Plant a summer basket that will flower throughout the season
Bursting out all over in a profusion of blooms, this huge blue and yellow themed hanging summer basket contains no fewer than ten different kinds of plant – they come into flower at different times, an excellent summer basket that provides a long-lasting display.
Plant in spring for flowering throughout the summer. There are a lot of plants here, so allow an afternoon for the job.
- Buy all the plants needed for this basket as small container-grown plantlets.
- Three plants are included for their foliage: Helichrysum petiolare; creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia); and Swedish ivy (Plectranthus coleoides ‘Variegatus’).
- Seven are chosen for their flowers: purple heliotrope ‘Marine’; petunia; trailing verbena; lobelia; nemesia; French marigold; tradescantia. Note: in the picture, not all plants are in flower.
- Large hanging basket with chains and hook.
- Hanging basket liner (plastic, hessian, felt or moulded paper).
- Potting compost.
- Slow-release fertiliser spike.
- Water all the plants thoroughly the day before you plan to plant them.
- Insert the liner into the basket – prick small drainage holes through if necessary.
- Planting such a large and varied basket requires a careful building up of layers of plants. Spread a sheet of newspaper or plastic on the ground, then take all your plants out of their original little pots and arrange them in size order on the sheet. Each should be placed in the basket according to the size of its rootball – bigger ones deeper in, smaller ones nearer the top.
- Put a layer of compost into the bottom of the basket. Start planting, spacing the different plants around the basket, firming in, then topping up with more compost. Plant another layer and repeat the procedure. Note that the three foliage plants – the helichrysum, creeping Jenny and Swedish ivy – are all placed at the front so they can trail downwards, while the double-flowered petunia is placed centrally. Deep blue lobelias have been positioned all round the edges.
- When the planting is complete, top up the compost to within 2.5cm (1in) of the top of the basket and insert a slow-release fertiliser spike. Hang it up in its designated position, making sure the hook and fixings are strong enough to take the considerable weight. Water thoroughly.
Invest in a long-handled, pump-action watering can to make watering your summer baskets easier – and to save you taking it down every day or climbing up a ladder to reach it.
Many, but not all, of these plants are annuals and will not survive the winter. However, even those that are hardy and evergreen, such as the Swedish ivy, will be exhausted by the end of summer – so it’s best to discard the whole lot from your summer basket when flowering stops and plant anew in spring.
Water regularly – at least once a day in hot weather. Deadhead withered and faded blooms to prolong flowering and remove any damaged or discoloured foliage.
Summer baskets is a project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas. Available now.