If you want a fabulous hanging basket for a fraction of the cost, here’s what you need to do:
Gather your supplies:
1/3 bag of sphagnum moss (Don’t confuse sphagnum moss with sphagnum peat moss. They are not the same product. Sphagnum moss is the LIVING moss that grows on top of a sphagnum bog or in the forests. I buy it for about $17/bag at the garden store and one bag will line three large wire baskets.)
1 sturdy wire hanging basket
potting soil (we use high porosity soil)
1/4 cup pelleted slow release fertilizer (we use Plant-Prod Nutricote 13, 13, 13 with trace elements)
1 tinfoil pie plate
70 bedding plants (the best bets are trailing petunias and/or bacopa for sunny, hot locations and impatiens for shady, cool locations. TIP: stay away from lobelia — one missed watering and it’s gone.)
Line the bottom of the basket and about the first 4 inches up the sides with wet moss. Press it into place by the handful like lining a pie pan with pastry. Nestle the tinfoil plate in the bottom, on top of the moss (to keep the water from running out the bottom).
Mix half the fertilizer (1/8 c) into the potting soil and fill the basket up to the level of the moss. Insert a row of bedding plants — poke the root ball through the opening in the wire and lay it horizontally on the moss so the root ball is laying on the soil and the stem and flowers are outside the basket. You will need about 6 – 8 plants per row. Leave a few inches between plants. Stack another 4-inch layer of moss around the edge of the basket and fill it with potting soil up to the new level.(it’s like building a multi-layer dessert, one layer at a time) Tamp down the soil after each addition. Add another layer of flowers, staggering them so that they are placed between the ones in the level below. Use this zigzag placement all the way to the top until the sides of the basket are filled with flowers. Your last row is planted around the top edge and then the middle of the top is filled in as well.
Remember these baskets are viewed from the bottom since they are usually hanging above eye level so be sure there are lots of flowers in the sides.
Another 1/8 cup slow release fertilizer can be sprinkled on the soil in the top when you are finished planting. Give the basket a thorough soaking and hang it indoors in a sunny spot. Turn it every few days so it gets sun on all sides. Make sure you build your hanging basket about 4 weeks before you plan to hang it outside. To prevent the plants from getting too leggy and flimsy, prune them back at least once or twice so they branch out and get bushier. Stop pruning 2 weeks before hanging outside so it has time to bloom. Hang it outside after the last danger of frost — where I live that is June 15!
A hanging basket needs plenty of water every single day. Thoroughly soak it. We water our baskets with a computerized irrigation system — a spaghetti tube is anchored in the middle of the basket with a tiny sprinkler head that has a spray radius of about 6 – 8 inches. During July and August the baskets are watered 3 x’s/day for 3 minutes. Never miss a day or you will lose flowers. Feed weekly with a soluble fertilizer like Miracle Gro for blooms.
Baskets like this can cost about $150 ready-to-hang but you can make them for less than half that even if you have to buy all your bedding plants. We grow our own bedding plants from seed or cuttings so the cost is minimal. The baskets are a one-time expense because you can reuse them for many years if you buy a sturdy model with heavy chain.
If you have any further questions about anything to do with hanging flower baskets, use the comment section. Have fun and enjoy the beauty of the blooms!
16 thoughts on “How to Make a Hanging Flower Basket”
Wow, I think I can do that. Thank you Connie.
Your baskets are gorgeous! Don’t know how you have the time to do it. Maybe I’ll have to give it a try this year. Got any suggestions for keeping off big, yellow, labs?
as they used to say in the Old West…Hang ’em high!
This sounds great but I can kill any plant in record time. When we arrived in our new Texas home, someone had left us two petunia plants. I have enjoyed them, soaked them every morning before the heat of the day, and plucked the dry flowers. But there are less and less flowers and today there are only 3!! What do I do, more water or less? Can they be revived? Help, I don’t want my plants to die!
your petunia sounds like it needs less water and more fertilizer. when you deadhead — remove more than the petals — pinch off the whole hip where the flower was.
HAHA Adding this to my bookmarks. Thank You
Thanks for the great tips. Your flowers are some of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. I have the pouches. How much water do you recommend daily? Should you pinch off the buds that were missed or just the ones that have a dead bloom? Thanks for any advise. Teresa
I don’t use the pouches (plastic hanging bags?) but if you do i would think they would hold water better than the moss-lined baskets i use. We water our baskets 3 times a day with an automatic system — we run a spaghetti line with a tiny sprinkler head and give 5 min’s each time. It depends on the location of the basket — full sun? high wind? If you use wave petunias you don’t have to pinch (deadhead) the spent blooms but I always do because it looks nicer without the detritus.
Beautiful basket idea! Thank you. Blessings.
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Hi. I’m not too good with plants. I want to do this project, bit i need sompler directions pleade. How many holes and how many plants do you put in. Want to make sure so i dont overcrowd or dont do enough. Thanks.
Hi Tonya — you build the basket from the bottom up. So you don’t put “holes” in it like you would if you were using a solid weave liner. The wire basket is lined with moss and filled with potting soil. As you build, you place plants with roots inside basket and foliage sticking out. Once you have added plants on the lowest level — about 4 inches from the bottom of the wire basket — you place another layer of moss around the edge and fill the middle with a few small scoops of soil and you add another row of plants. We stagger the plants so they are not in straight lines up and down.
Decide how many plants you want to use (we recommend between 50 and 70, but you can use less if your basket hangs close to a wall because you will leave a section bare since it will be against a wall and not visible anyway). Save about 5-7 for the top and spread the rest of the plants throughout the layers. So do the math this way — decide how many plants you want to use, decide how many layers you will make, save some for the top and calculate the rest. For instance, if you use 51 plants: Save 7 for the top leaving 44 for the sides. If you have 4 rows of plants you will put 11 plants per row. You could measure the circumference of your basket to determine how far apart to place each plant or you could just set the little pots or plants in a circle on the potting table and get an idea that way of how close to put them. Remember, they grow so you don’t need to put them really tightly together.
Good luck Tonya. If you are still uncertain look for youtube videos on Victoria hanging baskets built with moss and you will probably find plenty of help.
Thank you so much. Can’t wait to try it!
Why is it necessary to hang the baskets inside first?
We hang them inside because we live in a cold climate and we can’t put out bedding plants until mid-June. If you live somewhere warmer, you could put your newly planted basket outside in early May and let it mature without danger of frost. We assemble the basket in early to mid-May and then give it a month to mature and fill out before we hang it outside without worry about losing it to a killing frost.
Wonderful to hear how you’re doing Connie! I love how you put in words all my feelings too! Those To Do lists can drive one nuts.
New normals are hard to adjust to, learning to put ourselves first is against our nature and teaching! Guilt always plagues us. Times of repair, growth and healing are from God too.
Thank you for sharing with us. Take care care and love to all!