near a fence or wall, which will help block out some of the wind.
Be on the lookout for over-sunned flowers. While most annuals love lots of sun, sometimes direct sun can be too much of a good thing. If your hanging planters are showing signs of scorching, try moving them to an area with dappled shade.
If you’re assembling your own basket, choose compatible plants. Some annuals are pretty aggressive growers and will overtake a basket if planted next to more slow-growing unassertive types, so do a little background research on your chosen flowers before you force them to become roommates.
Keep an eye out for pests. Aphids can really do a number on our hanging baskets, so if you spot any signs of aphid infestation, release live ladybugs that will gobble up the aphid
Sunny patios lined with vivid, colorful hanging baskets are one of the hallmarks of summer. Nothing brightens up the mood like the vibrant, natural beauty of summer flowers. Keeping them looking picture perfect really isn’t too difficult (after all, they’re a lot less high-maintenance than Beyoncé). Visit us at our location in Houston to see our gorgeous collection of hanging baskets, and all the supplies you’ll need to keep them looking fabulous.