There is nothing quite like seeing hanging baskets chock full of bright flowers of all kinds, trailing over the edges and really looking their best. If you’ve got some you’ll know how hard it can be to ensure they look good no matter what the weather decides to do.
Hot temperatures are particularly challenging. If you think about it, there’s not a lot of soil in those baskets. That means they are far more likely to dry out, as the plants cannot rely on any moisture held deep down in the soil, as they would if they were planted in flower beds.
So what can you do about it to ensure your beds still look good even in the hottest weather?
Well, you can start by using water retaining crystals when you plant up your baskets each year. Mix some in with the soil and plant the baskets as normal. When you water your baskets the soil will get wet but the crystals will retain even more water. They will then release that water over a longer period, keeping your plants looking good even in challenging weather.
You can also help your hanging baskets by watering them daily, and even twice daily in really hot weather. We recently had temperatures topping 30 degrees Celsius in south-eastern parts of the UK, and even water retaining crystals and an evening soak would not have been enough to maintain the floral display. If you have a water butt, take some water out of there to soak the baskets first thing. Do it around 7am or 8am in the morning if you can, before the temperature really starts to rise (along with the sun). This gives the water enough time to soak in and prevents the plants getting scorched. Then in the evening, once the sun is setting and everything feels a little cooler, you can water them again at around 8pm.
By taking this route you can ensure they are watered thoroughly every 12 hours. It doesn’t take long and you’ll be glad you did it. If you don’t yet have a water butt or it’s empty, you can always re-use washing up water from the kitchen to soak them. Used grey water like this doesn’t do the plants any harm at all.
As you can see, once you know a couple of tricks you can enjoy better and healthier hanging baskets throughout the summer. Hot weather is something we seem to be getting more of, and whatever the reason might be it is good to know how we gardeners can cope with it. The last thing you want is to spend money on baskets and plants, only to find they don’t survive the summer. Why not try these methods this year to see how you get on?