Keeping Your Hanging Baskets Blooming All Summer Long
Many of us have purchased gorgeous hanging baskets and are enjoying the colors of summer. But as the days get hotter and the initial blooms starte to fade it is critical that we do our part to continue to support the health of our beautiful hanging baskets.
Hanging baskets dry out very quickly. On a warm summer day you may have to water as much as two times a day. One way to know if your baskets are dry is to lift them up from the bottom of the container. Dry baskets will be very light and should be watered at once. The soil may shrink and allow the water to quickly run out of the drain hole, fooling you into thinking its thoroughly watered when, in fact the water is bypassing the roots. Make sure the basket becomes heavy with water, about 7 to 9 lbs. Water your basket once so that water drains from the bottom of the pot, then come back and water it again 5 or 10 minutes later or if very dry immerse it in a bucket of water to resoak the soil mix.
Keep in mind that growers have fertilized the baskets frequently when growing them in the greenhouse. Frequent watering flushes nutrients from the soil rather quickly. Frequent fertilizing will help replenish that which is lost. We recommend applying a time-release fertilizer at purchase, then again mid summer in addition to once weekly applications of a liquid fertilizer. Time release fertilizers such as Osmocote or Miracle Gro shake and feed are readily available. The time release fertilizer will release slowly over time. Be sure your plant is well watered before you apply liquid fertilizer, applying fertilizer to a dry plant can burn the root system.
Transplanting in a larger basket
If you do not want to water your hanging basket so frequently, consider transplanting your hanging basket to a larger container and adding soil moist granules or angel moss marbles to the soil. Some soil mixes already contain soil moist in the mixes or you can add it separately to your containers. To easily repot your hanging basket cut a hole in the bottom of a plastic grocery bag and slip it up over the pot of flowers holding the stems upward so you can remove the root ball and place it in the larger container. The grocery bag allows you to fill in the new container with soil around the old root ball.
It is important to remove all faded flowers after they have bloomed. Removal of spent blooms promotes additional flowers to form. Don't be afraid to pinch the end of leggy stems, it will encourage side shoots to branch out and make the plant bushier.
Water your plants thoroughly before you leave and place them on the ground in a shaded area. You may also place them in a kiddie pool with a few inches of water in the bottom. You may need to remove outside saucers from the bottom of the pot so the plant can drink from the bottom.
Make sure you put the right basket in the right place with advice from our staff and you should enjoy your basket all season long!
We hope to see you soon at Hilltop Gardens where we still have plenty of colorful hanging baskets and all of products you will need to have the envy of the neighborhood. We will be happy to help you with any of your questions and all of your gardening needs.