autumn hanging baskets

Autumn Hanging Baskets

Although spring is synonymous with bright floral hanging baskets, they can actually be hanging around in cool seasons too, with a few changes. Here are some good ideas for autumn hanging baskets.

The old-fashioned hanging basket was probably the first step to full-on vertical gardening, which is so on trend today. To spend a few leisurely hours creating decorative hanging baskets is one of the pure joys of gardening, and that’s no lie! But you have to know a trick or two about proper soil preparation before you start planting.

Good tip: after taking the plant out of its nursery container, check its roots. If they have formed a thick mat at the bottom, tear some loose and discard them. This will encourage the remaining roots to anchor better and faster into the soil.

Prep a pail of soil…

A hanging basket is a very contained space for robust perennial plants. They also dry out extremely fast, and once filled with soil and planted up they can be very heavy. You can overcome all of these problems with a light, water-retentive and nourishing soil mix.

Mix together

  • 1 x 5L bucket of best quality potting soil
  • 1L of coconut husk (palm peat)
  • 1 handful of bonemeal
  • 2 handfuls of EXL Gel, pre-mixed
Notes: The coconut peat is sold in a compressed brick form. Soak it in five litres of water first to loosen the husk. The EXL Gel is a water-retentive product. Simply add a 5g packet to 1 litre of water, stir, and let stand for 15 minutes.

Prep the basket

Garden centres stock a wide range of hanging baskets. We picked large woven baskets already lined with plastic and fitted with chains for our autumn hanging baskets.

  • Place the basket on a large, empty plant pot in order to work more comfortably and to keep it steady.
  • Punch a few holes in the lining of the basket for drainage.
  • Fill up the basket with a little of your soil mix and start arranging your plants inside it before filling it up with more soil to a few centimetres below the rim.

Basket 1

Choosing a little conifer like Thuja occidentalis ‘Rheingold’ for an autumn hanging basket might be an unusual choice, but actually makes perfect sense, as it is short, squat and rounded with a painfully slow growth rate and a small root ball. It is highly recommended for pots and small gardens. The fine foliage has very dramatic seasonal changes, turning from golden yellow tipped with cream, pink, and bronze in summer, to a very intensified gold and deep bronze in winter. Filling the gaps around the cypress are Ajuga reptans (carpet bugle). This groundcover has long, narrow, obovate leaves with a deep burgundy tint and produces small blue flowers in spring.

Basket 2

The centrepiece for this basket is Alternanthera ‘Green and Gold’, a mounding groundcover with two-tone golden-yellow and green foliage. The sides are covered by Ajuga reptans and the end result is a perfect combination of two contrasting foliage groundcovers.

Basket 3

Sedges are tuft-forming ornamental grasses suitable for mass planting in cold and frosty areas. They are particularly beautiful and bright in the cool months and that is why we also love to contain them. This hairy hanging basket is home to three very full and lush Carex ‘Amazon Mist’ plants. This carex hybrid resembles a very dense head of hair in a curling back bob style. The narrow leaves are blue-green on top with a white underside creating the ‘misty’ look.

The Gardener