Hanging Flower Basket Advice Needed

Hanging Flower Basket | CreativeCainCabin.com

In my attempt to keep to a strict budget for unneeded items I’ve decided to replant my hanging baskets from last year and I need your advice. I purchased 2 of these very full, lush baskets last season and paid $50 each for them (I know, crazy right?) After the flowers were spent I pulled them out and added a fall arrangement after that I removed it all and kept the baskets. Right now I have the baskets setting in the sun to warm the soil. 

Here’s where I need some help….my plan was to buy a 59 cent package of wave petunias and replant the basket myself. Sounds much cheaper doesn’t it? I’ll move the baskets into the house until there’s no chance of frost and keep them in the sunlight. Do you think this can be done and achieve a nice basket again? I know I will need to fertilize along the way and not overwater while the shoots are young. 

Hanging Flower Basket | CreativeCainCabin.comAny advice you can give me would be great. I’d love to have blooms again for pennies, and would be delighted if it actually worked. So for all you gardeners out there throw in your 2 cents, I need all the help I can get. 

Should I replace the existing soil, when should I fertilize, any specific brand of seeds that seem to be more productive, how many seed packets to one hanging pot? You get the idea…..



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  1. Dawn, do you have the b home app? You can ask Stephanie from Garden Therapy on there or go to her blog gardentherapy.ca .
    I am sure she can tell you.

    1. Kim, I have the app but have never even looked at it. I will do that today, thank you:)

  2. Mary Warren says:

    I’m no expert, but I would start the seeds in little store bought seed starting pots or trays…..then, once they have secondary leaves, pop them into the baskets. Fertilize and enjoy!

    1. Mary, I have all that stuff so I can do that, thanks for the idea ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I would start the seeds now in small pots inside, and when they are ready I would change the soil in the hanging basket and add the seedlings. Another option is to buy ready started little plants. That is what I usually do and it works out well. I add bits of wandering jew, stringy stonecrop or creeping jenny to fill it out and give some hanging interest till the small plants take hold. The only time I buy ready made planters is when they are on sale for about $7 at Walmart. Good luck with yours.

    1. Linda, yes I can do that but was trying to avoid the cost ๐Ÿ™ It’s crazy how much they want for a flat of flowers.

      1. We have 6 pack of starter plants for about $2. As long as you start the seeds off well ahead of time, you should be okay. I’ve enen used volunteer plants from mt perennials and they do well.

        1. Linda I was planning on starting the seeds this week in hopes they’d be ready to put out June 1st, that’s about when we’ll no longer have a threat of frost.

  4. When I re-use containers I always clean the container well making sure there are not bugs/bacteria and replace the soil…I think starting them in small starter pots is best…but I read Kim’s comment and Stephanie is a great resource.

    1. Shirley thanks for the help I will get them cleaned out today and do some reading.

  5. What you bought for $50 were the hanging baskets–they were filled with inexpensive Calibrachoa, also called Million Bells, a cross between a Petunia and a Verbena..very easy to take care of, comes in a zillion colors and perfect for hanging baskets. They spread out because technically they are a ground cover, and don’t require a lot of space for roots. Like the Petunia, they are usually done by the end of the growing season (if they do survive until the next year, they tend to be a bit thin and ragged). You’ll find Calibrachoa in the same nursery where you find Wave Petunias. They look better in smaller baskets than the Waves because their flowers are more dense. And like Petunias, you should dead-head regularly to keep them blooming and trim back anything that looks scraggly to keep the denseness (is that a word?). And, yes, fresh potting soil is a must–a little slow-release fertilizer is, too. Water regularly in hot weather.

    1. Nancy, I had no idea they weren’t wave petunias the tag was wrong then. LOL It was the BHG line and I can’t believe how expensive they were. Maybe the Calibrachoa will be easier to grow?

  6. I would definitely change the soil. All the nutrients from the existing soil are probably gone. Why don’t you just get a couple of six packs of bedding plants and do it that way? It would maybe cost a few dollar each but would be easier than starting from seed. Just a thought!

    1. Ann I may end up doing that, and just fertilizing to get them full.

  7. crafty.grandma says:

    If you do buy the seeds in the packages, put them on a wet paper towel, cover again with the pt. for a few hours then plant as usual. They seem to grow faster than seeds that aren’t wet. I would definitely start them in little containers or if you drink bottled water, cut the tops off and use the bottom. Spray them with a mister! otherwise you will drown them. If you plant bulbs, put them near a window for heat and light …I planted mine two weeks ago, they saw some sun and are growing like crazy! Now we just got a dump of snow (again sigh!) hope they don’t get depressed! I talk to my plant (it’s ok hubby knows I am crazy!) Just remember when you grow plants from scratch they aren’t near as big as the plants they sell at the nursery. Get good soil for your flowers – I grow mine in Miracle Gro and boy do they grow…read the label to see if your soil is already fertilized…if so usually later in summer you can add a bit or if I see my plants aren’t doing much …a little bit of food and they perk up! I am no expert just learning by trial and error. If all else fails, plant fake flowers (you can mix it up too) and have all the neighbors jealous of your flowers…from far they look great!!! Have fun and happy gardening!!

