How To Plant Up A Hanging Basket With Summer Bedding Plants

How To Plant Up A Hanging Basket With Summer Bedding Plants

Create a stunning hanging basket with our step by step instructions

You will need:

  • hanging basket; (hanging basket liner + piece of plastic) – if using  a wire basket
  • multi-purpose compost
  • plants (about 1 per inch of hanging basket)
  • controlled release fertiliser
  • water retention gel
  • sharp knife


Place the liner in the basket and line with a piece of plastic; this extends the life of the liner.

Pierce the plastic about 5cm (2") up from the bottom to allow for drainage.

Put some compost in the bottom.

Pink & purple calibrachoa and fuchsia

Pink and purple calibrachoa and fuchsia

Cut slits (about 4 in a 30cm (12”) basket, depends on the size of the basket) through the liner and plastic about 7.5cm (3”) from the bottom.

Push the plant root ball through the slit (wrap in a piece of paper), carefully pull the paper away from the plant from the inside.

If you are using a large basket you may have to put in another layer of plants around the outside.

Fill the basket with compost to within 5cm (2”) of the rim.

There is a school of thought that says that you don't need the plants around the sides of the basket as sometimes they become smothered by the plants cascading down from the top and if you feed the plants well they will soon cover the sides. So you can skip planting into the sides of the basket if you wish.

Bedding plants

Ivy-leaved geranium, fuchsia and calibrachoa

Mix into the compost the water retention gel and the controlled release fertiliser, according to the directions on the pack.

The water retention gel will keep the compost moist longer in dry spells, which could mean the difference between the plants living and dying. Slow release fertiliser will feed the basket throughout the summer; you will need to feed with a high potash fertiliser, such as Tomorite, at the end of summer to ensure it flowers into the autumn. If you don’t use the controlled release feed, start feeding with Tomorite every week as soon as they begin to flower.

Arrange the rest of your plants around the edge of the basket, plus an upright one for the centre. To keep the cost down fill gaps with a cheap pack of trailing lobelia to make the basket look full and lush. Use a cheap pack for the middle; marigolds, petunias and use the more expensive single pots of plants for the central upright and the trailers.

Ivy-leaved geranium, calibrachoa and nepeta

Ivy-leaved geranium, calibrachoa and nepeta

Fill with compost to within about 2cm (1”) of the rim to allow for watering, if the compost is up to the rim when you water it will just run off instead of penetrating the compost.

Keep compost just damp, place in a warm, well lit position until all danger of frost has passed. If you put them out once the days have warmed up but before the danger of frost has passed keep an eye on the weather, you will have to cover them if there is a frost forecast.

The plants used in our basket are:

  • upright fuchsia - Brutus
  • ivy-leaved geraniums - red
  • nepeta
  • trailing lobelia - mixed
  • calibrachoa - pink and purple
  • surfinia petunia - dark purple


Angela Slater

Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas.