Flowers

Get an eyeful! The best flowers for hanging baskets

With dazzling colors and masses of blooms, calibrachoa are the new favorite for baskets and containers.

Cali’s, as they are more often called, flower prolifically, don’t like to be over watered or fussed over and are vigorous growers that quickly fill the hanging basket.

That ticks all the right boxes as far as hanging baskets are concerned because there is nothing worse than a scraggly plant that is supposed to be the main feature on the patio.

Calibrachoa ‘Pink Hawaii’ (above) is a semi-trailing variety that captures the tropical flavor of Hawaii with its dazzling mix of cerise-pink petals, gold stripes and deep purple eye. Plant it in a basket that is at least 30cm in diameter and show it off in a position that gets plenty of morning sun. Keep the soil moist and feed once or twice a month with a liquid plant food.

Other cali’s with star-quality blooms are Cha-Cha ‘Diva Apricot’ (above) and ‘Diva Hot Pink’ that combine the basic colors of apricot and pink with splashes of yellow and white to produce multi-color blooms. These calibrachoa are super-reliable plants, vigorous and their large blooms cascade easily over the edges of large containers, baskets and raised beds.

See how beautifully they combine with pots and baskets of yellow daisy-type bidens and verbena ‘Purple Wink’ with a bright white eye.

Versatile verb

‘Firehouse Red’ is the apt name for this verbena that is suitable for hanging baskets because it grows into a rounded shape, and never stops flowering. New flowers are opening as the old ones die. ‘Purple Wink’ (below) is another vibrantly colored verbena. The foliage is tough and disease resistant. Place in a position that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Plants are available in eight different colors including pink, lime, purple fizz, and lavender.

These all year round plants will flower through winter in a warm, sheltered position.

Best of both

Petchoa ‘BeautiCal’ combines the best of both petunias and calibrachoa. Plants flower like calibrachoa, with a multitude of blooms in a large range of colours. The flowers are larger, closer in size to petunias, but the blooms are more weather resistant as plants recover from rain much faster than standard petunias.

The bloom colors are unusual too: cinnamon, caramel yellow, yellow sun, French vanilla, sunray pink and Bordeaux. The compact, rounded plants, 30cm high with a 45cm spread, are suitable for pots as well.

They flower best with plenty of sun and feeding once a month with a liquid fertiliser.

Tips for hanging baskets

Afternoon sun is too hot for hanging baskets. Choose a position that is exposed to plenty of morning sun.

Choose ‘self-cleaning’ varieties where the flowers drop off when over, then it’s not necessary to dead-head.

Wire baskets with a coir lining offer the best drainage and aeration.

Don’t let baskets dry out and water once a day during warmer weather

Feed with a liquid fertiliser at least once a month to encourage new flowers and growth

Don’t be afraid to trim plants to keep them in shape.

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