If you’ve ever taken a vacation in a Disney park, or visited a summer resort, or walked down main street of the most charming small towns in America… you’ve probably been awed by some pretty amazing hanging basket planters.

And let’s face it – you tried to reproduce said baskets, and failed miserably, right? We. Have. Been. There. But then we learned these 5 success secrets for hanging baskets that make the pros “in the know”, and can make you the envy of your block.

Yep, you really can have those lush, full, awe inspiring hanging flower baskets in your own garden with these tips and tricks!

Hanging Baskets - 5 Secrets the Pros Use

Hanging Flower Baskets

How to Make a Hanging Basket

The first thing that you have to remember is that if you want those professional looking, lush hanging baskets, all of these secrets are equally important and work together. If one part of the “system” fails, chances are good that none of the other secrets are gonna save you. But no worries, none of these are tough, fellow gardeners! Photo of this shade hanging basket of asparagus fern, ivy and coral bells by ‘Gardeners Supply‘. Yes, we get there are no flowers in this hanging baskets idea. Just goes to show how versatile you can be! Texture and foliage color add interest here.

Hanging flower basket with petunias from ‘State by State Gardening‘.

Secret #1 – Choose Your Hanging Pot, Basket or Container.

This is a lot more important than just style choice. If you want simple cascading pots, choose regular hanging pots. If you want those amazing living flower globes that hang from the streets in those awe inspiring European hamlets, then you want a container that is either wire with a fiber liner, or a pot with holes throughout its body made specifically for this purpose. This allows you to place plants all through the sides and bottom of the container, which gives that full living globe look. This photo from ‘Fine Gardening‘ shows how to cut holes in the fiber liner and place plants all around the container. There are also several commercial planter systems for growing full “flower globes”, such as the Flower Pouch.

Learn how to make a succulent sphere for a really unique hanging basket from YouTube channel ‘Garden Answer‘.

Hanging Flower Basket Secret #2 – Choose Your Soil

Using a high quality potting mix is vital to successful hanging baskets. Choose a lightweight mix that commercial growers in your area recommend, and then add water holding polymer crystals available in any garden center. (Many potting soils come with them already in the mix.) Do NOT buy generic or budget potting soil. One of our favorite soils is called ‘Black Magic’.

Secret #3 – Feed and Water Hanging Flower Pots Well

Hanging baskets get watered so often, they tend to leach all the nutrients out of the soil much faster than regular containers. Add a slow release granular fertilizer to the potting mix when you plant, then use a liquid fertilizer at half strength once a week, such as Miracle Grow for Flowers. Use both, your plants will thank you with lush growth and many blooms! The town of Victoria on Vancouver Island, B.C. is famous for their hanging flower pots, below. They water their baskets every night, and include the liquid fertilizer at every feeding. Photo courtesy ‘Vancouver Island Now‘.

Hanging flower baskets require a lot more water than even other container plants, especially the ones with fiber liners. Do NOT let your planters dry out. Once you do, the root systems will be damaged, and while you may be able to bring them back, they will never reach their full potential. Once you get used to how heavy your planters are when fully watered, you can just lift up on the bottom and tell if they are getting light, then they are getting dry. They like to be evenly moist. Consider taking them down weekly to do a full and deep soaking, allow to drain, then rehang. In the most intense heat of the summer, some flower baskets may need water as often as twice a day.

Secret #4 – Best Plants for Hanging Baskets

Just like when planting in your garden, you have to choose the right plants for the right spot. Not only do you need to pay attention to whether your basket will hang in sun or shade, also note if it will be subject to drying winds, heavy rains, or excessive heat. Then choose trailing plants for the sides and bottom of the container, and more upright varieties for the middle of the container. Lastly, decide on type and variety. Do you want a single color and type to make a mass statement? Or do you want 3-5 different varieties with different textures, colors and bloom shapes for more close up interest? Bolder colors will draw the eye more from the street, while more subdued choices allow the basket to add to the gardenscape, instead of becoming a focal point. All these choices should be made before you buy the very first plant! Some good hanging basket plant choices are below.

Photo is example of a single color flower basket using Supertunia “Raspberry Blast” courtesy of ‘Wojos’.

Sun Plants for Hanging Flower Baskets

Ivy geranium
Petunias, especially the newer supertunias and Wave type
Creeping Charlie
Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare, especially ‘Limelight’)
Lotus vine
Sweet potato vine, especially ‘Marguerite’
Trailing lobelia
Trailing petunia

Photo of two hanging flower baskets of “Snow Princess” Alyssum courtesy of ‘Proven Winners’.

