Hanging Basket care
Hanging Basket care
In spring many of us buy beautiful, blooming hanging baskets. They look great for a few weeks and then slowly start to fade; no longer looking like the ones we bought a month ago. Here are few hints to keep that hanging basket looking good all summer long.
Keep in mind that growers fertilize the baskets every time they water. This helps maintain healthy, vigorous growth. A grower recommended fertilizing once a week with a formula with a ratio of 1:2:1 (10-20-10) with micro nutrients such as iron, copper, manganese to satisfy the heavy feeding requirements for hanging baskets. There are some specially formulated fertilizers available for container growing on the market. It is the moderate steady supply of fertilizer that will sustain and maintain the plant in a vigorous growing state. A research study in Michigan State compared 3 flowering baskets: one with soluble fertilizer, one with a time-release fertilizer incorporated into the soil and the one with both soluble and time-release fertilizer. The third basket with both soluble and time-release fertilizer preformed the best.
Many of us find that by the time we get home from work, our poor hanging basket is drooping from the heat of the day and lack of water. So we immediately get the watering can and pour lots of water on the plant to rehydrate it. This practice causes lots of stress to the plant. In addition, leaving soaking wet roots overnight (when its cooler) can invite root rot and other diseases. Water just enough to revive the plant in the evening and then water again in the morning using a wand or watering can and pouring directly onto the soil avoiding wet leaves. To make sure all the roots get wet, water until it runs out of the bottom of the container. In hot weather, you may have to water twice a day. If the soil has completely dried out, to the point where it separates from the side of the basket, then you may have to soak the basket in a tub of water to slowly re-hydrate the soil. This may take a couple of hours. Do not leave the soaking basket for a prolonged period of time or overnight, this can cause root rot.
When feeding your plants, water first with unfertilized water and drain; then re-water with a fertilizer solution. This will keep soluble salt accumulation to a minimum and avoid fertilizer burn to the roots. A moisture retaining polymer can also be added to the soil to keep your plant hydrated longer.
Check the label for sun exposure place your hanging basket in the right spot – too much sun can be as bad as not enough. If you basket shows signs of scorching, brown edges and faded or bleached leaves if may be getting too much sun, therefore move it to a shadier spot. Spindly, leggy plants with lack of flowers can indicate not enough sun. Plants facing west in the summer will require more water and need to tolerate hotter temperatures
For continual bloom deadhead hanging baskets with larger flowers such as geraniums, lantana, petunia and verbena.
Hopefully, some of these suggestions will reward with summer long blossoms.