Pergola Planting - Hanging Baskets

Copyright image: A beautiful trailing peach begonia in a hanging basket on a pergola.

I used these hanging baskets on the four corners of my pergola this year, and what a treat they looked!

Tumbling over the edge of the pot with large frilly blooms, they certainly earned their place in the garden.  With only one plant in each 10" basket, they proved to be both stunning and economical.  So many people commented on their enormity and beauty.

I planted them in very simple metal hanging baskets with good compost, and they seemed to flourish.  Watering wasn't an issue like it sometimes can be with summer hanging baskets (begonias like their feet damp but not soggy, as the have a tendency towards foot rot!)

So all-in-all a huge success!

In a moment, we'll take a look at how to upload your hanging basket pictures. Or jump straight there if you like.

Here are some others I planted this summer, with suggestions on using different types of basket...

Pretty In Pink

Copyright image: Gorgeous hanging basket with pink petunias, purple million bells and blue bacopa in a self-watering hanging basket.

I'm a real sucker for a traditional hanging basket, with a blend of strikingly delicate, annual, bedding plants.  My favourites are pinks, purples, violets and white, but anything goes.  A restricted colour range can look just as good.

Here we have a pink, double petunia; a deep purple million bells; white and blue bacopa; and somewhere nestling in there is a trailing fuschia.

This basket flowered from the end of May (after all danger of frost had passed) to the end of October.  It has given me so much pleasure and has looked so healthy that I'll definitely be using this type of container next year.

Being a sun-trap, it's not always easy to keep my hanging baskets going so well right through the summer.  So I decided to go for a self-watering style to see if it would make any difference compared to my usual traditional wire basket and sphagnum moss.  I was very pleasantly surprised.

It's amazing how much water the reservoir takes!  My watering can is 5 litres and that will fill two of these reservoirs - so 2.5 litres approximately. You can, of course, put a liquid feed into the water to nourish and sustain.

Copyright image: A hanging basket with purple petunias, blue bacopa and nepeta.

Talking of a limited palette, this is one I had just planted, ready to hang, last year: very simple, with deep purple petunias, blue bacopa, and bluey-green nepeta.  Lovely.

Copyright image: A hanging basket with purple million bells, pink double petunia, white bacopa and a trailing fuscia.

The reservoir in the self-watering hanging baskets lasted about three days, when very hot, and four, when cooler.  

All plants prefer to be watered from underneath, so when the wick in a self-watering container sucks water into the compost it keeps it evenly watered all the time, the plants thrive - and with less effort on my part, that's for sure!

That's the secret of keeping a good hanging basket: even watering with regular feeding.  Put some slow release feed in your compost when planting and then use a liquid feed regularly through the flowering season.  

If you use traditional hanging baskets and they dry out, as an emergency remedy, try putting a handful of ice on top of the compost and let it melt in.  It's very difficult to rehydrate compost once it's dry, and this means the water soaks in slowly. Otherwise, take the basket down and stand in a bucket of water, letting the compost and roots have a long soak from underneath.

Here are some self watering hanging baskets...

This self waterer has a conical bottom, which gives it a delicate and traditional feel.  

It can be planted using preformed liners or moss.

The plants will soon trail over the edges.  Choose specifically trailing varieties if you wish to hide the basket - petunias, fuscias, bacopa, diascia, begonia, lobelia and geranium.

There are some wonderful hanging basket designs available now in many different styles.

Get ideas here.  Such a lot of choice!

Easy Fill Hanging Baskets

These are an interesting idea, especially if you have problems poking your plants through the planting holes of your basket.  Believe me, I've been there, and I've planted up some hanging baskets in my time!

This is the best deal for this particular basket, although you can get them from various outlets and garden centres, too...

See a video of how to plant up one of these hanging baskets for winter, here.  

The same method can, of course, be used for spring and summer baskets.  

It makes planting so much easier when the holes are big. Clips are just clicked in to give a really neat job.

I would, however, put the root ball in from the outside, and also angle the top layer, so the pansies trail over the edge to cover the basket.

Plants For Winter Hanging Baskets

For winter baskets you can use pansies, ivy, cyclamen (plant high so the root ball doesn't rot), iris reticulata, trailing periwinkle, a lime-green evergreen cupressus conifer or small phormium (spiky, slightly tender plant that needs a sheltered, warm site near to the house) as a centrepiece. 

Box, rosemary, euonymus, choisya and hebe are ideal shrubs for adding structure and evergreen colour to a hanging basket (Buy small, as immature shrubs).

Heathers, Skimmia japonica and Gaultheria have showy flowers or berries to lift a basket, brightening it up for a very seasonal feel.

Wispy grasses such as Carex and Festuca glauca are great for adding contrast and texture.

These plants can be transplanted out in the garden or in planters when preparing new planting for spring or summer baskets.

If you're not sure what a plant looks like, just type the name of the plant into the search box here. You can find pictures, height, spread and care information.

Artificial Hanging Baskets

If you fancy a bit of instant colour without any hassle, these are just the job.

Artificial flowers and plants can be costly for the initial outlay, but will last for ages, and sometimes it's possible to drop on a sale item.

Notice how there is a centrepiece (phormium) with blue and white pansies against the deep green trailing ivy.  Very effective.

The blue petunia basket on the left comes in pink and white, too.

Of course, you can make up a similar one yourself with real plants.  

Don't worry if you can't find the same colours, or even plants.  Maybe use a variegated ivy or trailing periwinkle instead.  

The periwinkles are lovely because they have the most beautiful blue flowers as a bonus to their trailing shoots, and they can be replanted almost anywhere! Pansies come in all colours, so the world's your oyster there, and any tall hardy plant will look great at the centre.

Have fun creating your hanging baskets.  Look after them and they will reward you with a beautiful show!

Your Hanging Basket Pictures

Here's the place where you can upload your pictures and write a bit about your hanging basket.  

(Remember, you can just send everything to and I'll sort it out at my end, if you'd prefer)

Hanging Basket Ideas

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