Mixed Hanging Baskets
Pages in this article:
If not suitable for use alone, almost all of the new vegetative annual species look good when mixed with other species or cultivars. They can be mixed into combination hanging baskets if they are small growing, mounding and/or trailing plants or into container gardens if they are larger growing. Knowing how to mix them and which ones to mix together is the challenge.
Combination baskets offer the advantage of marketing “companion plants”, so-called because they do not have the fullness in form to stand alone in a monoculture basket but when mixed with other plants they are able to grow in harmony. This includes less than “perfect” plants like those having knobby knees (not much foliage on the bottom), long necks (long flower stalks and floppy flowers) or bald heads (flowering is lacking on top).
Mixed baskets are where small and medium sized growers can become specialist and set themselves apart from the mass-market. It’s like the difference between gourmet and fast food. The creme-de-la-creme gourmet mixed baskets are 12-inch containers. We have found that 12-inch mixed baskets will accommodate 10 to 12 plugs and that they should be planted in the plug stage in order to get lots of variety of color and texture in the basket. Transplanting plugs into 4-inch pots and then into baskets later limits the variety that you can plant in one hanging basket and is much more labor intensive. One idea is to plant mixed baskets in stages, planting slow growing species early and adding fast growing species later in the spring. Baskets could be grown on benches to allow better control of watering until the final planting and spacing.
Next Page: Constructing Mixed Baskets