How to Create a Hanging Basket

by Fern on April 14, 2009

in Uncategorized

I recently put together a hanging basket for a client, and I was actually smart enough to take pictures as I went, so that I can show you all what I did. These particular baskets hang from iron arbors that are centered in front of the client’s dining room windows. They’re a great example of creating a view where none existed previously

These are the finished baskets, installed at the client’s home. They’re identical, and feature alstromeria, oxalis, bacopa, calibrachoa and lysmachia.

How to Create a Hanging Basket

Before we begin, I thought I’d pass along something I learned while working on these baskets. If you’re working with a basket that does not have a flat bottom, it’s easier to work on it if it’s already hanging, rather than trying to constantly balance it while putting the plants in place.

  1. Gather all your supplies together in one place. You need a hanging basket with a coconut coir lining, plants, potting soil, a small hand shovel and a pair of scissors. You might also need twist ties if the lining is flopping over.

  2. From a design perspective, there are two types of hanging baskets. The first kind is when all the plants blend together and make a “ball” of different flowers. The second kind is what I created here, where there is a centerpiece plant that all the other plants are placed around. You start by placing some dirt in the bottom of the baskt and then setting the centerpiece plant in place, so that the soil line is an inch below the lining.

  3. Next, I cut an ‘X’ shaped hole in the coconut lining, on either side of the centerpiece plant, about halfway in between the top and bottom on the basket.

  4. If you are placing multiple plants in the side of the basket, start with the plant that will be on the bottom and work your way up to the top. Add enough dirt to the bottom of the basket so that there is dirt just under the opening of the hole you just cut. Grab the plant that will be going in that hole and place it on it’s side in the basket. Take the longest vines and gently tease them through the hole. Move the plant a little closer and tease more vines through. Repeat this process (slowly and patiently!) until you have all of the leaves through the hole and the plant’s roots directly facing the lining, and pressed completely against the side of the basket.

  5.  Next, place the rest of the plants in the basket, working from the centerpiece plant outwards. You may find that some of the plants have rootballs that are too big. An easy way to reduce their rootballs without harming the plants is to gently wash away the dirt with a hose. Continue to gently (can’t use that word enough!) wash the dirt up until you have a rootball that is the size you need.

  6. Fill in around the plants with potting soil, so that all the plants are firmly in place and the soil line is about an inch below the lip of the coconut liner.

  7. Voila! You’re done!

In a month or two, the bacopa and calibrachoa will spill over the edges, covering the basket. The alstromeria and oxalis will also grow in more and fill out the top of the pot nicely.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Genevieve April 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm

What excellent instructions, Fern! I was thinking of posting a how-to on this very topic, but here you’ve done an absolutely gorgeous job of it – what a beautiful combination, and great descriptions of the process. Now I can refer clients here instead of having to write about it myself. Very cool.


Kimberly April 15, 2009 at 11:20 am

Fern: that’s lovely. I’m having a lot of trouble with side planting like that though. The dirt just falls out of the side, no matter how much I pack it in. Any advice?


Louise @ Buddy Garden April 16, 2009 at 5:16 am

It’s beautiful! I’d love to see how it turns out in a month or two.


Fern April 19, 2009 at 10:36 am

Thanks Gen and Louise!

Kimberly — Are you cutting the lining in an ‘X’? You should only make the cut just barely big enough to (gently) squeeze the plant’s leaves through. And then once the plant is all squared away, you should pull the flaps back into place around the base of the plant. Then, fill in with more potting soil and add the next plant.


meryemilymay September 4, 2009 at 11:06 pm

what a beaurifull idea fern i like how the linen looks nice tecture and the flowers close together are contrasting very nise i will try to do it


Felicity Waters April 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

i have never grown bacopa before – how much growth do you think it will get in say 6 weeks – would it get to a 20cm drop?


Fern April 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Felicity–You can often buy a bacopa plant pretty close to 20 cm long already. Young bacopa plants grow pretty quickly, but once they get closer to their mature size (45ish cm, depending on the variety), their growth slows down and they seem to focus more on getting bushier and not longer.


Felicity Waters April 19, 2010 at 10:27 pm

thanks Fern – I’ll keep a lookout for a more mature plant – I purchased a teeny weeny plug – but I must say it has grown quite a bit in 1 week


Fern April 20, 2010 at 12:24 am

I would guess that they grow about an inch a week, so that’s about 2.5 cm?


Candy Suter February 6, 2011 at 1:41 am

Great post and super info on the X hole. I always had trouble with this and now I won’t. thanks!


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