How to Plant up Hanging Baskets

Petunia 'Surfinia' Collection from Thompson & Morgan

Create an amazing display with little effort!
Image: Petunia ‘Surfinia’ Collection from Thompson & Morgan

Hanging baskets are an easy way to add interest, scent and colour without much effort! Simply choose your colour scheme, order some hanging basket plants and follow the three easy steps described below.

Your baskets will quickly fill out to provide a stunning display that frames your front entrance, brightens up bare walls and fences, or brings to life a tired garage or shed. Here’s our quick guide to planting up hanging baskets for maximum effect…

1. Choose the right hanging basket

BloomAround Hanging Basket from Thompson & Morgan

Baskets with side ‘gates’ allow for more plants than traditional top fill types
Image: BloomAround Hanging Basket from Thompson & Morgan

Any type of container can be used as a makeshift hanging basket – we’ve even seen old clothes used as planters! But the quickest and easiest way is to invest in an Easy Fill Hanging Basket. These are long-lasting and easy to use. Thanks to the little gates around the sides, the roots of your plants won’t be damaged when you tuck them in. For more options, see our collection of hanging basket accessories and decide which style works best for you.

2. Choose the best hanging basket plants

Top Class Colour themed collection from Thompson & Morgan

Try a themed colour collection for a stylish display
Image: Top Class Colour themed collection from Thompson & Morgan

For the best results, decide on a colour scheme before choosing a mixture of trailing and upright plants. Some people prefer a single colour theme, while others opt for a striking contrast such as yellow and blue. If you’re not confident when it comes to choosing colours, try one of our themed collections for a tried and tested combination that’s sure to impress.

Geraniums and pelargoniums are a popular choice that come in a variety of colours. Trailing varieties should be planted on the outside of your basket so they can cascade over the edge and provide interest all summer long. Pop an upright geranium in the centre to give your display some height.

Fuchsias also make great basket plants. As with geraniums, use trailing varieties on the outside and then upright varieties in the centre.

If you prefer a mixed display, browse our full selection of hanging basket plants for inspiration – begonias, petunias, lobelia and verbena all make wonderful choices.

When it comes to how many plants to plant in your hanging basket, the more the merrier – pack them in for a full display which will look beautiful cascading and tumbling from the baskets (one little plant won’t have much impact!) As a general guide 5-8 plants should fill a 12″ basket, but if they don’t have a bushy habit, up to 10-12 plants can be used to create a really show stopping display.

If you’re planting up a winter hanging basket, take a look at our annual bedding plants where you’ll find a wide selection of pansies, primulas, primroses and other winter bedding varieties.

3. Look after your hanging basket plants

Osteospermum ‘Falling Stars’ from Thompson & Morgan

These trailing African Daisies make a striking hanging basket display
Image: Osteospermum ‘Falling Stars’ from Thompson & Morgan

Feeding and Watering

The main thing to remember with hanging baskets is that the plant is completely dependent on you for water and nutrition. Plants in the ground can send their roots out to forage for water or nutrients. Those planted in pots and baskets, can’t.

Before planting, add some Incredibloom® to your compost. This will give your plants all the nutrients they need to put on a great display all season long. Tests have shown that this can help your plants produce up to 4 times as many flowers.

Once planted up, make sure your hanging baskets are kept moist – never bone dry and never sitting in puddles. We recommend a good soaking, before leaving them to drain until the soil is just moist. It’s best to water your baskets early in the morning or in the evening to reduce water loss to evaporation.

Shaping hanging basket plants

Once your plants start growing they’ll take on their own shape. If something starts to look a bit straggly, lightly prune to tidy the shape. Some people like wild baskets and some like neat; it’s entirely up to you. Just make sure that you don’t get carried away – too much pruning can also remove some of the flower buds!

To prune hanging basket plants, cut at the stem just above a leaf joint – the plant will heal over at that point. To stop your plants getting taller, nip out the growing tip at a leaf joint. Sometimes we can be a little fearful of cutting and trimming our plants in case we cause any damage, but there’s not much that can go wrong.

How to plant a hanging basket video guide

Take a look at this hanging basket video from Michael Perry, where he shows just how easy it is to start a wonderful display.

Want to plan something more adventurous? You’ll find plenty of planting inspiration along with a wealth of top tips over at our dedicated hanging basket hub page.

The next generation of climbing fuchsias

Fuchsia 'Pink Fizz' from Thompson & Morgan

Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ produces flowers from top to bottom
Image: Fuchsia ‘Pink Fizz’ from Thompson & Morgan

Climbing fuchsias combine vigorous vertical growth and exceptional flower power. Forget straggly honeysuckle, clematis, and virginia creeper – climbing fuchsias offer a classier alternative and they’re much easier to prune! Here are some of the best climbing fuchsia plants to try in your garden.

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Trouble Shooting your Geranium growing problems

Geranium 'Balcon Mix' from Thompson & Morgan
Healthy geraniums produce excellent, long-lasting flower displays
Image: Geranium ‘Balcon Mix’ from Thompson & Morgan

If you’re looking for answers to your geranium and pelargonium troubleshooting questions, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some timely tips on everything from encouraging more flowers to making your plants more compact. Geraniums are easy to grow, and some of the most common problems are easily solved with a bit of additional care. Here’s how to rejuvenate your geraniums. 

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Taking Geranium & Pelargonium Cuttings

Pelargonium cuttings are easy to take and don’t require special equipment
Image: 682A IA/Shutterstock

Taking cuttings is an easy way to get more of your favourite pelargoniums. Try propagating one of your own special plants or ask a friend if you can take a cutting from theirs, if they have a particularly lovely specimen that you’d love to get your hands on! Here’s our step-by-step guide to successfully taking your own geranium cuttings. 

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