    1. You crack me up, my mom uses the fake flower method and I just cringe every time I see it LOL. I used to start all my garden veggies from seeds inside under lights but have never tried flowers, I guess they would be the same. Oh and yes, I always mist not water those poor shoots bend right over and die from the force of the water. Maybe I should put a few starters in the pot and some seeds. I have the Miracle Gro soil so I can add that to the basket. Thanks for all your help ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. crafty.grandma says:

        LOL!! Desperation is the word I would use when I used the fake flowers. I have two flower boxes on my garden shed and there is little or no sun. That summer was nothing but downpours of rain the kind that accumulate in the soil and create great mud packs. You can see the shed from the street when the gate is open and I guess pride got in the way….people would actually stop and stare at the flowers….from far of course!!! I never said they were intelligent or knowledgeable in gardening!! LOL!! some fake flowers are so realistic unlike the ones my mom used to have !

        1. LOL yes the ones my mom uses are not realistic at all, she always seems to find strange colors that aren’t true in nature.

          1. my 97 year old neighbor always had flowers in her garden and as she got older the more fake flowers would be added and when I tell people that it is mostly fake flowers they do not believe me.

          2. Angela, that’s unreal I’ve never seen any that look realistic. I will have to keep my eyes open for some ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Great advice! I am glad I read all the comments so I could be schooled [green thumb I am not].

    1. Windi, I can’t grow a house plant to save my life but I normally do just fine with outdoor things. No green thumb for me either ๐Ÿ™

  9. Marilyn Wallace says:

    Wave petunias are great and expensive, they are for a larger area than a hanging basket. Much easier and better to get some started plants that you like and set them in your baskets when the weather is warm enough. They are not expensive, a couple dollars for a six pack. You will want enough plants to fill out the basket quickly to make it look nice early in the season, but won’t take that many plants. Depends on the size of your basket…..probably either 4 or 6. Have fun!

    1. Marilyn, this basket is huge and I can hardly lift it. It’s like the ones you see on city streets hanging from the lamp posts. I think a whole flat of petunias would fit into this basket.

  10. Hi there! Oh the choices we have to make sometimes! I do hope whichever method you decide on, that you show us the progress along the way:) good luck !

    1. Lisa, I will keep you all posted, if I ever make a decision, LOL

  11. One thing nice about planting your own is you can put what you like with them. I love Wave Petunias and Calibrachoas too but I add trailing Lobelia to the pots as well for a touch of blue. I am in the camp of buying some inexpensive 6 packs, starting seeds now would have you waiting a long time for a full blooming basket.
    You can use the old soil easily if you wish. I do it all the time. You will need to dump it out and mix it with screened compost and a bit of perlite or a bit of fresh bagged potting mix if you don’t have a compost pile (since you have such lovely garden beds I am assuming you have a compost pile). The caveat to that is if you used a “blue” chemical fertilizer to water that basket last year then yes you must replace the soil, that stuff binds up any nutrients in the soil and makes it impossible for the new flowers to benefit. No matter what you use the soil will leach the nutrients out very quickly so feeding will be essential. You can add a slow release fertilizer to the soil mix, I am an organic gardener and I mix in Worm castings. Then throughout the season I use Spray N Grow foliar feeding. It works wonderfully, is organic and makes nutrients available to plants even when they can’t pull them up from the soil. My baskets teem with glorious flowers all summer long.
    Once you plant the Calibrachoa and let them grow a bit they will tend to be a bit scraggly from the lack of light in your house, even in a bright window they will struggle so pinch them back to make them get fuller, they will branch lower on the plant and fill out for a lusher, fuller look. Wave Petunias are the same way. Plus if you are game for it you can root the cuttings. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Pam, yes I used the blue fertilizer last year, I had no idea I couldn’t use the soil after that….good to know. I have plenty of soil in my compost bin and also soil dug from our pond. I will have to look for Spray N Grow. Thanks for all the tips ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I replant my hanging baskets every year Dawn..I do put new soil in and buy plants a the greenhouse..I only buy new planted baskets if they have a low clearance price..Good luck!

    1. Nancy, so glad to hear you have success. I guess I can’t go wrong with giving it a try so I’m going for it.

  13. Ann Hubble says:

    Gosh, I’ve learned so much from all these comments! I’m going to try to reuse my baskets from last year. It’s hard for me to pass up those gorgeous baskets in full bloom.
    Thanks to all you gardeners.

    1. Ann, I know what you mean they are enticing but so expensive ๐Ÿ™

  14. Hi Dawn,
    Those baskets are great and you should re use them. I would definitely clean them well and put in new soil. I think if you buy a few 6 pack petunia’s and use the miracle grow you will be amazed at the results. When I do my garden petunias I only do a few and then just fertilize them once a week and they will triple in size and spread out so nice in your baskets.

    1. Kris, that’s great advice because your’s area always gorgeous.

  15. Dawn I’m no expert but I’ve bought the expensive baskets and then I’ve planted my own too. I’ve never started plants from seed. I’ve bought bedding plants for just a dollar or two and it worked out great. I’ve always used fresh potting soil each year too. At my local garden center I was told that by mid summer the baskets you buy are sometimes already root bound because they have been planted so early in a greenhouse to get those big beautiful baskets we all love. By planting your own you can avoid this. Also, A tip from my local garden center is to water until the water comes through the bottom drainage holes. That way you know the water is getting through to the root system. Hope you share a picture of your baskets when you get them planted too.

    1. Becky, Thank you for all your tips and yes I will be back to show you what I come up with and how it’s going ๐Ÿ™‚

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