7 Delightful Hanging Basket Plants
We independently research, combine and grow plants in our gardens. If you buy something via links, we may earn a commission. Explore our editorial process.
(Update Feb 2023: 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, I’ve always found that 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 I’ve noticed that 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.
I 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 my favourites are those with white frosted variegated edges.
I usually put ivy into my winter hanging baskets, but there’s no reason they can’t go into summer one as well.
No list of hanging basket plants would be complete without mentioning petunias which are my go-to plant for trails.
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 my photos below, or pack them with other plants to create a garden within a basket.
I’ve found that 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.
I always have several fuchsias in my garden, and they looked delightful when I was growing them in my baskets.
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.
I’ve grown this plant before, and while I liked it, I found it was easily crowded out by more vigorous plants, so I think it needs a bit of space.
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.
I’ve grown these in full and partial sun, and they performed best when the soil was kept moist, so be careful if your hanging baskets are located in a sunny 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!
I’ve grown strawberries in containers before and got a good yield, and they were fun to grow. The biggest issue I had was slug damage.
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.
Come late autumn, I usually pull out the summer plants and switch them for winter ones.
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).
I’ve had success combing the above with spring flowering bulbs such as crocus and even miniature daffodils and I was 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.
Meet The Author: Hannah Miller
Hannah is a former NHS administrator, mother of two and keen qualified gardener who loves growing new plants and experimenting in the garden.
She enjoys gardening as much as she cares about the environment and likes to share her knowledge with others.
This year is all about pollinators, and Hannah has set herself the goal of only buying new plants that attract pollinators; she aims to make the garden as bee and butterfly friendly as possible.
Why Trust Us? Hannah's Experience Backed by a Qualified Horticulturist
At DIY Gardening, we follow a detailed, rigorous process to create content that is helpful, factually correct and meets the highest standard of integrity.
Our 5-step process is:
1) We select a topic that we feel will help our readers.
2) The author creates the content based on their knowledge and experience of the subject.
3) We ask an expert with qualifications in the relevant area to fact-check and review the content, which we update accordingly, if applicable.
4) The content is checked by the site owners and published.
5) We review the content yearly to ensure it's still correct and relevant.
Hannah Miller has been a gardening enthusiast for over 12 years and has a level 3 qualification in horticulture. She's constantly growing new plants and frequently writes for us.
As accuracy is important, we asked fully qualified horticulturist Elizabeth Smith to review and fact-check this guide.
Explore: Elizabeth's profile and qualifications.
Explore More of Our Content Below:
The Best Plants for a Low Maintenance Garden
We think these are the best plants for a low-maintenance garden but of course, no plant is 100% maintenance-free. Explore our list today. Start Here
Eye Catching Trailing Plants
Discover 15 of the most stunning and eye-catching trailing plants for pots, troughs, baskets and walls in any garden. Start Here
How to Grow Winter Pansies
Everything you need to know about growing winter pansies is in this complete guide. Maintain a colourful garden all the way through winter with this versatile annual that thrives in cooler weather.