There are plenty of hanging basket ideas you can try for stunning results. Experiment with all sorts of plants – it doesn’t have to be all petunias and fuchsias (although we’re big fans of those too). There’s so much more choice available, particularly if you want to achieve a more contemporary feel for your garden.
Just like our container gardening ideas, hanging basket ideas offer a fabulous opportunity to breathe new life into a lacklustre space – whether it's a front garden porch, a patio, or a pergola.
No matter your style, there's sure to be a design you're drawn to. Try hanging containers filled with plants of all one color, or use striking foliage to give a more textural look. And you can’t go far wrong with high-rise plantings of edible crops. Try baskets of cherry tomatoes, tumbling strawberries, sprouting salads and fragrant herbs – none are afraid of heights and they all flourish in containers.
Hanging basket ideas can also add impact to small areas like narrow balconies and courtyards, allowing you to max up your growing space. There are options for sunny or shady spots too, so it doesn’t matter what the aspect of your garden is as there will be something to suit.
So what are you waiting for? Simply read on for our favorite hanging basket ideas and get inspired to create your own. And once you're raring to get started, head over to our tips on how to make a hanging basket for more advice.
1. Plant lush hanging basket ideas for a shady spot
Choose a combination of greenery for your hanging basket ideas, such as ferns, hostas and vines that don’t need sun to thrive and look good for months on end without any deadheading.
The sculptural outlines of these plants provide shape and structure, while trailing plants help to soften the edges and add a graceful draped effect as they spill out of the basket.
From the top, this willow basket is planted with stars of the show lady fern Athyrium filix-femina and hosta fortunei ‘albopicta’. The fillers are the ornamental nettle lamium and golden creeping Jenny.
2. Perk up a hot spot
If you’re looking for one of the best plants for hanging baskets in a garden space that gets full sun, Mexican daisies (also known as fleabane) are a great choice. They thrive wherever you plant them but look particularly eye catching in a loose arrangement that spills out of hanging baskets.
Another benefit of positioning it up high is that you won’t miss the butterflies as they come seeking nectar from the flowers as the basket dances in the breeze. One pot of fleabane can be divided to create a pretty hanging basket display that lasts for months.
3. Grow easy edibles that look as good as they taste
If space is tight, growing produce in baskets is a great way of boosting your crop. But some are so pretty they tick the box of being ornamental too.
Plant a selection of herbs in the sides of your hanging basket – using or making holes in the liner – then why not try planting radishes, beetroot or even short Chantenay carrots in the top of the basket?
Tumbling tomato varieties are the natural choice. Try an easy-to-grow heirloom variety like Hundreds and Thousands (pictured). These cascading plants will give bite-sized tomatoes all summer long. They don’t need to be staked and you don’t need to take out the side shoots either so they’re faff free. Just put them in a sunny position and water regularly.
Similarly, the smaller varieties of cherry tomatoes are well suited to container planting. Include some basil plants too. All you'll need to add is the mozzarella and you're sorted for a tasty alfresco lunch in the garden.
4. Combine blue and white for a soothing style
Recreate a serene woodland theme in your hanging baskets with white wood anemones (Anemone nemorosa). Their star-shaped blooms look gorgeous as they sprawl upwards and outwards.
Forget-me-nots provide a blue-hued contrast which offsets the look beautifully. And, by sticking to a two-tone palette, the design maintains a considered and on-trend look – making it perfect for modern or more classic-style plots alike.
5. Liven up your railings
Hanging basket ideas don't have to be positioned way up high. Take these frothy silver displays, for example, which add a touch of elegance to sturdy black railings.
They're a great way to pep up your garden fence ideas, and why not use a couple for maximum impact? We love the use of variegated ivy in this display, alongside a prettily-pastel shade of lobelia (try 'Regatta Sky Blue').
6. Choose one variety for impact
Choose one type of flower in a dramatic color and let it shine as a solo performer. A trailing geranium or fuchsia in dark red works well, or try a verbena in a vibrant shade of pink. Planted in this teardrop basket, it will look good from May through to late autumn and doesn’t need as much deadheading as some other trailing favorites.
Try ‘Superbena Burgundy’. It can be planted straight out into a basket in May (as long as there’s no chance of frost). Use a compost especially designed for hanging baskets such as Westland Multi Purpose with John Innes and position in direct sunlight, feed once a month and it might even flower until Christmas.
7. Make a statement by pairing bright tones
Of course, petunias are a classic choice when it comes to hanging basket ideas – and there's a reason why they're so popular.
These sun-loving, low maintenance blooms offer an abundant display all summer long, and come in a huge range of colors. So, if you're looking to create a show-stopping look like the one above, they're a safe bet. There's lots of trailing varieties available too – perfect for hanging up high or to add to your window box ideas.
For maximum head-turning potential, pair with a vibrantly-hued wall. If you don't already have one, perhaps now's the time to get the brushes out.
8. Create a warm welcome in your front garden
Give your front garden ideas a lift with a cheery hanging basket or two. Majestic begonias with their flouncy demeanour will bring joy to passers-by, especially if you opt for a sunshine-like hue.
Position in a porch, either side of your front door, or, as seen here, hang them from a sturdy tree. Attach a sign for your house number for a pretty finishing touch.
9. Make a purple-hued display
Purple is a well-loved choice for garden color schemes and is often used for cottage-garden styles. Plus, opting for a one-tone look offers a sense of cohesion to a space.
Mix up the size of your blooms to create extra visual interest – the blousy petunias here complement the delicate lobelia well. And, you can bet that pollinators will love the display, too.
10. Fill with interesting foliage
Fill your hanging basket with a selection of striking foliage plants to give a contemporary look – great for modern garden ideas. The effect will be lush and textured rather than bright and colorful but can be every bit as dramatic.
Make sure you include plants with different shaped and colored leaves for extra interest. Here are some plants worth looking at for their foliage alone:
- Trailing nepeta
- Lysimachia numularia 'Aurea' (Creeping Jenny)
- Athyrium (Lady Fern)
- Dichondra 'Silver Falls'
- Hedera helix (Gold Trailing Ivy) – good for winter baskets
- Brassica oleracea (Ornamental cabbage) – good for winter baskets
11. Go for multi-tiered designs
Speaking of foliage, how's this for an impressive display? Sure, it's slightly more on the understated side than masses of bright bedding plants. But, it still packs a punch, in a sophisticated way.
It's a brilliant solution for upping the greenery in a patio, courtyard, or balcony space – especially if you're looking for an alternative to a living wall. Of course, if you want a more vibrant scene, you could always switch the foliage out with colorful blooms.
12. Grow strawberries as part of your hanging basket ideas
There's no reason at all why you shouldn't plant edible crops at eye-level. Because of their trailing habit, strawberries are ideal for hanging basket ideas, and will be decorative as well as tasty.
The trick is to select plant varieties that produce small berries and are suited to the job. You'll also get to enjoy their flowers first before the vibrant red fruit.
Love the idea of growing your own crops without the need for raised beds? Our guide to growing vegetables in pots has more tips.
13. Plant up unusual containers
Think outside the box when it comes to your hanging basket ideas. There's no reason why you can't use any kind of container you like, so long as you have a means of hanging it up.
Try recycling your baked bean tins or galvanised buckets (just make sure there are some drainage holes so your plants don't become waterlogged). Old tea pots, watering cans, fruit baskets and biscuit tins can all be turned into quirky hanging containers, provided you have a solid hook or chain to take the combined weight of the compost, plants and container.
Not only is it an eco-friendly option, but it's also good if you're looking for budget garden ideas.
14. Try drought-resistant plants for your hanging basket ideas
Succulents, cacti and other drought-resistant plants are increasingly popular, and understandably so. Needing very little water and thriving in hot, dry, sunny places they are the plants that just keep on giving.
Succulents are an unusual choice for outdoor hanging baskets but with so many textural, colorful and tactile varieties to choose from there are plenty of options for a more contemporary setting. You'll need to choose a hardy or semi-hardy variety – try sempervivum or sedum.
Head over to our tips on how to grow succulents for more advice.
15. Make an impact with just one plant
Planting up your hanging basket with plants in just one or two colors can be very effective. Use a row of baskets in the same color palette for maximum impact.
Keep things extra simple by sticking to just one variety of plant and you'll be rewarded with a dramatic block of color that really stands out. And when choosing your plant, consider your surroundings – this fiery orange scene complements the navy front door beautifully.
16. Take the indoors outside
Trailing sedums look sensational if you let them holiday in the garden for the summer as part of your hanging basket ideas. They need very little water, making them a low-maintenance choice for styling up the patio.
Trailing String of Pearls will do well in partial sunlight, away from the midday sun. Dependable echeveria is ideal for a sunny spot, while upright cactus varieties like crassula add a sculptural touch. These eye-catching glass containers are made from recycled glass and can be layered up with compost and gravel, then easily transferred indoors later on in the year.
What is the best soil for hanging baskets?
You can use a good-quality, peat-free multipurpose compost for your hanging basket ideas, as suggests the RHS (opens in new tab). This will do the job just fine for a year-long display. However, check your plant's ideal conditions – some, such as flowering heathers, prefer an acidic soil so will need ericaceous compost.
Sue Sanderson at Thompson & Morgan (opens in new tab) also suggests to add 20% perlite to your compost, as well as water-retaining granules and slow-release fertiliser.
If you're looking for an alternative to soil, then you can also use a special mineral substrate mix. For instance, the team at LECHUZA (opens in new tab) explains how their LECHUZA-PON (opens in new tab) product has been designed with a slow-release fertiliser, whilst also allowing strong root growth and preventing mould due to its aeration system. What's more, it helps to regulate water uptake, whilst reducing the risk of your plants becoming waterlogged.
How often should you water hanging baskets?
Similarly to other arrangements in your garden planter ideas, hanging baskets often need regular watering, especially during the hot summer months. A good way to tell is by touching the soil – if it no longer sticks to your finger and feels dry, then it's time to give it a good soaking. Avoid letting them dry out to the point where your flowers or foliage wilts – they're often difficult to revitalise.
Of course, you want to avoid overwatering, too – this can cause hanging baskets to become waterlogged and consequently damage the plants. Good drainage helps, which is why it's important to have holes in the bottom of your planter.
In terms of the best time to water – go for early morning, before the sun is at its highest, to prepare your arrangements for the day ahead.
Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about gardens since 2015. She's written for Gardeningetc.com, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Easy Gardens and Modern Gardens magazines. Her first job on glossy magazines was at Elle, during which time a visit to the legendary La Colombe d'Or in St-Paul-de-Vence led to an interest in all things gardening. Later as lifestyle editor at Country Homes & Interiors magazine the real pull was the run of captivating country gardens that were featured. Having studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry she is currently putting the skills learned to good use in her own space where the dream is establishing a cutting garden.
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