Best Plants For a Hanging Basket

Choose Your Favorites

There are some classic plants, always used for hanging baskets or decorative containers on a deck or around the fire pit.  There's a reason for that.

Picture of a hanging basket plant in flower

These old trusted and true favorites have characteristics that make them ideal for growing for a long time in a cramped container.  These traits give them the best chance at success.

Some of the traits that breeders look for when aiming for the best hanging basket plants are;

  • Long lived (for an annual plant)
  • Lots of colorful flowers
  • The ability to withstand the occasional drought or too much water
  • Great response to being cut back if they get too leggy

This list is not extensive, there are many other candidates out there to try, but these are the genera often found in the bedding plant aisle as thrillers, spillers and fillers, so why re-invent the wheel?  There are many varieties and cultivars among these families of plants.  Which will be your new favorite?

  • Petunias - for hanging baskets, choose Wave petunias or minis.  They come in all colors except a true blue.  The ones they call blue are more in the purple or pink range. They run the gamut from huge rippled flowers, to small compact mounding plants with well behaved blooms in many variations; striped, mottled, multicoloured or classic solid colors.
  • Callibrochoa, or Million Bells, is one of the nicest small scale plants for hanging basket use.  They are prolific bloomers, and don't mind a haircut.  Either trim occasionally through the season with scissors, or deadhead them to keep them flowering.
  • Ivy Geraniums, or trailing geraniums, are a different species than the regular Pelargonium hortorum with its zoned leaves.  Pelargonium peltatum tends to flow over  the edges of any container, with glossy ivy shaped foliage, which creates a foil for the brilliant red, pink or white flowers.  Hummingbirds love this plant!
  • Lobelia is an all time favorite in shades of blue, white and even purply pink.  They are great little filler plants, beloved by bees.

You will most likely have your favorites too, chosen for their own characteristics.  There are many old fashioned classics, that remind you of your grandmothers house, or ones your Mom grew in her garden.  I choose some plants, like Mignonette, for their scent. 

However you choose your flowers for baskets, make sure to plant them closely so there are lots of color.

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