Hanging basket plants make a nice addition to any outdoor area, whether it’s big or small, a front porch, back deck, or anywhere in-between! They add a splash of color or greenery anywhere you like, indoors and out. And, they’re a great means to enjoy plants year-round.
The reasons people like hanging baskets are as varied as the types of plants you can grow in them. For some, available space for a garden or flower bed might be limited. Others love the fact that you don’t have to worry about weeds and soil amendments. Some experienced green thumbs might just like the challenge of the confined space.
A surprisingly diverse array of plants can be grown in hanging baskets. This isn’t just limited to flowering annuals, either. You can grow grasses, ferns, fruits, veggies, herbs, and vines alike. You should always research ahead of time as some hanging basket plants grow in confined conditions better than others. They all require unique care as well.
Thinking about diving into the world of caring for hanging basket plants this year? Let’s take a look at some of the best plants for hanging baskets!
What are the Best Plants for Hanging Baskets?
- Ferns — Fern hanging baskets provide lovely green foliage and a tropical feel year-round. They look especially lovely the larger they get and their fronds cascade over the sides. Best fern species to use in baskets include Boston, Lady, Kimberly Queen, Hay-scented, and Maidenhair. Many of these species can grow to 3ft tall, so be sure to use a pot that is adequately sized.
Care for ferns is fairly easy. They love the shade, so they’re good for porches or under trees but they can tolerate partial shade too. Ferns do best by themselves since they can grow quite large. They are water-loving plants and do best in moist soil so they will require more water than most basket plants. Most ferns prefer well-draining soil. They are prone to frost damage, so be sure to bring plant baskets indoors in the winter.
- Succulents — Trailing varieties are some of the best succulents you can implement in hanging baskets. Some varieties to consider include Climbing Aloe, Variegated Trailing Jade, Ruby Necklace, String of Hearts, and Lantern Flower. Succulents offer a variety of uniquely shaped leaves and different varieties that bloom in different seasons and vary in color. So, if you choose the right ones, you could have blooms almost year-round!
Succulent hanging baskets are great for beginners because they are super simple to take care of and can withstand some neglect if you happen to forget about them for a bit. They originate from the desert, so they will hold up well in hot, dry summers. Succulents do well inside and out. But, you should keep them away from vents and electronics indoors and place them near windows to ensure they’re still getting plenty of sunlight. They should be brought in during the winter or else they will die in below-freezing temperatures.
- Grasses — Many people like to add ornamental grasses to hanging basket planters to add an eye-catching quality with its height. However, there is no reason to plant them on their own too! Some interesting grasses for hanging baskets include bamboo grass, red fountain grass, fiber optic grass, red hook sedge, and black mondo grass.
Grasses can tolerate poor soil rather heartily. Another perk is that they only need fertilizer once or twice a year. Most species don’t require a lot of watering. They are good until the top of the soil is dry about 2 inches down. Most grasses go dormant in the winter, so they should be ok outside. However, each species has different requirements, so be sure to check their low-temperature thresholds. You may also choose to cut them back in late fall.
- Flowers — Hanging basket flowers add a splash of color wherever you like. And, with a variety, you’ll have beautiful, flowing flowers all growing season! Another perk of flowering hanging baskets is attracting pollinators to your yard, such as hummingbirds and butterflies. Annuals and perennials alike make great additions outdoors. Plus, they’re a lot easier to take care of than a flower bed! Some of the best flowers for hanging baskets include Begonias, Fuschia, Lantana, Lobelia, Petunias, and Verbena.
Since perennials come back each year, you don’t have to worry about leaving them outdoors for the winter. Many species prefer moderate to full sunlight, so may be better suited for a shepherd’s hook than areas that stay shady for most of the day. Watering needs vary widely, from infrequent to regular waterings. Most prefer well-drained soil. Some flowers are more heat-tolerant than others, so this is another factor to consider when choosing flowers for your hanging basket.
- Fruits — Most people think of traditional flowers and plants when it comes to hanging baskets. But, some fruits grow well in them too! Who wouldn’t love stepping outside to grab some fresh fruit without having to stoop or bend over to pick it? Or to not have to weed it regularly? As you may have already guessed, berries of all sorts do great in hanging baskets, including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Some other good fruits that grow in hanging baskets include cherry tomatoes and certain dwarf varieties of citrus plants (such as lemons).
