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Hanging baskets can be simply spectacular. However, most attempts to achieve these summertime staples end up looking less than average. To be brutally honest, being responsible for a hanging basket is not a job for the faint hearted. They are incredibly needy.


If your summer is likely to be spent at home, it’s a great opportunity to learn how to master the art of planting and maintaining a hanging basket. A full, blooming basket will bring you many months of joy. But only if you follow two key tips;


The first instruction to acknowledge when planting up a hanging basket is one that goes against the most critical rule that every gardening book tells you not to do. And that is

tightly packed plant spacing. To achieve the full, cascading blooms that you envy, you must cram the plants into every available space. It’s perfectly fine to do this in this instance as the plants in there are only temporary.


The second is food. Hanging baskets are not your normal outdoor container. They hold a lot of plants in a very small space, which means food and water gets consumed very quickly. Water your baskets twice a day, morning and evening. As soon as they start to dry out you’re on the road to disaster, so remember not to skip this step even if it has rained. And, feed with a liquid fertiliser every two weeks.


If you are going away then you need to arrange for a friendly neighbour to pop round and keep your basket watered. Otherwise, you may return from your holiday to a lifeless basket.


You can start to plant up your hanging baskets now but they will need protection from Frost until late May/early June.  It is usually better to plant your basket once the risk of frost has passed.  Also regularly deadhead your flowers and this will encourage a succession of flowers and prevent the plants’ energy going into seed production.


You may also want to start thinking about a winter hanging basket.  They are a brilliant way to bring colour and interest into your garden during the colder months.  They’re easy to manage and a way to keep you gardening throughout the winter months.   There is a wealth of hardy plants to choose from and combinations for winter hanging baskets are endless.


Whatever the time of year you decide to have your hanging baskets they are always a great addition to any garden, no matter the size, and a great way to bring colour and interest.

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