Beautiful Hanging Baskets that Cost a FEW Dollars
Have you ever bought a gorgeous hanging basket in full bloom in the early spring only to be disappointed in a short time later when it is past it’s prime already? Well, here is how to grow your own for just a few dollars, that will be beautiful long after some of those expensive ones have headed to the dumpster.
First you need to get a good quality hanging basket. I buy mine at the end of the season clearance at Walmart or a home supply store like Home Depot. Get a good quality heavy duty one that will last for many years. I have had mine for about 10 years now, and have only had to fix a couple of the hanging hooks on them, and replaced the coco liners a couple of times. ( On a side note, I always buy liners at the end of season clearance, too.)
I have found that a 16” basket is a perfect size for me, and will hold moisture for a good amount of time.
Line the bottom of the basket (on top of the coco liner) with a piece of cardboard, that fits in the bottom of the basket, and goes up the sides a bit. This helps to keep moisture in the basket. (I live in a rather windy area out in the country). We also have a farm, so I put a bit of manure and dirt mix in the bottom of the basket.
Then I fill the basket almost to the top with good quality potting soil(also purchased at the end of season clearance).
I have found that although there are many annuals available that are very pretty, the very best for a beautiful yet low maintenance hanging basket are the Wave Petunias. (Not regular petunias-they must say Wave). Wave Petunias do not have to be dead-headed, withstand cool or high temps well, are available in a wide array of colors and are very disease and pest resistant. I usually pay about $4-5.00 for a 6-pack of them. Three plants per 16” planter works perfectly and then I add a Sweet Potato Vine. For larger baskets, 4 petunias would be better, and for 14” baskets 2 plants is good.
Sweet Potato Vines can usually be purchased for about .75-$1.00 each. Next year, since I have a dozen hanging baskets on my porch around my house, plus a few planters on the garage and chicken coop, and a few pots scattered around the yard, I am going to purchase a couple of packages of a dozen sweet potato slips from a nursery supply company/seed catalog, such as Henry Fields or Gurneys. They are usually less than .50/plant. There are many colors/varieties of sweet potato that complement your choice of Wave Petunia. This year I have lime green, dark purple, and tricolor vines in my planters.
After putting the plants in the baskets, top off the basket with a little more soil. Water well and hang in desired location. Since I try to start mine as early as possible, I usually hang them in a protected area for a couple of weeks, to keep them safe from frost. Petunias can handle a light frost with minimal damage, but sweet potato vines are very susceptible to frost damage.
Water the pots every day in the summer, depending on the weather and fertilize with Miracle Gro about once a week. It takes a little time to get full pots, but at the time when the other baskets are fading in beauty, yours will be just beginning and will just get better and better until frost. And best of all, you will have spent only a couple of dollars per basket.
~ Hannah from Hannah’s Homestead
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