verve_shutterstock_lifestyle_2016_65Take gardening to new heights

Hanging baskets are an easy and cost-effective way to brighten your outdoors. They add a seasonal pop of colour that works well hung in your front garden to welcome guests, in your backyard and even from a suitable structure.

It doesn’t matter how little space you have to play with, and you can use all kinds of plants, including herbs and fruit as well as flowers, creating interesting and colourful displays throughout the year. Coordinate them with beds and borders for a matching look or give them their own distinctive style for gardening glory at raised heights.

Hanging baskets come in a wide range of different styles and materials. Classic options include plastic-coated wire or wicker baskets, but increasingly popular are solid-sided baskets in terracotta, ceramic and even polished steel, that have built-in water reservoirs and are ideal for hot, exposed conditions.

Lining your basket will help keep moisture in and stop compost from falling out. The traditional lining material is sphagnum moss, which is farmed specially for this purpose (so don’t collect it from the wild). Many gardeners prefer to use other materials such as coco fibre. Alternatively there are purpose-made options such as thick, felt-like liners made from recycled fibres and solid liners which, with care, should last for several seasons. If you use a solid liner, make sure it’s deep enough for your chosen basket.

Some of our hanging baskets come pre-lined so, depending on the material, you simply need to puncture a few holes in the bottom for drainage.

You can use almost any small plant for a hanging basket, as long as it doesn’t outgrow its container.

Summer bedding plants

These are the most popular plants for hanging baskets – think petuniasgeraniums, calibrachoa and trailing fuchsias, verbena and lobelia.

Young small shrubs

You can plant evergreen shrubs likes hebes in hanging baskets to give a splash of colour throughout the winter, and then replant them in pots for the garden in spring.


The trailing varieties are perfect for hanging baskets.


Like tomatoes, these are an interesting (and edible) addition to your hanging garden. And they are also really easy to grow.


Keep herbs such as basilrosemary and thyme handy for cooking, by hanging them near your kitchen door.

Step 1

Place a liner in your basket (if it doesn’t have one already) and half-fill it with compost. A specialist moisture-retaining compost is best.

Then add water-saving gel and slow-release plant food to help keep your plants moist and nourished throughout the season.

Step 2

Around the sides of your basket, gently push the roots of trailing plants through the hanging basket liner, and firm them into the compost.

Do this all the way round the outside of the basket, and add a little more compost.

Step 3

Arrange the remaining plants in the top of the basket: one in the middle and the rest around the edge.

Firm more compost around the root balls, keeping the final level a few centimetres (cm) below the top of the basket to allow room for watering.

Then water your plants well.

Step 4

Select your spot for hanging. We recommend hanging your basket well above head height to avoid accidents and far enough away from the wall to avoid damage in windy weather.

To keep your hanging basket looking good, it’ll need regular watering and feeding.


Even with the help of water-retaining gel, hanging baskets dry out very quickly. Try to water them at least daily, if not twice a day during the height of summer.


Feeding is equally important. As the average planter or basket contains only a small amount of compost compared with the amount of plant growth it supports, the nutrients will quickly become depleted. Slow-release plant food comes in granules, sticks and nuggets that you can easily push into the compost.

Supplement this with regular liquid feeds, which will give your plants an instant boost. And as with all annuals and perennials, regular deadheading will make your plants flower for longer – so aim to do this every week.