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5 top tips to keep your hanging baskets healthy

Written by: phs Greenleaf


Hanging baskets are incredibly popular as they are so easy to install and immediately brighten up outdoor spaces. Whether you’re looking to add colour, vibrancy or flair, hanging baskets are an ideal solution.

As with any plant, a hanging basket will need looking after. A basket with dead, brown or withering flowers can create the very opposite impression than what was intended. However, the good news is that hanging baskets are easy to maintain with a few simple steps.  

Here is phs Greenleaf’s guide to looking after hanging baskets:


1. Positioning

Hanging baskets are best placed in sheltered, sunny spots so they’re protected from wind. Summer baskets, planted from April onwards, will need protecting from any late frosts. Winter baskets, planted from September, traditionally feature more hardy plants so should withstand a frost.


2. Water often

Hanging baskets will need more water than flowers planted in a garden as they are typically small with less soil to maintain moisture. This means that if the soil is left to dry out, the plants will have no other source of water and will start to suffer. Water every day and even twice a day in the summertime. They’ll also likely need watering even if it’s rained as baskets are often sheltered from rainfall, especially if they’re under an overhanging roof. An automatic watering system can be a huge resource saver.


3. How much water

Keep watering the basket until the water starts to stream through drainage holes at the bottom. The basket should feel heavy with the weight of the water in it. Double check by testing the soil underneath the surface – it should be wet. Conversely, plants can have too much water so make sure it isn’t totally sodden with standing water; you’re looking for the soil to be moist but not soggy. If possible, collect excess water as it starts to drain out for reuse it so it’s not wasted.


4. Water when it’s cool

It was originally thought watering plants on sunny days would scorch leaves but this has actually been disproved. That said, if plants are watered in full sun, it is not as efficient as the water will start to evaporate before being fully absorbed into the soil. It’s better to water plants in the sun as opposed to not at all as the benefits of watering thirsty plants will outweigh the negative but, wherever possible, do so in the cool of the morning or evening to maximise water efficiency.


5. Feeding the flowers

New hanging baskets will benefit from the nutrients in fresh compost. However, these nutrients will quickly deplete so plants will need feeding. Use liquid fertiliser every week, after watering. Always follow the instructions given, including proper dilution quantities and frequency.


BONUS: De-heading

Regularly check hanging baskets for faded flowers and damaged stems, snipping off any found. This not only keeps the display looking good, it ensures the plants’ energy is directed to new growth and fresh flower production. Scraggly plants will also need to be trimmed regularly too, encouraging the plants to fill out.


BONUS: Replace dead plants

If, despite best intentions, a plant within the hanging basket does die or finishes blooming, there is an easy solution. Take down the basket and remove the dead plant either leaving space for the remaining plants to grow or replace it with a new flowing plant.


BONUS: Create a routine

It’s too easy to forget to give hanging baskets the TLC they need – especially if you’re relying on other people looking after them. Create a schedule so watering is a set daily task with reminders for when they need feeding or pruning. Alternatively, phs Greenleaf offers a full maintenance and replanting service along with automatic watering systems so your hanging baskets look beautiful day after day.



Keeping your hanging baskets healthy starts with some good foundations. Knowing how to create beautiful outdoor hanging baskets that are built to last will help make them easier to keep healthy.  Here are some hanging basket tips to consider when creating your arrangements:


What to plant in your hanging baskets

Choosing the right plants for your hanging baskets is crucial for their health and aesthetic appeal. Opt for a combination of trailing, upright, and filler plants to create a balanced and visually appealing arrangement. Trailing plants like ivy or petunias will spill over the edges, adding depth and dimension to your display. Upright plants such as geraniums or fuchsias provide height and structure, while filler plants like lobelia or begonias fill in any gaps and add a splash of colour. One of the top hanging basket tips is to consider the amount of sunlight your hanging baskets will receive and select plants that thrive in those conditions for the best results.

When to plant your hanging baskets

Timing is key when it comes to planting your hanging baskets so that they look their best. For summer hanging baskets, aim to plant them after frost becomes unlikely and the weather has started to warm up – late April onwards generally works best. Planting too early can expose your delicate flowers to cold temperatures, while planting too late may limit their growth potential.

If you’re planning winter hanging baskets, you can plant these in late autumn. Choose plants like cyclamen, winter pansies and crocus – they’re hardy options that can thrive in even the coldest of British weather.

Be sure to check the specific planting guidelines for the plants you've chosen, as some may have different requirements.


How to prep your hanging baskets

Properly prepping your hanging baskets before planting is essential for their overall health and longevity. Start by selecting a high-quality potting mix that is lightweight, well-draining, and nutrient-rich. Line the bottom of your basket with a layer of moss or fibre liner to help retain moisture. Fill the basket with potting mix, leaving enough space to accommodate the root balls of your plants. Gently tease apart the roots of each plant before placing them in the basket, ensuring they are evenly spaced and not overcrowded. Once planted, water thoroughly to settle the soil and help the roots establish.


Hanging baskets aftercare

Maintaining your hanging baskets throughout the growing season is essential for keeping them healthy and vibrant Regular watering is crucial, especially during hot, dry weather, as hanging baskets tend to dry out quickly compared to potted plants or those planted in the ground. Check the moisture levels regularly and water as needed, making sure to water until it runs out of the drainage holes to ensure thorough saturation. Feed your hanging baskets every few weeks with a balanced plant feeder to provide the nutrients they need for continuous growth and flowering.

Monitor your hanging baskets regularly – outdoor hanging baskets are susceptible to weather changes and keeping a close eye on yours can help identify any issues such as the weather being too hot or too wet so that you can provide the appropriate care.


Common hanging basket issues and how to fix them

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter some common issues with your hanging baskets, including:

Over or underwatering

One frequent problem is wilting due to underwatering or overwatering. Adjust your watering routine as needed, ensuring the soil is moist and not waterlogged.


Pests such as aphids or mites can also be a nuisance for outdoor hanging baskets, particularly in the warmer months. Treat infestations promptly with natural methods as opposed to insecticides.

Monitor for nutrient deficiencies

Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of nutrient deficiencies, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth, and treat the soil with appropriate plant feed as needed. Most issues can be resolved before they become severe, so make sure you take action.


Where can I get hanging baskets?

Whether you want to brighten up your outdoor space to delight customers, attract visitors or to create a pleasant work environment for staff, phs Greenleaf has a hanging basket package for you. With more than 25 years’ of experience, we have the expertise to design stunning floral hanging displays to your requirements. We offer a large choice of stunning plants in a host of colour themes, each grown and nurtured by specialists to flourish and be long lasting.


Find out more by visiting the Summer Hanging Baskets pages of our website or getting in touch directly. Call 0800 0902325 or email greenleafenquiries@phs.co.uk

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