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Tips: Top Tips for Planting your plugs

Choose plug plants - they're easier to fit into the basket and, with some regular watering, plant food and the removal of dead flower heads, they'll grow and give a stunning display.

Don't put your basket outside too early, because cold winds can check the growth. Wait for the weather to warm up and plants will grow strongly.

When planting up, sit the basket on a bucket or flower pot to keep it stable.

Most hanging basket plants are tender so shouldn’t go outside until frosts are gone.

How do we make a hanging basket
1 Place a layer of moss or a hanging basket liner in the bottom of the basket and bring it up the sides. You'll need a nice thick layer to provide support the compost.
2 Cut a circle the size of a dinner plate from a compost bag for the basket bottom, this will help retain water. Add slow-release fertiliser and water-retaining crystals to the compost and mix well. Fill the bottom 20cm of the basket with compost.
3 Start with trailing plants such as Nepeta, Lysimachia Aurea or Million Bells. Push their rootballs through the wires, placing plants low down the basket for a well-covered effect. Tuck the lining material around plants to keep compost in.
4 Add more compost building the level up. Insert a second row of trailing plants that are in a staggered position compared to the first row.
5 Add more lining material and compost up to the rim of the basket. Plant an upright Zonal Geranium and an upright bush Fuchsia in the middle of the basket.
6 Add a trailing Fuchsia at the north and south side of the basket. Then add a trailing Geranium at the west and east side of the basket.
7 Add ‘Basket fillers’ between the trailing Fuchsia and Geranium plants. Plants such as Bacopa, Surfinia Petunia or Verbena are an excellent choice.
8 Water the basket thoroughly. Check the compost regularly to make sure it doesn't dry out and take off any browning leaves or dead blooms.

What we used

Plants
1 Upright Zonal Geranium
1 Upright Bush Fuchsia
2 Trailing Fuchsias
2 Trailing Geraniums
10 trailing plants for the sides of the basket. Recommended are Nepeta, Bacopa, Lysimachia Aurea and Petunia
8 ‘Basket Fillers’ to plant between Geraniums and Fuchsia. Recommended plants are Verbena, Diascia, Nemesia and Petunia.

When to plant a basket

Plant summer hanging baskets from April onwards, but they will need protection from frost until the middle or end of May. If you do not have a greenhouse, it is usually easier to plant in situ once the frosts have passed.
Plant winter hanging baskets between September and October, and it doesn’t matter if they are frosted as the plants used should be hardy.

You would normally plant up a long-lasting perennial hanging basket from April onwards, depending on the types of plants being used.

Aftercare

1. Check baskets every day in summer, watering always unless the compost is wet. Drying out is an increasing risk as the plants grow and days remain warm.
2. Although baskets don’t dry out as quickly in winter, they still need regular checking. Aim to keep the compost moist but not soggy, and avoid wetting the foliage and flowers.
3. In spring, summer and early autumn (April to September), apply a liquid fertiliser.
4. Deadhead regularly to prevent the plants’ energy going into seed production, rather than more flowers.


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