Which hanging basket do I choose?

It’s Mother’s Day week, and there are lots of people walking through our greenhouses trying to choose hanging baskets.  Some for their moms, some for their houses.  I hear a lot, “You have so many nice ones, I don’t know what to choose.”  So…I thought I’d share a few tips on how to choose the right hanging basket for you:

The 1st Big Question:  Sun or Shade.  What’s the big deal about sun or shade?  Well, while all plants will grow great leaves in most all environments, some flowers will only bloom if they get lots of light.  Other flowers are more sensitive and prefer a low light spot.  When we say full sun in the world of flowers…we mean 6 or more hours of sun a day.  If your basket will only get 4-6 hours of sun a day, that would be classified as shade.  If your basket get less than 4 hours of sun a day, then your choices are pretty narrow as there are only a few things that will do well in that environment. 

How do you know how much sun your basket will get?  If the basket is in the middle of a yard or around a pool, there’s a good chance it is a full sun area.  If it’s on a porch, baskets on the north and east side of the house will get less light then those on the south and west side of the house.  If you are putting a basket on a porch, you can often use a full sun basket…but you must rotate it so the basket will get light on the backside.  Otherwise, you will have flowers just on the front side of the basket. 

So…if you have the following conditions, here are some good basket ideas:

FULL SUN:  Petunias, Calibrachoa/Million Bells, Purslane, Geraniums

PART SUN/SHADE:  Begonias, Double Impatiens, Impatiens, New Guinea Impatiens, Geraniums

LOTS OF SHADE:  Non Stop Begonias, Ferns

Click here to see photos of all these baskets.

The 2nd Big Question:  How much do you want to water? 

Some of us have busy lives…and it’s hard to get things watered on a daily basis.  Although all baskets have to be watered, some are more forgiving then others in full sun environments (shade baskets tend to not need as much water because they are shaded):

Here’s my list of baskets that take less maintenance:

Dragon Wing Begonias (for part shade up to mostly sunny):  these are great!  Live all summer.  They aren’t as big at the beginning of the summer, but by then end they may hold up longer.We also have these in combo baskets.

Purslane:  again, not as showy as the petunias in the beginning, but these are really quite great drought tolerant.  We grow pink and yellow.  These open on sunny days and close on rainy days…so it’s important to put them in a full sun location. 

When it comes to large showy baskets, petunias will need to be watered daily, but are still more forgiving then Million Bells.  Million bells top the list as the most water needy baskets.