Here we are a couple of months into the spring/summer season and most of you have had your hanging baskets up for a month or possibly more. This means it is time for you to take the baskets down and give them a little mid-season TLC.
Maintaining your hanging baskets come down to 3 things: Watering, fertilizing and finally pruning and dead heading.
Proper watering is the most difficult part of taking care of flowers and giving your plants the correct amount of water is vital to your success and overall plant health. If you water too much then you can rot the roots. If you water too little then your plant dies. You need to find just the right amount by checking the soil on a regular basis until you feel you are comfortable with how much your particular basket needs. When you are dealing with baskets it is even more important because we want our baskets to be big and bountiful with huge flowers. The problem with this scenario is the actual basket container is not very large and your flowers only have that little container to get its water and nutrients from. In the early spring when the plants are small they won’t require as much water, possibly every 2-4 days. As it gets warmer and the plants have grown you will need to water once or twice per day. If you live near the water then constant breeze is a huge factor in how much you water. Constant wind over the basket can evaporate moisture quickly.
The only place hanging baskets can get their nutrients is from you. Not only do your plants use them, constant watering quickly leaches nutrients from the soil in your pots. It is up to you to make sure you consistently replace these nutrients for maximum plant performance. We use water soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro often here at Dees to keep our baskets looking perfect. Use this at least once a week. If you feel mixing is too much trouble, consider using a controlled release fertilizer that you would add to the soil. This type of fertilizer breaks down slowly over a period of weeks giving your flowers a consistent source of nutrients. Osmocote or Miracle Gro Shake & Feed are great control release fertilizers.
Pruning & Deadheading
You are guaranteed 3 things in life. Death, taxes and yellowing leaves. Even if you are the best gardener in the world, your plants will get yellow leaves occasionally. Once a week take your hanging baskets down and clean them up. Deadheading is removing spent flowers. When you do this it helps promote more blooms. Pick off any leaves that are old and yellowing. Pruning is the technical term for giving your flowering baskets a haircut. I don’t suggest you cut the plants in half, but when you prune weekly by taking a little off here and a little off there, it allows you to keep the baskets in full bloom without wrecking the look of the plant. Nobody likes anything overgrown and bushy. Pruning allows you to keep that thing neat and tidy. This is also a great time for you to inspect for possible insects that may be attacking your flowers.
Hanging baskets are great additions to your landscape. If you just hang them up and forget about them then you will get just what you asked for, overgrown, ugly plants that are destined for the garbage pail. By following my proper maintenance techniques you will give yourself a summer full of enjoyment for you and all who enter your garden!