by Rock Giguère
Hanging baskets filled with annual flowers are charming to decorate a balcony, a terrace, a pergola, a window or a facade. They present an elegant and aerial touch that seems to float in the air. We can buy them designed by experts or do our own creation that will harmonize with our environment and reflect our personality.
Choice of a container
Baskets for floral suspensions are usually made from a metal, laminated or wood frame and are sold with a hook and chains to hang them. Plastic containers, being less aesthetic, and gain to be be quickly concealed. The most interesting are those that are made with natural materials. If you use a wire basket with open mesh, it should be filled with a foam, felt or coconut fiber carpet to retain soil and moisture. Already prepared and reusable products are available in garden centers to make our job easier. One can also opt for a terracotta suspension: it must then be ensured that drainage holes are provided to allow the excess water to flow out.
The larger the size of the container, the more plants we can use and better their performance. Interesting diameters for a flowery suspension range from 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 inches). Beyond this dimension, one must take into consideration that the pot reaches a heaviness that can complicate the safety of the suspension.
The soil mixture should be as light as possible and retain moisture. Mixtures specifically designed for container cultivation are now sold in garden centers. These products must be made from high quality horticultural ingredients: when buying it is wise to consult on the bag the list of constituent materials of the soil and their quantity, to ensure its quality. The best ones also contain water retention products and long-acting fertilizers that greatly facilitate the task for us.
Choice of plants
Nowadays, plants are found in containers that already have a good size and are compact. These specimens do not usually require training treatment after planting.
We can also opt for seedlings in boxes: it is then necessary to choose the most compact possible and especially those that are not etiolated.
We fill our suspension at 2/3 of its height with soil mixture. We pack it well and water it. The clumps of plants that compose our arrangement are then moistened.
We first place the plants that will form the center of the composition. These plants are usually erect, bushy and compact. They are the ones that will give volume to our composition. Then, creeping and drooping plants are positioned on the edge of our suspension. Plants are placed in alternate rows. Fill the space with potting soil up to 1 to 2 cm (½ to ¾ “) from the edge of the container. Nowadays, we plant quite densely to obtain an opulence effect as quickly as possible.
We must take care not to break the plants’ stems when hanging. A location sheltered from cold winds, is preferable. Of course, our suspension must be hung in a place where it will not interfere with our movements. It must also be ensured that it will not hit the walls of the house in the wind. These hanging containers must be hooked securely, as watering makes them heavier.
Container plantings require greater attention to watering. They need a regular supply of water, especially in hot weather. Wilted flowers should be removed regularly throughout the summer to promote the renewal of flowering. Excellent liquid or slow-degradation fertilizers are now available for container fertilization.