Keep Your Flower Baskets Beautiful All Summer Long!
Hanging flower baskets and planters can be a beautiful and satisfying addition to your color garden. However, hanging basket depends completely on you to give them what they need to grow and to stay healthy.
Location, Location, Location!
Be sure to hang your baskets in the right location. For example, fuchsias and begonias like shade or partial shade. Petunias and geraniums flourish in full sun. Impatiens prefer a cool, partially sunlit location. Also ensure that your baskets are protected from strong winds.
Water and Food – The Source of Life
Having a regular watering schedule is important to the health of your baskets. It is best to water at least once a day during most of the growing season, and perhaps twice during the hottest days. To check the moisture level in your hanging pots, just stick your finger in the soil in the middle of the pot. If the soil feels moist, wait to water until the soil feels dry. Allowing your pots to dry out between waterings will keep them free from root rot. If, however, the soil feels dry, add enough water wet all the soil and drip out of the bottom of the basket.
To keep your basket blooming all summer you should feed them with a flowering plant fertilizer designed to be mixed with water at least once a week. Follow the label directions carefully and use the directions for container plants. Do not make the solution stronger than the label recommends or you may burn the roots of your plants. Adding a granular slow-release fertilizer formulated for flowering plants should feed the basket for about three months. Check out our supply of top notch fertilizers at the Whistle Stop.
Trim and Tidy
Keep dead flowers plucked off to increase your blooms. Trim off straggly and broken ends and generally keep the plant full and bushy, not “long and leggy." We recommend giving your pot a good “hair cut” at least a couple times during the growing season. If you are going on vacation for a week or two, it is a great time to trim baskets back about six inches. In a couple of weeks you will have a bushy plant with renewed flowering. This works very with plants like petunias, impatiens, alyssum, lobelia and calibrachoa. Warning - not every plant can be trimmed back drastically to renew it. Don’t cut back begonias and fuchsias. Instead, just dead head and pinch off the seed pods of these flowers. For some of the new and unusual plants in hanging baskets, ask the Whistle Stop staff if they can be trimmed back for renewal.
Avoid the Effects of Jack Frost
If frost threatens, cover your baskets or move them inside a garage or shed. You can extend the beauty of your baskets for a month or so in the fall if you cover them when frost is likely. We have wonderful and convenient basket covers available in the Whistle Stop Gift Shop, or you can use an old sheet to cover a basket. Make sure to remove the cover shortly after sunrise the next morning.