Hanging baskets and containerized plants are beautiful! Keeping them that way is easy. Here are a few tips. Water as needed and check often. Watering is the single most important ingredient in maintaining your plants. Think of all plants as a car engine. We don’t add oil once a day or once a month on a schedule. We add oil when the dipstick reads “low”.
The plants and their soil will tell you, and your finger is the dipstick. If you stick your finger in and the soil feels dry and the basket is light, it is time to water. Water until the water comes out of the bottom of the container and then let the container dry out again – until the soil is dry and the basket is light. Over watering will only occur if you don’t let the soil breathe (dry out a little). If your plant is wilting and the basket is light, water is overdue. This is most common on hot and windy times of the year.
Check your baskets for water once a day, and during extreme heat, twice a day. Wilting can also occur from over watering (not allowing a little bit of dry time). Unfortunately, when a plant wilts from over watering the problem is usually terminal as the wilting is caused by root rot.
Fertilizing is also necessary. Pale leaves and reduced blooms are signs of an under fertilized plant. Follow the directions on the product label as each will be different. Water soluble is great – we use it but it must be used every or every other time we water. Slow release is a little bit less maintenance.
When using slow release fertilizer it is still a good idea to supplement with water soluble fertilizer once every week or two to give the plant a boost.
If your plant becomes lanky or is not blooming as much in mid summer, it can then be cut back by half. The new growth will look great until frost hits.
Wind can cause your basket to fall or become battered. If you know it will be a windy day, take your plant down and to a more sheltered area.
Protect your plants from frost. Most plants will not handle any frost. If you bring them into a building for night, you can extend the life of your basket into the fall.