*This was originally posted over on the Western Gardens Blog.
Not being a big fan of Summertime heat, Springtime is one of my most favorite times of the year. It is always so refreshing after the long and dark winter months to be able to go outside to blue skies. I love the cool weather, perfect for spending time outside to enjoy all the beautiful flowers everywhere you look. Hanging baskets is one of my favorite ways to enjoy flowers – I love when they are filled to the brim with lots of flowers that cascade down over the sides, brings anyone a little more happiness to their lives.
I love giving hanging baskets as a gift to brighten up someone’s day, or for those who are getting up in age or might have bad knees because there is no kneeling down in the dirt required. Making sure you choose the appropriate flower can bring the receiver blooms from the summer months on up to the fall. Hanging baskets can add so much to a sunny wall, or brighten up shady areas as well.
One of the most important things you need to consider is if the space you want to decorate has full sun all day, or if it is in the shade most of the day. If you plant flowers that need lots of sunlight in the shade they will not do as well, the same is true if you plant shade lovers in the sun you will run into some problems. You can have each hanging basket be dedicated to one type of flower, or you can mix different flowers in each basket giving different colors and textures. Just be sure to put Shade Lovers together and Sun Lovers together to avoid any problems and get the most beautiful blooms. You will also want to make sure you get the trailing variety of flower for your hanging baskets.
Shade Loving Plants
1. Lobelia – (annual) Most varieties of Lobelia are compact and grown only 3 to 5 inches tall, others will grow up to 3 feet. Colors available include white, pink, red, and blue. The violet-blue is probably one of the most commonly seen. Lobelia are great from about mid-summer, continuing on up to the first frost.
2. Fuchsia – (perennial) The fuchsia flower is a beautiful and exotic flower that stands out because of its very unusual shape. They can be grown anywhere in your garden, but will grow best in hanging baskets. They prefer temperatures that are a little cooler and don’t do as well when they get too much sunshine. Too much hot weather will weaken the fuchsia plant so if you have days that are hotter than 80* ( which is pretty much all Summer here in Utah), make sure you keep it in the coolest spot possible in the shade. Before the first frost of Fall, you can keep your fuchsia growing by taking it inside your home for the winter. Once Summer hits again, you will be able to take it outside, and enjoy all Summer long. Colors include shades of pinks, purple, coral, and white.
3. Trailing Pansies – (annual) Pansies have been said to need almost little care, and the color combinations are almost limitless! If you will pinch off the dead blooms (deadheading) you will see longer periods of blooms through the Summer and fall depending on how cold it gets.
4. Impatiens – (annual) You should only plant your Impatiens once all danger of frost has passed. They are very sensitive and will need to be watered on a daily basis, and when temperatures reach over 85° they will need to be watered twice a day. One nice thing about Impatiens is that they do not need to be deadheaded, and they will continue to bloom all season long! Colors include shades of pink, white, purple, red, and orange.
5. Sweet Alyssum – (annual) This is a perfect plant for Utah, as they are very hardy and can withstand the heat and droughts we experience here. Sweet Alyssum flowers have a sweet fragrance (which is one of my favorites ?) Alyssum is not frost-tolerant so you will want to wait until after danger of frost has passed to plant. Alyssum plants will self sow and can add beautiful color year after year if you decide to plant them in your garden. Partial sun/partial shade is best for Alyssum. Deadheading is not necessary. Colors include purple, white, pink, yellow, and sometimes peach.
6. Heliotrope – (annual) Heliotrope has such a delicious aroma- some people say it smells like vanilla, while others feel it smells like it’s namesake of cherry pie. They are drought and heat tolerant and are a great deer repellent. They are long bloomers that will bloom through the Summer up until the first frost. Heliotrope plants grow in one-sided clusters that follow the sun. One warning if you plan on having Heliotrope is that all parts of the plant are poisonous to humans and animals if ingested, so you will need to make sure you keep them away from children and pets. Colors include varieties of white and pale lavender, and deep blue.
7. Million Bells – (annual) They are also known as “mini petunias” or “trailing petunias”. This is an easy one to care for as you do not need to do any deadheading and the flower will continue to bloom non-stop all season. These are a great flower as they also attract hummingbirds and butterflies, which are so fun to see! The flowers grow in shades of violet, blue, pink, red, magenta, yellow, orange and white.
8. Geraniums – (annual), These lovely plants need to be in an area with at least six to eight hours of sunlight. Since these plants must be protected from cold, wait until the threat of frost has passed before planting. Watering daily is important. The colors of geraniums grow in white, pink, orange, red, purple.
9. Petunias – (perenial) They need to have regular watering and as much sunlight as possible to promote multiple blooms.When deadheading the petunias, make sure you remove the blooms AND the seeds. Color choices are nearly limitless, and some even have beautiful veining.
10. Lantana – (perennial) Lantanas are planted in the Spring, once the threat of cold weather and frost are gone. Lantana prefer warm temperatures, so mid-Summer they’ll give you an abundance of blooms. When you first plant your Lantana, be sure to give them plenty of water until they are established. They require very little after, and will only need to be watered about once a week. Make sure you do some deadheading every now and then, as this will encourage more blooms. The Lantana also attract butterflies and hummingbirds, which is always fun! Colors include red, yellow, pink, orange, and purple.
There are several other flowers that are perfect for hanging baskets, and if none of these suit your fancy don’t hesitate to ask one of the associates at Western Gardens. They were extremely helpful to me and I am so excited to see what happens with my hanging baskets this season!
What is your favorite flower?
See the Happy!