This design works well as a garden plan or combined with other plans.
Raising plants eliminates the bending and crawling needed to tend
planting beds, and can fit more plants into a small space.
The types of plants you choose will depend on how you want to
display them. Do you want to fill your patio with hanging baskets, are you looking for plants to trail over a garden wall, or are you creating window boxes.
For a list of basket-worthy upright and trailing flowers, foliage, and vegetables
and climbing vines for walls and other structures visit BLI’s
Trailing Plants and Climbing vines.
Filling the center of a hanging basket with upright
plants and placing trailing plants at the edge will give the
design the fullest look. When buying plants, choose seedlings in 2-1/2-inch
cell-packs, as these will be the easiest to work with.
Types of plant hangers
Pots, wire or plastic baskets, and windowboxes, are all suitable
containers for hanging plants. Plastic is inexpensive, easy to work with and is slower to dry out than wood.
Window boxes come in plastic and wood as well as hayracks (long narrow wire baskets). Wire baskets allow more choices in size and planting arrangements. With these a liner is used
to hold the soil in. Traditionally, wire mesh baskets are lined with sphagnum moss and filled with potting soil, but there are also drop-in liners in both plastic-lined
polyester (which cuts down on moisture loss) and such natural materials as cocoa fiber. You can make one with from burlap, dried sphagnum moss, or coir (coconut
fiber). Wire baskets should be 12 inches or more in diameter to allow enough room. Choose a box that will extend the full width of the window.
Hangers and supports
Like the containers themselves, options for hanging baskets and
pots run from plain and functional to artwork in their own right.
The simplest option is stainless steel hooks that
can be screwed into a cieling or wooden wall or S-hooks than can be
hooked over a fence or other upright surface. Also available are
wall brackets that extend horizontally from the wall. These may be simple
metal, but many come with a flat statue on top. For pots, there are also wall
brakets with metal a rings to slip to pot into, rather than requireing
chain or rope to hold it. Hanging containers closer
to eye-level will not only make them easier to water, but easier
to see, as well. When choose a container and support keep in mind that containers
can gain two or three pounds after watering.
Planting the basket
Because plant roots are stuck with whatever’s in the container, soil
must be high-quality. A lightweight potting mix os soilless planting mixes provide
excellent drainage, aeration, and water-holding capacity
that ordinary garden soil can not supply. The container must have drainage holes, but there’s no need to add pebbles at the bottom as they won’t necissarily improve
drainage. Because most potting soils are peat-based and can be difficult to re-wet if they dry out, adding in loam- or humus-based potting mix, will help the soil hold water.
Arranging the plants
In a container, plants will be placed much closer than in a planting bed. Trailing plants should be planted at the edges and bushy or upright plants will go at the center or back, depending on how the basket will be seen (from all angles or only
from the front). Choose upright plants that will not become so tall
that they’ll be blocked by the baskets chain.
Making a moss-lined hanging basket
Use vinyl or rubber tubing slit lengthwise and fit onto the rim
of the basket to protect stems of hanging plants.
Soak green sphagnum moss overnight. Wring it out to damp and
pack it around the inside of the basket, making a lining
1 inch thick, extending 1 inch above the
basket rim. Thoroughly soak the plants by submerging the pots in water until all air bubbles
disappear. This makes them more pliable for planting and helps them get established more
quickly.From the bottom up, work holes through the moss
every 2 to 6 inches (depending on the size the plant will grow to).Wrap root balls in small plastic bags to make
insertion easier from outside the basket. From inside, pull root balls through so they rest
on top of the soil. Remove the bag and anchor the root ball with a handful of soil.
Gently push a plant through a hole. When the first row is complete,
add soil to cover the roots and firm the soil. Continue this way,
working up along the basket.
Because container plants dry out quickly, they’ll need
daily or even twice-daily watering. If the pot dries out
completely, immersing it in water will rewet the soil.
Watering wands extend
your reach and produce a gentle shower.
However, because watering washes away nutrients, fertilize with
liquid fertilizers or time-release fertilizers every two weeks
throughout the season. A pruning in late summer will often revive
Unique hanging garden ideas
Create a rainbow plan with reds and yellows at the top,
descending to purples and blues.
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- A List of Trailing Plants and Climbing Vines
- Mountain and High-Altitude Landscaping
- Tips for Hiding Landscaping Eyesores
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