Do you have a favorite garden flower that always seems to have its head in the dirt, especially after a heavy rain? This flower may be the perfect candidate for a hanging basket. Many flowers suitable for hanging baskets are pendulous, top heavy, or creeping, which makes them look lovely when displayed from a container at eye level or higher. Some hanging basket flowers even attract butterflies
or hummingbirds, giving us a close-up view of wildlife antics on our porch or deck.
Photo © Leonora Enking
For those who don’t have the right climate to grow fussy fuchsias, begonias can act as a plant double. The half-hardy Begonia boliviensis
has the same tubular, pendulous flowers as fuchsias, but can handle the heat and humidity of Southern summers. Other tuberous begonias that look great in hanging baskets include the Nonstop Mocca series, which are fully double and resemble roses.
2. Black Eye Susan Vine
Photo © Carl Lewis
Not many vines flourish in a hanging basket, but thunbergia has the right combination of exuberance and restraint that makes it a showy container plant. The annual vines will scramble up the chains of the hanging basket as well as spill over the sides, sporting one inch flowers in white and gold shades.
Photo © TravelSalem
Gardeners living in areas with cool, wet summers can’t pass up the opportunity to grow this amazing, shade-loving tender perennial. Although the plants do tend to wither in summer weather, you can look for one of the more heat tolerant varieties like ‘Astoria,’ ‘Jupiter,’ or ‘Surprise.’ A little fuss will prolong the beauty of fuchsias in hanging baskets: the plants respond well to daily misting, regular fertilizing, and diligent deadheading.
Photo © flickr user Sheperd4711
In frost-free areas, common lantana can become somewhat of a thug, growing into a wild woody shrub that scrambles through fences and overtakes flowerbeds. However, the vibrant flower clusters of lantana provide reliable tropical color for a long growing season, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Choose a small weeping variety for your hanging baskets like the yellow and white ‘Patriot Popcorn’ or the yellow, pink, and orange ‘Patriot Rainbow.’ If lantana is overly vigorous in your area, choose a sterile variety that doesn’t grow berries.
Photo © flickr user lcm1863
It’s best to think of lobelia erinus as a seasonal plant for early spring, as it thrives in moderate temperatures. Your hanging basket will be covered with a mass of electric blue flowers and contrasting white throats that appeal to butterflies. At the end of June, don’t waste any time trying to coddle the plants; replace them with million bells, lantana, or another heat loving plant.
Photo © Mike Alsbury
This cousin of the petunia won’t tucker out when the temperatures rise. Million bells produce little or no seed, and don’t require deadheading to stay in bloom. All they need is moist soil and a full day of sun to keep your hanging baskets vibrant.
Photo © flickr user inaweofGodscreation
You may know these by the more common name of geranium, but pelargoniums are annuals, while true geraniums are hardy perennials. The bold texture, bright colors, and trailing habit of pelargoniums make them ideal for hanging baskets. Deadheading is necessary to keep the plants blooming until frost.
Photo © Pamla Eisenberg
Petunias have always been a classic favorite for hanging baskets, but some gardeners have given up on them after struggling with plants bedraggled by disease and rainstorms. Try millifloras, which bloom continuously without the need for pinching, or multifloras, which perform in hot, wet summers.
Photo © Doug Beckers
Place portulaca, or moss rose, in a site where it will receive sun for most of the day. When the plant sits in shade, its flowers will close up. Pair moss rose with other heat loving, drought tolerant plants like wandering Jew, which will provide color between blooming cycles.
Photo © flickr user kyducks
Sitting near a sweet alyssum hanging basket is like being in the presence of a fragrant cloud. These flowers have a strong honey scent that attracts butterflies and bees. The appealing trailing habit of sweet alyssum can turn shaggy as the season progresses, so don’t be afraid to reinvigorate it with a summer haircut.