Design and Create a Hanging Basket

Design and Create a Hanging Basket

Part of Ep. 402 Planting Beauty for Your Yard and Garden

Learn how to create a simple hanging basket.  Olbrich Botanical Garden's Jeff Epping provides step by step instructions.

Premiere date: May 31, 1996

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
You don't have to have an enormous yard to enjoy blooming flowers all summer long. A simple hanging basket can provide months of pleasure. We're at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. I'm with the director of horticulture, Jeff Epping to create and design one of these natural-looking baskets. Jeff, what are the supplies we start out with for this?

Jeff:
It's basically very simple. We have a wire basket, sphagnum moss and potting soil. And here's the sphagnum moss when it's dry-- very hard to wet, so we soaked it overnight. Soak it overnight, and it's all set to go when we build the basket the next morning.
Shelley:
Okay, what kind of soil?

Jeff:
This is a soil-less mix. It's got peat, perlite, vermiculite, and bark.

Shelley:
So, actually, no soil.

Jeff:
But that's good because we eliminate all the disease problems if we use a soil-less mix. It will help retain water. It's a very light mix, too. Exactly. There's no liner on this basket.

Shelley:
You're using the moss as the liner? This is going to keep the soil in?

Jeff:
Hard to believe, but it does. You just work the moss together and push about two to three inches together and work your way around the basket until you come up to the top.

Shelley:
Overlap the pieces and keep building up?

Jeff:
If there's thin spots, just add more.

Shelley:
Let's look at one you've done. So, really, we go all the way to the top. Again, you can see it's nice and thick, two to three inches. You're hiding most of the basket.

Jeff:
We don't want to look at that wire if we don't have to.

Shelley:
Now, you've got plants already stuck in the sides.

Jeff:
These are trailing plants that we put around the perimeter. They help to fill the basket out, you know, downward. And probably, about five to six plants is enough for a basket.

Shelley:
How do we do that?

Jeff:
We just take-- this plant is helichrysum petiolatum or licorice plant. We just work our fingers in between the wires and feed it through. Once we have it through, then we just push the sphagnum back around the soil.

Shelley:
It's just sticking there.

Jeff:
Right, at this point, it is. But when we move on to the next basket, we filled it with soil and that really holds them in place.

Shelley:
In trying to choose plants, then, for the top of this-- we pick from the ones we've got in front of us?

Jeff:
Yeah. We have a variety of sun-loving plants. That's important, we want sun plants or shade plants not a mixture of the two. One of the two is going to look bad. We don't want to put something that likes sun in the shade and vice versa. Now, if these are cascading, we're going to want to go up in the middle. It's important that we put upright plants about 18 inches to a foot something to add, you know, a little up high, too. Here, we picked a petunia called fantasy pink morn. And you see, sometimes, the roots are very tight when we pull them out of the pack. I'm just breaking 'em apart in the middle. So, they'll go outward. We don't want 'em to stay in that little soil ball. We want 'em to root in very well.

Shelley:
How many of the petunias?

Jeff:
Oh, about three should be good for the middle. It depends on the plants you're using. But then, on the outside edge we'll put in about four or five-- of somewhat trailing. This is verbena imagination.

Shelley:
It's a pretty color.

Jeff:
Again, we pull the roots apart and just...

Shelley:
Tuck it in like that, then...

Jeff:
Up and around the side. Those will go out; this will go up. This one is for full sun. If we add a little bit of it will take care of fertilization throughout the season. Keep it looking healthy.
Shelley:
What about shade, then? I recognize this plant. Coleus is a shade-lover.

Jeff:
Yeah, this is pineapple wizard a real bright-leafed coleus, real nice for a dark corner. This really glows, it's beautiful.

Shelley:
This whole basket is all shade plants?

Jeff:
All shade plants-- but also hot colors: yellows, oranges, reds, in that range. So, they all blend in quite well. It will brighten up as the season goes on.

Shelley:
Here's a shade basket with pastel colors. This is a little softer color. We have whites and a couple shades of pink and some more common plants.

Jeff:
We've got impatiens, wax begonia and then we have a variegated ivy. This adds a nice backbone to the basket. It's always important to have foliage plants in our baskets.

Shelley:
So, always mix flowers and foliage never just do flowers.

Jeff:
Yeah, it really makes it look fuller and more complete. And more interesting.

Shelley:
One of the plants that I've been looking at is this one, which is just foliage.

Jeff:
Yeah, that's a beauty. That's a cultivar of sweet potato vine, called blackie and it has this nice dark purple foliage all season long.

Shelley:
That's beautiful. You've got a petunia here, too. This is more cascading.

Jeff:
Right, this one is called purple wave which is a real, nice, bright pink or purple petunia. We've got it trailing where the other one that we saw earlier was upright. In this one, we're using verbena imagination again. This one trails a little bit so it gives us a flowing basket. We don't have anything real stiff and upright. It's a softer look.

Shelley:
Is there anything we need to worry about in designing our own basket?

Jeff:
Make sure you don't over plant. If you put too many in you're going to be watering them two, three times a day.

Shelley:
They're going to look awful, too! Thanks, jeff. Water this kind of basket in the bathtub or outside. When you put the water in the top it's going to come straight out the bottom! Check to make sure the plants are getting plenty of water especially if it's hot outside.

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