You are here: How to plant a hanging basket



There are many different types of hanging basket to choose from - ones you can just plant in the top, and ones you can 'underplant' too, to create a 'ball' of colour.

They come in all shapes (most often 'bowls', cones or wall baskets), sizes (indicated by the diameter, in inches), materials and colours.

The simplest Hanging Baskets to do at home are just planted in the top. If they are cone shaped, it may be best to support them in a bucket or pot before you start! Remember to make sure you pierce the plastic lining before you add compost, as drainage is very important.

Choose a mixture of Summer hanging basket plants according to the size of the basket. For 12" baskets we use 3 plants, 14" we use 6 plants, and 16" baskets we use 7 plants. We always try to add a bit of height, with an upright plant in the centre - upright geraniums are perfect!

Use 'Tub and Basket' compost, which contains 6-8 weeks of plant food, and water storage crystals. Half fill the basket with compost.

Tease the plants gently from their pots, trying not to disturb the roots too much. Start in the centre, scooping a hole for the first plant,and padding compost around. Continue planting, and raise the layer of compost until all the roots are covered, and there is a watering level of about an inch between the top of the compost and the top of the basket.

Water the basket well (it should be heavy), and hang in a sunny position.

For underplanting, you either need a basket with holes round the middle, or a wire basket with a moss liner that you will cut holes into. Once you have positioned the liner in place, making sure that it overlaps the top of the basket, add some compost to secure it in place.


Use scissors to pierce the holes in the liner - we make about 5 or 6 holes, in an alternate pattern to where you will position the plants in the top. This ensures no gaps, and a beautiful, full basket. We also select very trailing plants for round the sides, and more upright plants in the top to balance the overall shape.

Tease the plants from their pots, being careful of the roots. You will need to 'wrap up' the plant foliage to push it through the holes, limiting the amount of damage. We use a square of plastic, cut from an empty compost bag for this. Push the plants through the holes from the inside of the basket to the outside, and tilt them slightly to encourage them to trail. The plants will look squashed, but don't worry - they will bounce back very quickly!

Once all the side plants are in, cover the roots with compost. Continue to plant the top layer of the basket as we mentioned before, remembering to alternate the plants between the plants round the sides. Top up the compost layer so all the plants are securely in place, yet there is a watering level of about 2cm between the top of the compost and the top of the basket. Trim any excess liner that is sticking more than 1cm or 2 above the top of the basket - although this will be covered! 

Water well, hang in a sunny position, and watch the plants fill out and flower beautifully!

At Meadow Farm Nursery, we have a Hanging Basket planting service, so please don't hesitate to contact us for advice, equipment or planting design ideas.



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