When I was working long days in a greenhouse our mantra was always “thriller, filler and spiller!” This holds true to any great combination of baskets or containers. It’s a good idea to decide what your thriller will be before you begin. A thriller is something to make a statement, typically this will be the center piece of your container. Begonias, fuchsias, petunias and calibrachoas make great thrillers because of the large bountiful blooms, as they make up the bulk of your container. Petunias include 20 species of flowering plants, with an endless supply of colors in varieties like Grandiflora, Multiflora, Wave and Supertunias. Supertunias are big and bold and always bring smiles. An obvious choice for a shady hanging basket is fuchsias or impatients. Tradescantia pallida (Wandering Jew) likes some protection from hot sun as well.

A filler are flowers like lobelia, and verbena where you are “filling in” areas. And a spiller is just as it sounds- spilling over the edge. Sweet potato vine has large leaves and has a few colors to choose from deep purple to bright green that will add lushness to your basket. Bacopas are also popular for their vigorous growth and long-lasting color that create a good trailing habit. Sometimes the same type of plant can be used as a filler or a spiller, it depends on how you plan out the basket but spillers tend to be more trailing.

Garden nurseries have a plethora of starts, often times sold in assorted small packs for transplanting. When choosing your transplants consider similar watering and light requirements for each plant to encourage success. We have plants available at our Corner Store Nursery. With annuals it’s a good idea to pinch them back for stronger more vigorous plants. For optimal growth letting them root in while sitting in a greenhouse is best. If there is danger of frost or cold nights, bring the basket into an unheated garage or other sheltered area. We also have assorted colorful premade hanging baskets in stock at Prairie Road in Eugene and our Corner Store Nursery in Glenwood, sometime in May.

Water, Water & More Water!

Hanging baskets can take a lot of water, especially in a sunny spot in the summer, or depending on the material your basket is made of… coco coir will dry out really, really fast. Hence, you may need to water a few times a day. A good rule of thumb is to continue watering until water runs out the bottom of the basket. Keep in mind watering needs change with the weather. For best results poke your finger into the soil and if it is damp, no water is needed! Here at Lane Forest Products, we have a few options for potting soil so be sure to stop in and ask for ideas.

Keep Your Basket Beautiful.

For maintenance throughout the season, you should remove the spent old flowers to encourage new ones. This process is called deadheading and is accomplished by pinching just below the spent blossom throughout the season for a continually blooming and full basket.

Annuals are heavy feeders so if you want them to grow, they need food! Hanging baskets tend to work well with regular feeding for continually blooming throughout the summer. Compost tea is also a beneficial source of nutrients that helps create vibrant blooms. We sell compost tea in Glenwood and Eugene (Prairie Rd) locations, please call for availability.

Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist