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South Dakota Home Garden: Hanging Baskets

Now is the time of year that people love to have hanging baskets. Hanging pots or baskets can bloom all year and give color to your outdoor living space. The trick is to keep the plants blooming all summer. Erik Helland has some tips on how to care for and maintain your hanging pots.

He says the first step is pot size. “The bigger the hanging basket, the better,” said Helland. “Why is that? Well, the hanging basket dries out faster than anything that's going to be sitting on the floor or that's in a larger container. The bigger the pot, the more volume that you can have to hold more moisture. So, if you're gone for a weekend, your plant can make it throughout the weekend and you don't have to come back to something that's shriveled up.”

Helland also says to water your hanging plants until water comes out of the bottom of the pot. That way, there is water everywhere in the pot and when the plant needs it, the roots can find the water. Helland recommends paper mache pots, which do not dry out as quickly as plastic hanging pots. No matter what kind of pot you use, you will want to water twice a week.

Hellad also has some advice on trimming plants in hanging pots.

“If you must trim them because they're getting kind of crazy, that's fine,” Helland said. “Remember, whenever you cut anything, it will initiate more growth. So, if you have to trim it back, just expect more growth. Growth means more food, more water, add more fertilizer, add more water.”

Finally, Helland says, make sure your hook can hold the weight of the plant. Test the strength of your hook and making sure it is secure. The plant will also weigh more when watered so take that into account - and remember the effects of wind on the location of your hanging pot so it doesn’t become damaged. If you are going to be gone for a few days, take your pots down from the hook. This will help to avoid damage to the plant from sudden storms or strong winds.

South Dakota Home Gardens: Hanging Plants