Last year I spent $100 replacing flowers in two hanging baskets over the summer season. I would purchase pre-made baskets and hang them up without a second thought. They were pretty and could have survived if I had watered them on a regular basis. I had no investment in them, though. I was busy and paid $10-$20 for a basket, transferred the flowers, and admired it for a few hours while I sat on my back patio. Then, I’d get really busy and completely forget about them. When I remembered it was usually too late and they’d be dead. I felt horrible that I killed them with no good reason other than forgetfulness. This year had to be different. I decided to plant my own so I would feel invested in them; I wouldn’t kill them and I wouldn’t waste money. It totally worked. It’s August and the plants are happy, healthy and a bit wild looking.
The first stop you’re going to want to make is a local nursery; I went to Home Depot near my house. I picked up potting mix and four of each plant: Geranium (red), Snow Princess, and Vinca Vine. These are considered “hardy” and are not as fragile as other species of plants/flowers; they’re resilient to bugs and many forms of bacteria. I also grabbed two, potted Hibiscus plants to add some more color to my patio. Select some cute hanging baskets as well, unless you already have them.
If you live in the city you’re probably going to need to find a place to assemble your hanging basket. It’s a messy job. I used our gangway instead of the patio; I have a neighbor below me and didn’t want any of the soil falling through the cracks. Laying down newspaper can eliminate this problem, but remember, if you’re in Chicago there’s a good chance the wind will make the paper fly. You can use your kitchen or bathroom but be sure to sweep up the leftovers so the drain doesn’t clog.
I laid everything out and loosened up each of the plants by squeezing the sides of the containers so they would come out smoothly. I filled half of the basket with potting soil, removed the entire Vinca Vine from its original container (it should come out in one piece- plant and soil; the soil will be in the shape of the container).
Take the other plants out of their containers and place them in the basket.
Arrange the plants until they look good to you.
Use one of the empty plant containers as a scoop to pour the soil around the plants. Once the basket has been filled to the rim, gently push the plants down to secure them. You may find that more space has been created; use more soil to fill in the space. Next, hang your plants and water them! Water them multiple times, allowing the water to drain out through the bottom (about 8-12 cups for each basket).
Love your work and water the plants regularly. If it rains often water them less. In saying this, every plant is different; make sure you know which plants you’re buying and look at how much water they like. If you’re not sure about watering the general rule is to stick your finger in the soil. If the soil is damp you do not need to water the plants that day. If it is dry or partially dry, water them. Once the plants grow you can also look at their leaves to determine what they need. If they are wilting or drooping you should give them water. The best time to water is at night or early morning (before 7am). A major exception to the above is a desert plant (succulents, cactus, etc). Remember, know what you’re buying! Google a plant’s sun, soil, and water preferences prior to purchasing.