From the Desk of Ed Hume: Planning and Planting Hanging Baskets

April 23, 2012 at 9:23 AM Leave a comment

This is a wonderful time to give some thought to whether you want to buy pre-planted hanging baskets or plant your own. The important questions you want to consider is where you’ll use baskets, what colors you want, and how easy they’ll be to maintain. And, whatever your decision, you’ll want to be certain you get the right plants for those sunny or shady places around your home.

The advantage of buying pre-planted hanging baskets is that in most cases they’re well-developed and in bloom. The problem is that often the pre-planted baskets don’t include the plants you specifically want. The logical answer would be to plant your own.

I’d suggest you plant hanging baskets containing the same color and variety. If the plants are mixed colors I think it looks like you made a mistake, because it is very common for plants of different colors to develop varying shapes. This is especially true of geraniums, fuchsias, and begonias. Whichever way you chose to go, here are a few ideas of some choice hanging basket plants.


Ivy geraniums, scaevola, million bells, and petunias seem to be the most popular pre-planted hanging baskets. At our house we’re switched from petunias to million bells (Calibrachoa). The small petunia-like flowers are more prolific, the dying flowers are less noticeable, and the growth habit is more compact.

In mixed hanging baskets the selection is really your choice. I hope you’ll look not only at flower color, but also consider leaf color and texture. At first, some of these names may not mean much to you, but take a look at the plants to see which ones suit your fancy.

A few trailing types include: bacopa, bidens, trailing verbena, lotus vine, sweet potato vine, creeping Charlie, lobelia, million bells, and ivy geraniums. For upright plants in your sun baskets you can use dwarf marigolds, dusty Miller, alyssum, geraniums, licorice plant, and lantana.


Fuchsias, impatiens, New Guinea impatiens, and begonias are the most popular pre-planted hanging baskets. The leaf color of some of the New Guinea impatiens is really spectacular.

If you are thinking of planting your own mixed hanging basket for a shady spot, here are a few of the best plants to consider using. In addition to fuchsias, impatiens, and begonias, you will find coleus, alyssum, lobelia, vinca vines, variegated Swedish ivy, violas, and pansies are ideal to use in shade baskets.

In my latest book, “Gardening With Ed Hume: Northwest Gardening Made Easy,” you’ll find a basic description of each of these hanging basket plants. You’ll also find additional information on hanging basket plants at


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