You know spring has arrived when the stores put out their display of colorful hanging baskets. Why wait til spring, wouldn’t it be great to celebrate the seasons all year round? You can do this by creating an all season hanging planter that changes with each of the four seasons.
Start by buying a strong, attractive hanging basket holder that will last. Try to avoid those cheap, white plastic, disposable containers, and go for a more durable planter made from cedar or wrought iron. If you’re using a solid container, pour gravel in the bottom for drainage. If you prefer a wire frame planter, try lining it with coco fiber or sphagnum moss. Fill the container with lightweight potting soil, or make your own using equal parts of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite.
Now, depending on the season, the fun begins! Here are some four seasons planting suggestions:
Keep in mind that whatever you choose has to be compatible with the amount of sunlight your planter will be exposed to. For the biggest most consistent blooms, fertilize once an week, and never let your soil dry out. On some of those super hot summer days, you may have to water twice a day.
Use a combination of tall and trailing plants with varied leaf color. Use taller plants or decorative grass in the center and surround with a combination of trailing blooms and vines.
Try designing a hanging basket with a specific color scheme such as red and purple or red and white. Alternately, choose one strong bloomer such as calibrachoa (million bells) and load up your container.
A basket with soft pastel colors can be equally dramatic by using a combination of lavender Verbena, rose colored Wax begonia, and Browallia speciosa.
Once the weather begins to cool down and your blooms start to wither, it’s time to start thinking about an autumn basket. Fall mums make a colorful display of rich blooms that last right into the colder weather, or try some unusual plants such as decorative kale or giant hens and chickens. For a maintenance-free planter, make a display using fruits from the autumn harvest such as baby pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn and decorate with small scarecrows.
Now is the time to combine your hanging basket with your holiday decorating. Start by getting trimmings from spruce or cedar trees to create a layer of greenery. Add sticks of red dogwood branches in the center, or spray paint branches white or gold. Accent with silk poinsettias and large pinecones. For a night time display, add tiny lights or bright red Christmas balls.
This is probably the most anticipated basket transformation and nothing says spring like spring bulbs. This is something you can do prior to decorating your Fall basket. Once your summer plants are removed, stuff your basket with various spring bulbs using a combination of early and late bloomers.
If you haven’t planned in advance, that’s ok, buy potted bulbs or use some that you have already forced indoors and transplant into your planter. Crocuses, daffodils and tulips shout “spring” as they poke through the dirt. Depending on your location, bright colorful primulas are available in February and will bloom well into late spring.