7 Delightful Hanging Basket Plants
Make an unforgettable impact with these stunning plants
By Hannah Miller at DIY Gardening
(Update Oct 2021: Below you’ll find the best summer plants for hanging baskets but for winter hanging baskets, try this page.)
Hanging baskets are perfect for adding colour, foliage and movement to any garden, large or small.
Locate them in porches, on fences, posts or walls; hanging baskets are versatile, fun to create and easy to maintain.
If you really want to make an impact, choose plants that:
- Explode with rich, deep colour.
- Provide lush foliage.
- Produce long trails that sway in the wind.
Below you’ll find 7 of the very best hanging basket plants that are guaranteed to create an unforgettable impact.
1) Busy Lizzies
Busy Lizzies, also known as Impatiens, were once the darlings of English gardens, but a common disease destroyed stocks and put off buyers.
Growers have now created resistant breeds of Busy Lizzies, and they’re back on garden centre shelves and in UK gardens and hanging baskets.
Compared to pansies and petunias, Busy Lizzies grow more upright, dense and have sturdier stems, making them perfect for the top of hanging baskets as well as pots and containers. Busy Lizzies will trail, often up to around 40cm, but they’re far less floppy than other tender stemmed annuals.
Everything you need to know about growing Busy Lizzies can be found in our quick guide.
2) Trailing Ivy
Ivy is a cheap, distinctive plant that can be added to hanging baskets to create long trails, often over a metre in length.
We love Ivy when it’s grown in hanging baskets because:
- It performs well in the shade.
- It’s a tough and resilient plant.
- You can split into multiple plants.
- It will survive winter conditions.
- You can put it in indoor hanging baskets.
If you think Ivy is a boring green plant, think again, there are many varieties, and our favourites are those with white frosted variegated edges.
No list of hanging basket plants would be complete without mentioning petunias.
If you’re looking for long trails, hundreds of multi-coloured, trumpet-like blooms and lots of green foliage and stems, petunias are for you.
You can grow them on their own, as shown in the photos below, or pack them with other plants to create a garden within a basket.
Petunias grow well when placed in the sidewall of the basket where the trails can reach half a metre, but only if they’re grown in ideal conditions.
4) Trailing Fuchsias
Fuchsias are one the most versatile garden plants and will happily grow in baskets, pots and borders where they put on a magnificent show, often well into autumn.
There is no other plant like fuchsia, and the unique drooping pendants open to reveal stunning pink and purple petals and one-of-a-kind legs.
Add to a mixed hanging basket or create one with only fuchsias; both will look stunning and delightful in full sun or part shade.
Fuchsias are also one of the easiest plants to propagate, so getting extra plants is cheap and quick.
5) Cascading Lobelia
Lobelia grows just about anywhere, and you’ll find hundreds of examples on Google images where this plant has taken root in walls where the tender trails cascade over the edge, often up to a metre in depth.
A dainty but showy annual that blooms throughout summer, this is a go-to plant for anyone wanting to create an eye-catching basket with long, swaying trails.
Blue is the most popular colour and while Lobelia goes very well with pansies make sure this gentle plant isn’t crowded out by more rigorous annuals such as petunias.
6) Begonia (tuberous)
Begonia is another tender plant that can bloom through summer and well into autumn up until the first frosts; Begonia is a popular pot plant with some varieties spreading up to half a metre.
Technically a perennial, Begonia is usually grown as an annual with the tuberous variety best suited to hanging baskets. Expect thick, waxy green foliage and distinctive clusters of blooms.
Grow in full or partial sun and keep the soil moist; Begonias are easy to care for and can even be overwintered in a sheltered spot.
7) Strawberries and Tomatoes
A little different, but why not?
You can grow trailing strawberries in spring and tomatoes in the summer, both from hanging baskets.
You won’t need to worry about slugs or snails at this height and if you grow them in a sunny spot, expect a good yield of edible crops for yourself!
5 Must-Have Plants for Winter Hanging Baskets
Winter doesn’t have to spell the end for your hanging baskets, although most tender annuals die at the first frosts.
Plenty of annual and perennial plants will put on and maintain colour throughout the cold winter months (these plants are great for winter borders), and some are suitable for hanging baskets.
Try these winter hanging basket plants:
- Ivy (variegated is best)
- Colourful winter-flowering heathers (Erica carnea).
- Winter pansies.
- Violas (similar to pansies).
Combine these with very early flowering bulbs, and you should be able to bridge the gap between late autumn and early spring.
Make a Statement With These Stunning Hanging Baskets
While hanging basket plants can make a statement, the basket and bracket can add style.
In 2021, we trawled the internet to find the most beautiful hanging basket brackets, go check them out:
The Best Compost and Soil Mixes for Hanging Baskets
While putting compost into a basket or pot isn’t rocket science, there are ways you can improve drainage, moisture retention, airflow and rooting so the plants grow to their full potential.
if you’re new to growing hanging baskets, start with this quick guide from our blog.
But in a nutshell; multi-purpose compost will work just fine but as hanging baskets dry out very quickly in the summer, consider adding vermiculite as it helps the medium retain moisture.
More From Hannah Miller:
This guide to the best hanging basket plants was created by Hannah Miller and was last updated in October 2021.
Hannah is a keen amateur gardener, mother and a former NHS administrator.
She enjoys gardening as much as she cares about the environment and likes to share her knowledge with others.
Hannah is a keen photographer, and you’ll find hundreds of her photos throughout this site. She also contributes to our blog; check out her latest posts here.
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