Secrets of Hanging Baskets
Every day I have people and stop in the store here at Anderson Seeds and Garden and ask, how do we keep our hanging baskets and our planters looking beautiful through the hot, dry part of the summer?
We have a secret recipe. And I am going to share that secret recipe with you so you can keep your baskets looking great. It is incredibly easy to do. The key is persistence and consistency throughout the summer. Here is a couple of little tricks that will really help you keep those planters looking their best through the entire season.
The first thing that we do is get a 12-inch pot. There is not a whole lot of soil that is sustaining this plant. What happens is when it gets one hundred degrees outside every day through the summertime, that soil dries out quickly and it’s very difficult to rehydrate it and get it to hold the moisture.
As the soil dries out, it will pull away from the edge of the pot. And then every time you water it, the water will not saturate down through the soil, and goes down the edge of the pot and drains out the bottom. You may be watering it thinking that you are giving it plenty of water. And, what is happening is the water is just running around the outside of the soil, and just pouring out the bottom.
And you’re looking at it going ”oh it’s saturated because the water’s coming out the bottom. I’ve given it plenty of water.”
Grow More EZ Wet
The solution is to make sure that we do some things so that that water will penetrate the soil ball and hydrate that whole root ball every time you water, which really has to be every day.
Our hanging baskets get full sun all day long, especially in a southern-facing location. At Anderson’s, we use a product called EZ Wet to fix these issues.
Now with the EZ Wet, just mix it in the water that you’re going to use to water your planters with. We mix about three ounces of this per gallon and then we’ll give each planter a full gallon of water. And what the EZ Wet does is bind to the potting soil. Every time you water, it attracts the water to it. It will actually help that water penetrate all the way through the planter. But then as it gets hot, it will allow that soil to retain more moisture than it normally can hold.
Even on super-hot days, we can get away with watering 1 time to keep the soil nice and moist, even though it’s 100 degrees outside. We will use the EZ Wet once a month through the hot, dry part of the summer to help the soil retain the moisture a little bit longer.
Seedlingers Plant Fertelixir
The Fertelixir helps the plants look great. Fertelixir is critical. Not only do we want to use the EZ Wet, but we also want to use the right fertilizer and this type of compost fertilizer once every two weeks to really help that soil, to release all that nutrient, make it available to the plants. But then since you must water these planters every day, all that water leaches all the nutrients out the bottom of the pot. If you are not fertilizing regularly, your planters will not do very well.
The key is to fertilize at least twice a week, if not sometimes even three times a week. We recommend alternating with different kinds of fertilizer to keep them looking good.
All Purpose Plant Food
Second, we will use Ferti-lome All Purpose Water Soluble Plant food, which is a 20, 20, 20. It is a delightfully balanced fertilizer. It has some nitrogen in there to get them to cascade. To get your plants to crawl they need that higher nitrogen.
When describing fertilizers, the first number is nitrogen, the second is phosphorus, and last is the potassium. The phosphorus and potassium help our baskets with blooming and just general health as well too. Let us say Mondays will use this fertilizer and then we switch, and on Thursdays, we will use our budding and rooting formula and that’s a much higher phosphorus ratio to encourage all the blooms and to keep them looking great.
It is essential that you use something to help the soil retain moisture and use a consistent fertilizer throughout the season to keep your baskets and planters looking good all summer long!