Shade Plants for Hanging Baskets

Polka-dot plant
Creeping Jenny

Photo courtesy of ‘Proven Winners‘. These hanging flowers are blue lobelia, red ivy geranium and annuals.

Hanging flower baskets that are just one plant choice can make a statement. Photo by ‘Power Flowers‘. These are “Wave Pansies” which are made for trailing.

Secret #5 – Pack ‘Em In!

Our last little trick from the pros is pretty important… You have to pack the plants in to these containers to get the full and lush look you want. Hanging baskets have a short amount of time to get to their full intended size, so you may need more plants than you usually would use. This is also why these baskets need more water and fertilizer – there is a lot of root competition in there!

Start them as early in spring as you can, weather permitting, for the best result by mid summer. Photo of hanging basket courtesy of ‘Proven Winners‘ of their Superbells calibrachoa and 2 types of verbena.

Where to Buy Supplies to Make Hanging Flower Baskets

Your choices for hanging planters and other supplies for making your flower baskets might be limited where you live. We found a few picks that might help you plant exactly the kind of hanging basket that you are dreaming about!

This Brigman Steel hanging Planter is all ready for your plants, and perfect for showing off your beautiful flowers and plants. This planter will make the perfect hanging flower basket and comes with the coco liner and hanging chain. Lots of great reviews on Wayfair.

Hanging Flower Baskets : 5 Secrets the Pros Use

If you want to be able to not worry about watering your hanging baskets every single day, then try the “Pollyanna Self-Watering Resin Hanging Planter“. Not only does it come in three modern colors and two sizes, it has a water reservoir that keeps the soil in the planter moist.

Hanging Flower Baskets : 5 Secrets the Pros Use

Looking for something a little more unique? The “Convivial VI Hanging Planter” from West Elm features a lovely geometric design in a crisp porcelain ivory glaze complete with coconut coir liner. Perfect for all kinds of plants.

Last, we love, love, love the look of this “Handmade Globe Copper and Steel Hanging Planter”   Yes, it’s a little pricey and it isn’t like a traditional hanging basket, but can you imagine the charm if you filled this with trailing flowers?… or anything for that matter!

Hanging Flower Baskets : 5 Secrets the Pros Use

So now you have the secrets to planting those ah-mazing hanging flower baskets for your home and garden. Don’t mess it up this time, ok? ;) We think you will also love our post on How to Plant Fantastic Flower Beds  and DIY Hummingbird Feeders, Nectar and Swings , and don’t miss Stunning Planter Box Ideas & Projects over on OhMeOhMy!

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  1. Peter DIYPD September 10, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Great tips thank you so much! I love so much the flower hanging baskets. By the way the photos are amazing!

  2. Aaron August 30, 2020 at 11:48 am

    That pink hanging basket is NOT Supertunia Raspberry Blast… It’s a pink Calibrachoa!

    1. Kathy Bates January 24, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks for catching that!

  3. Dmtechnolab July 27, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    Good article- I never thought to put holes in the bottom or sides of my coco liners. That makes sense as to how those fill out so nicely.

  4. Dmtechnolab July 27, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    Very Nice informative article. And that beautiful hanging baskets full of hydrangea.

  5. Natalie Ellis June 23, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Thanks for these great tips! Using high quality soil is so important–many folks think dirt is dirt, but it really does matter. Also some gorgeous photos and inspiration. :)

  6. Rebeca Flores October 26, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    Flowers occupy an important place in our lives. A gift of nature, symbol of love and beauty.

    That’s why spending time in a flower garden or park helps to relax the mind and promote well-being.

    Great Article


  7. Nina Ashton July 26, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Can you address spacing of planters between posts? I have 11 1/2 feet between my posts. How many hanging plants? Two?

  8. Maria October 2, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I got ideas at Disney and Epcot.

  9. Liz June 22, 2017 at 5:08 am

    Good article- I never thought to put holes in the bottom or sides of my coco liners. That makes sense as to how those fill out so nicely.

  10. Lisa June 16, 2017 at 5:18 am

    It was at Disney World where I awaken my gardening gene! Have always used them as my Standard!

  11. Diena Cameron March 17, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Beautiful hanging baskets, thank you. Some great ideas for spring.


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