Brilliant hanging basket ideas: how to make yours stand out

Think outside the box – or basket – with these creative hanging basket ideas with a difference

Hanging basket ideas: orange and lemon hanging basket
(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

With a bit of imagination, there are plenty of hanging basket ideas you can try to create stunning results. You can grow all sorts of plants in a hanging basket – it doesn’t have to be all about petunias and fuchsias, although we’re big fans of those too. And there’s no reason why your hanging basket even has to be a basket – you can hang containers of any kind to achieve a different look. 

Experiment with hanging containers filled with plants of all one colour, or use striking foliage plants 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 of them are afraid of heights and they all flourish in containers. Don’t forget to stop for a taster as you pass, too! Read on for our favourite hanging basket ideas. 

1. Create a hanging basket of foliage plants

foliage plants in unusual zinc hanging container

A mix of foliage plants makes a striking hanging display in this Abari tapered aged zinc container by Nkuku at Amara

(Image credit: Nkuku at Amara)

Fill your hanging container with a selection of plants with striking foliage to give a contemporary look. The effect will be lush and textured rather than bright and colourful but can be every bit as dramatic. 

Make sure you include plants with different shaped and coloured 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

2. Grow edible plants in a hanging basket 

strawberry plant

Grow your own dessert - strawberries thrive in hanging baskets

(Image credit: Getty)

There are no rules when it comes to hanging baskets. And there's no reason at all why you shouldn't plant edible crops at eye level. Strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, all make great hanging basket choices, and will be decorative as well as tasty. 

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? 

Because of their trailing habit, strawberries are the perfect edible plant for hanging baskets and you get to enjoy their flowers first before the vibrant red fruit. Similarly, the smaller varieties of cherry tomatoes are well suited to container planting. Include some basil plants too, and all you'll need to buy is the mozzarella and you're sorted for a tasty alfresco lunch in the garden. 

3. Plant up unusual containers  

herbs in hanging tin cans

Hanging containers don't always have to be baskets. Here, upcycled tin can planters are fixed to the side of a shed and planted up with herbs

(Image credit: Karen Darlow)

Think outside the box when it comes to hanging containers. 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, 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.  

4. Try drought-resistant plants

How to grow succulents

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

They are the must-have plants of our time – succulents, cacti and other drought-resistant plants are enjoying their moment in the sun, and understandably so. Needing very little water and thriving in hot, dry, sunny places they are the plants that keep giving. Succulents are an unusual choice for outdoor hanging baskets but with so many textural, colourful 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. Other types, like aeoniums and echeverias, might also survive the colder months in containers although they're unlikely to overwinter well in the ground.

5. Colour code your hanging basket

calibrachoa kabloom in a hanging basket

The fiery shades of Calibrachoa Kabloom are vibrant enough on their own in this single variety hanging basket, from Thompson & Morgan

(Image credit: Thompson & Morgan)

Planting up your hanging basket with plants in just one or two colours can be very effective. Use a row of baskets in the same colour 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 colour that really stands out.  

More planting ideas: