Add seasonal colour and interest to your, balcony or terrace with a hanging basket or wall-hung brimming with bright and attractive . Although outdoor hanging baskets are thought of as summer features, they are showy from late spring until the first autumn frost – perhaps five months later! Luckily, there is a wide range of inexpensive hanging baskets and wall-hung containers every bit as attractive as the plants themselves.
Decide where the container is to go, and whether it is to hang against a wall, from wall brackets or from a sturdy overhead support. Decide, too, on the most suitable size. The larger the container, the less often it needsand the more plants it holds, but the heavier it is and the more room it needs. (Also, as the plants grow, they can double the bulk of the .) In narrow or heavily used places, wall-hung troughs are best.
Choose a spot out of the wind and out of the way, so the, you and your family don’t suffer bumps and knocks! A sunny or lightly shaded spot is better for flowers than full shade, though you can grow lovely foliage plants, such as ivies and ferns, in full shade.
Making a choice
Modern outdoor hanging baskets and wall-hung containers are easy and clean to plant, hang up and look after once in place. Garden centres usually sell many types of chains or other co-ordinated ‘snap-on’ fixings and brackets, as well as linings, so you can buy everything in one shop.
Drips are less of a worry outdoors than if your basket is hanging over a carpet, but you can also use many of the drip-proof indoor containers outdoors as well.
Materials and styles
If you have plant containers in one material or style nearby, you can continue the theme, or go for a ‘mix-and-match’ effect.
Plastic-covered wire is lightweight,inexpensive, and available in green, black or white. As well as hanging baskets and decorative ‘bird cages’, you can buy half-baskets for attaching to a wall, and ring-type wall fixtures, into which an ordinary pot will fit– ideal for displaying pelargoniums outdoors in summer.
‘Wrought iron’ made of black or white plastic-coated aluminium is lightweight and inexpensive, and has an old-fashioned look. It is available as half baskets, wail mangers and decorative, ring-type wall fixtures.
Plasticsuspended from stiff, clip-on plastic wires are cheap and available in many colours, but are only suitable for one or two small plants.
Solid plastic hanging baskets suspended from wire chains can take larger groupings of plants. They are available in several colours, and some have clip-on drip trays.
Terracotta is the most expensive material, but many people prefer its old-fashioned looks. Because of its weight, terracotta is usually used for wall-hung containers, though small hangingare also made. Make sure your container is frost proof, or be prepared to take it in over winter.
Liners for hanging baskets
Old-fashioned sphagnum moss is attractive, but most garden centres now sell more modern liners. They blend well with the plants, protectfrom wind and sun, and retain moisture while allowing excess water to drain away.
- Compressed peat and wood pulp (top right) are pre-formed and available in several sizes. Cut slits in sides for inserting plants.
- Coir, jute and rubber mat (top left), have ‘petals’ that overlap to fit. Cut off any lining extending above the basket. Insert plants in sides between the ‘petals’.
- Sponge rubber, has ‘petals’ that overlap to fit. Cut off any lining extending above the basket. Insert plants in sides between the ‘petals’.
For the best effect, plant trailing or hanging plants around the edge of the basket, with one or more upright plants in the centre. With wall-hung containers, place the upright plants towards the back.
- Creeping Jenny
- French Marigold
- Tagetes patula
- Fuchsia – Fuchsia hybrids
- Liquorice Plant
- – Ivy
- Geranium – Pelargonium peltatum
- Lobelia – Lobelia erinus
- Sweet Alyssum – Alyssum maritimum
- Variegated Ground Ivy – Glechoma hederacea Wariegata’
- Verbena – Verbena x hybrida
- Zonal Geranium – Pelargonium x hortorum
Fixing wall-hung containers to brick rough-rendered walls is fine, but can cause water entry problems on a gloss-painted, rendered wall.
In order to prevent water damage to a wall, you should line half baskets or ‘wrought iron’ mangers with black polythene. Pierce some holes in the front and sides of the polythene for, but not at the back, where the polythene touches the wall.