University of Florida

The Neighborhood Gardener –
Hanging Baskets

Continued from page one


Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Basket Through the Season

  • Most important of all is to keep your basket watered well. Remember, as the plants grow they will require more water. Check the moisture content of your basket by checking the weight—the lighter the basket, the more water it will require. 
  • Remember that during very hot summer months you will probably need to water 2–3 times a day—the hotter it is the quicker the basket will dry out. 
  • When watering ensure you give enough water to wet the volume of potting soil in the basket all the way through and not just the surface.
  • The moss or coco-fiber should be slightly damp at all times.
  • Do not be fooled into thinking "It's raining, so I do not have to water today." You do!  As the plants grow, their leaves form a canopy over the soil and this keeps the rain off where it is needed the most—inside the basket.  So even if it is raining, you have to water your baskets.  Baskets in shady places dry out also.  Don't forget to water them.
  • Ensure that the bracket for your basket is adequate and securely fastened to the wall and that the bracket is the correct size for your basket. Check your bracket yearly, since it will weather and age with time. 
  • If you're not using a slow-release fertizer, regular doses of fertilizer will keep the baskets alive and blooming.
  • Placing the basket in a sheltered position away from exposed situations will prevent the wind from drying out your basket and damaging plants. 
  • Trimming is a special part of basket maintenance. By trimming old flowers every two or three weeks, your basket can stay at its peak for a long time. Certain plants, such as lantana, bougainvillea, and verbena, require little trimming. Others, such as begonias and impatiens, are usually shaped into balls of color and require a "hair cut" more often. When your basket starts to deteriorate, you can choose to dispose of the plants and replant or you can severely prune the basket back. If the plants are salvageable perennials, they will grow back. If you have seasonal plants in combination with perennials, replace them and start production again. 
  • Common pest problems include mealy bugs and spider mites. Fungus can also become a serious issue, especially during the warmer months and if the baskets are being over watered.   Mealy bugs and spider mites can be controlled with insecticidal soaps.  To avoid fungus problems, do not water late in the day and try to keep the foliage dry.



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