Growing fruit is fairly easy, even for a beginner. Bonus: Berries can be grown indoors too! Be sure to choose a large container for cherry tomatoes as they need a lot of room to grow. (These and strawberries also tend to be thirsty plants.) All berries and cherry tomatoes do well in full to partial sun with well-draining soil.
- Vegetables — Don’t have enough room for a traditional garden, but love fresh produce? A hanging basket garden may be your solution! Plus, it may even help you grow vegetables for an extended period. Growing veggies in containers also help keep more pests away from them and, again, saves you the hassle of weeding. Some people like to make “multi-purpose” baskets by combining certain veggies, such as lettuces, with flowers and other edibles, such as herbs. Some of the best vegetables to grow include eggplant, small varieties of peppers, lettuce, cabbage, peas, spinach, and mustard greens.
For plants that produce edible leaves, such as spinach and lettuce, they can stand to live in partial shade (such as overhangs and awnings). Peppers, on the other hand, take the “the more, the merrier” approach when it comes to sunlight. Eggplant lies somewhere in-between, but at least 6 hours a day is recommended. Like many of the other plants on our list, veggies need well-draining soil, which shouldn’t be an issue with your basket planter so long as it doesn’t have a plastic liner.
- Herbs — Herbs are already well-known for being perfect container gardener participants, so it comes as no surprise they fit the bill for hanging baskets too! In fact, depending on the size of your container, you can arguably grow even more than traditional containers. You can also mix a variety of your favorites or most often-used herbs in a single large container. Just about any type can be grown in an herb hanging basket, but here are some of the best herbs: Chives, mint, sage, parsley, oregano, basil, and thyme.
Growing herbs is easy, even for beginners, as they require very little care. (Other than picking what you need and making your meals more delicious!) Most herbs need about 4-6 hours of sunlight each day, so partial to full sun should suit them well. Some prefer dry soil and don’t mind the heat, such as sage and thyme. Others, such as mint and parsley, enjoy cooler, damper conditions. While they will, of course, grow well outside under the right conditions, herbs can be grown indoors year-round as well. Just be sure to put them in a sunny spot.
- Ivy, Vines & Trailing Plants — Ivy and other vining plants often come to mind when we think of traditional hanging baskets. Their timeless beauty of spilling green foliage will never fall out of favor. And their climbing nature can create intriguing focal points wherever they live. Some of the best ivies to grow in hanging baskets include English, Irish, and Persian varieties. These grow well indoors and out. Some good options for indoor-loving ivy include Duckfoot, Shamrock, and Buttercup. Other trailing plants that grow well in baskets include Creeping Jenny, Million Bells, Morning Glories, Virginia Creeper, and Clematis.
As stated above, ivy can be grown indoors and out, making them a great option if you like holding onto your plants instead of replacing them each year. They are very hardy and actually prefer drying out some between waterings, so they’re also a good option if you forget to care for your plants occasionally. In general, vining plants, if indoors, need at least 4 hours of sunlight each day. Others that stay outdoors, such as clematis, prefer full sun.
Plants Thrive In Baskets!
After exploring all of the different varieties of plants that grow well in hanging baskets, it’s no wonder more and more plant-lovers are utilizing them. Hanging basket plants:
- Add growing space
- Allow those with little to no outdoor space to still have beautiful flowers and/or produce
- Add greenery and color wherever you like
- Allow you to enjoy greenery year-round
- Alleviate the need for weeding
- And provide a challenge to experienced gardeners
Plus, you can get creative with the baskets you use as well. You’re not confined to using the plastic ones from the store. There are numerous ways to use wire hanging baskets to create a beautiful hanging showcase. Working with hanging basket plants can provide the opportunity to tap into your creative side!
Getting Started with Hanging Plants
With the multitude of different plants, fruits, veggies, and herbs you can grow in hanging baskets, you are sure to find some that fit your needs, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or think you have a black thumb. Ferns, herbs, and ivy are all easy to take care of, most of them preferring minimal shade and able to withstand some neglect. Just remember your ferns will require some extra water.
Fruits and veggies are a great addition if you want to extend your fresh produce growing season. Berries, tomatoes, and peppers enjoy the sun but require frequent watering. Greens prefer some shade as most of them are cooler weather plants. Ornamental grasses and succulents are perfect for beginners since they require infrequent watering. Lastly, flowers are a good option for adding color to sunny areas.
Ready to create your own beautiful hanging basket plants display? The friendly experts at the Owenhouse ACE Garden Center are here to help! We are happy to answer any questions you might have regarding hanging basket plants and flowers, as well as share our own stories of our hanging basket planters.