University of Florida

The Neighborhood Gardener –
Hanging Baskets

By Pam Brown, Retired Urban Horticulture Agent, Pinellas County

Hanging baskets are wonderful additions to your home garden.  They can easily be moved around and create wonderful eye-level color and texture opportunities. 

Creating Hanging Baskets

  • Select the size of wire basket you want to use.  The larger the basket the more plants you will be able to put in and the more colorful it will be. A selection of plants that you may use can be found at the end of these instructions. 
  • Choose a suitable liner. Most commercially available liners are either coco-fiber or sphagnum moss. Line the basket with your chosen liner, which at this point should be about 1" above the top of your basket. If using moss, you may cut out a circular shape disc from a potting soil bag (or other strong plastic bag) and place in the bottom to help with water retention. Depending on basket size this disc should be big enough to come up the sides slightly. 
  • Fill with potting soil to about the half way mark and add slow-release fertilizer.  Mix together and water well. 
  • Now you can add the side plants if you wish.  Make a small hole in the liner or moss and insert plant root first through the hole you have made, remember that the roots must be sitting in the potting soil. A lot of side plants fail due to not being inserted fully through the liner and into the soil.
  • Add more potting soil to about 1" from the top, but leaving a fairly large area in the center unfilled (bring potting soil up the sides but leave a depression in the center). 
  • You can now start adding your main plants. Begin at the center and work your way out to the rim, firming the plants in as you go.  Add more potting soil to fill, but do not overfill your basket.  Water in the plants and add more potting soil, if needed. 
  • Now any spaces along the edge that appear bare can be planted with small trailing plants if needed. 
  • Once your basket has settled the liner or moss will have shrunk to fit your basket. Any excess on a liner can be trimmed. Any excess moss can be teased down the sides. 
  • Hang in a greenhouse or shady place to acclimate for a few days.


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