To begin you need a wire basket. The bigger the basket the better in this instance, as a bigger basket leads to higher water retention which means less maintenance and greater opportunity for bigger and more vibrant plants.
Next line your basket with either coir matting or sphagnum moss. Coir liners are normally bought as a pre-moulded structure to fit certain size baskets and help to create a tidy presentation, but their thickness makes them unsuitable for planting on the sides. Sphagnum moss is naturally free of bugs and insects, and is excellent at water retention.
Next add a light-weight potting mix to the basket. Fill the soil to within an inch or two of the rim for ease in watering.
Now comes the fun part – choosing your plants. We are spoiled for choice in Victoria and the long growing season means that hanging baskets are good value for money and effort. You could choose one mass planting (e.g. petunias or begonias) or a mixed basket using either warm colours of yellow, orange, and red or cool colours of blue, pink, purple to make a statement. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, so another idea is to plant a red and white hanging basket and join the celebration.
Choose a focus or statement plant. Try fuschias, (either upright for the centre or trailing for the sides), salvia, pelargoniums, or you can also do a basket with succulents. Surround this with verbena, portulaca or other trailing plants that like dry conditions. Finally poke in some sweet alyssum and blue lobelia then water in well.
Allow your hanging basket to dry out a little between waterings but be vigilant as summer winds and sun can dry out baskets quickly. If your basket is really dry submerse in a container and soak for an hour, then rest on the ground to drain before hanging.
A final word, or two. Avoid choosing plants that do not trail. Think about seeing the baskets from underneath rather than above. Don’t forget to feed as well as water for best display.
Maggie Kelly, Dig This Broadmead