By Karen Darlow
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).
Just like our container gardening ideas, hanging baskets 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.
So what are you waiting for? Simply read on for our favourite 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. 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.
2. 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').
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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
7. 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.
8. Grow edible plants for your hanging basket ideas
There's no reason at all why you shouldn't plant edible crops at eye-level. Strawberries, tomatoes, lettuces and 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. All you'll need to add is the mozzarella and you're sorted for a tasty alfresco lunch in the garden.
Love the idea of growing your own crops without the need for raised beds? Our guide to growing vegetables in pots has more tips.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
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. 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 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 explains how their LECHUZA-PON 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.
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