Colour in the sky
6 spring classics for hanging baskets
To celebrate the arrival of spring, why not try your hand at planting some hanging baskets of your own? You needn’t have started your baskets ages ago for this spring look – it is quite possible to get the look in a very short time.
Having kept our ears on the ground, we know that there are new and early flowering ranges of pelargoniums like ‘Marcada’ and ‘Tacari’ for instance. These interspecific pelargoniums are very floriferous, self-cleaning, have a high resistance to weather conditions, and need less water than other peltatums. They have compact growth habits so keep a neat shape, and carry their large and showy flowers above the plant’s canopy. The semi-trailing ‘Marcada’ range flowers are either red, pink or magenta, while the showy flowers of ‘Tacari’ are available in a large range of colours including two-tone shades.
Every year sees so many new petunia ranges that it makes our heads spin! For hanging basket purposes, ask your nurserymen for those with a cascading growth habit as you want them to tumble and grow wildly over the basket’s rim. Try Petunia ‘Cascadia’ (50cm spread), ‘Tidal Wave’ (1.5m spread), ‘Shock Wave’ (90cm spread), or ‘Easy Wave’ (1m spread).
Petunias are perfect to have as an eye-catching filler in a mixed basket! ‘Night Sky’ has a cosmic appearance with dark purple flowers dotted with white marks resembling stars and ‘Amore Queen of Hearts’ is a bicolour petunia that displays five red hearts on each bloom.
Hundreds of bell-shaped flowers on Calibrachoa hybrids make them ‘must-haves’ for hanging baskets. Calibrachoas look similar to petunias, and the flowers, while much smaller, look very alike. The plant forms small mounds of leaves with trailing stems that become covered in brightly coloured flowers. Calibrachoas are prolific bloomers from spring right through to autumn. Look out for the many varieties to brighten up your baskets with flowers in virtually every colour of the rainbow. Well-known varieties include ‘Conga Pink Kiss’, ‘Strawberry Sunburst’ and the ‘Superbells’ range with ‘Cherry Star’, ‘Lemon Slice’, ‘Pomegranate Punch’, ‘Coralberry Punch’ and ‘Double Ruby’. All are excellent summer-performing annuals and are also self-cleaning (which means no-deadheading is needed).
These bordering annuals have always been the stalwarts of flowerbeds and containers, with their dainty white, sky blue or dark blue flowers. Try the semi-trailing basket range called ‘Curacao’, which have been bred for excellent heat tolerance. The ‘Fountain’ series are equally suitable.
Call on lobularias (alyssum) and more specifically, ‘Stream’ Lavender, ‘Stream’ Raspberry and ‘Stream White’. They form densely mounded flower cushions and stay in fragrant bloom for ages. Great for adding a soft and fill-in touch to a basket.
Bacopa MegaCopa (Sutera cordata)
This modern range of an old favourite indigenous groundcover has been bred for improved heat performance, a strong well-branching habit and large flowers in blue, pink and white. They are simply gorgeous to include in a hanging basket.
Note: All of the varieties mentioned can easily go it alone in a hanging basket, but if you mix them together you will create a real flower bomb of mixed colour. They are obviously not the only plants to use for hanging baskets as there are many others that are also suitable, like pansies and violas. Remove the brakes from your imagination!