How To Create Beautiful Hanging Baskets
As I shared over the weekend, I'm a sucker for a beautiful hanging basket. The problem is, they get expensive. And other than one year when one of my favorite local nurseries had a Groupon available, my sweet penny-pinchin'-hubby just isn't going to shell out $45 for a single basket. (We have two big hanging baskets on our deck alone, so just those two would cost $90 ~ eek!)
To figure out the math on making your own hanging basket, expect to spend anywhere from $35-$45 depending on the size of the pot, the nursery that you're shopping at, and the type of plants included. After doing the math last weekend, here's what we came up with:
- 5 annual plants per pot: $3.5 x 5 = $17.50
- potting mix = $4.99/7 = $2.48 per pot (assuming you can reuse some dirt from past years or even from your garden to amend the soil rather than having to purchase all new dirt)
- clay pot = free if you can reuse one (if not a new one will cost about $3)
Total = $20 – $25 per pot, compared to $45 at your nursery. It's a little more work, but if you make 3 in an hour, you just made $60 per hour! (If you can find beautiful baskets for close to $25 though, snatch them right up because they are a steal!)
Friendly PSA: if you will not keep your happy planters watered, you will not save a penny by buying something that's going to die way too soon. So if you know in your heart of hearts that you won't make a habit of walking out to your plants to water each day, skip throwing away money on plants completely. But if you can add it to your to do list each morning right behind your cup of coffee, your plants will be just gorgeous all summer long!
While I'm not anywhere near figuring out just how to make a perfect hanging basket (as evidenced by a few baskets on our front porch that aren't looking too hot right now. . . ) the ones we made out back this year are doing so well, and I'm convinced you can do this too. Here's what we did . . .
(Here's one of the baskets we found at Bennett's that was just beautiful, but with a $45 price tag ~ goodness!)
1. Find a great nursery that knows what they're talking about. When we lived in the North Alabama area, we liked Reseda's and Bennett's, because the workers all love plants, and are helpful with novice gardeners like us.
2. Once you've found a hanging basket you like, ask exactly which flowers are in it. Even though I like to think I know a thing or two about flowers, I really don't know much, and most folks who work at better nurseries have a ton of plant knowledge. A good nursery will help you find matching plants in smaller pots so you can do it yourself.
3. Buy those plants! Because the nursery is starting their hanging baskets so early in the season, the baskets probably don't need quite as many plants as you may need if you're starting later. (Although, you don't want too many plants or they won't have enough room to do well!) We used five plants (there are actually ten shown below because we made two baskets.) The basket we liked included the yellow in the middle for height, and four more trailing flowers around the edges of the basket to come down once they grow.
4. Don't forget the containers. The containers for hanging baskets can get expensive, so we re-used wire baskets from previous years, and replaced them with new coco fiber. (Ours are similar to these found on Amazon.) The coco fiber gets pretty pricey too, so if you can get it to last two seasons, you'll definitely save some money ~ I noticed these on Amazon are almost half what we paid at the nursery . . . I'll do better next year!
5. Start planting. We used Miracle Gro Potting Soil. . .
And Soil Moist (this stuff is like the little crystals that you find in ~ it helps keep the soil moist especially in the heat of summer, but you'll still need a lot of water!) We've had this container for 8 years, so even though it cost us $10 initially to purchase, it's been well worth it!
6. Plant your tallest plant in the middle, and plants that you want to spill over the edges around it.
Then, water faithfully and wait 3 weeks . . . or better yet, six weeks (here's ours after just three weeks ~ I was amazed!)
My husband and I are guessing that we spent about $20 per hanging basket by the time you figure in the cost of the dirt, plants, and new coco fiber every few years. While they're not the most penny pinched deal ever, it's something we love and completely worth splurging on because we enjoy them so much! You can also check out a peek of my hubby's (brilliant!) watering system over here ~ one of these days I'll put together a post of how he designed it but the pictures might help.
I just went to the nursery last weekend and picked up a few more items to plant ~ here's a peek at how to turn $3 annuals into a beautiful container garden (easily!)
Start with a few simple flowers . . .
I chose a superbena geranium, a few supertunias, and a superbell as well as some licorice and bacopa for my planters this year. Everything I picked is a trailing plant except the geraniums, because I love trailers in my pots.
I reused a pot from last year . . .
Added some Moisture Plus Potting Mix
And amended the soil using the leftovers from last year's pot + the potting soil to give my planter a good start.
Then I placed the plants where I wanted them to go . . . the licorice went in first (this one is so pretty as it trails!)
Then a supertunia,
And the geranium.
Once I chose where the plants were going I removed them from each pot (putting the geranium in the center to give it height),
and made sure to loosen the roots a bit so that they wouldn't weave around themselves, but instead would grow deeper in the pot.
Note ~ this is especially important with plants that have been in small cell packs for awhile and beginning to get leggy. Be sure to loosen up those roots a bit to see successful growth!
In a few weeks this pot will match or beat the one that I bought at the nursery, and I spent about half the cost (saving me a few hundred dollars and such a simple way to have beautiful containers at home!)
One other smart tip to frugally create container gardens is to re-use plants each year, which works great especially in warmer climates (but we've been able to keep our vinca growing strong even here in Ohio!) Learn more HERE, and let me know YOUR frugal garden tips too!
Do you have any tips on starting pots at home? I'd love to hear them . . . I've been so happy with these baskets this year, and am always looking for new ideas!
I'd love for you to join me over on Pinterest (I love that place!) If you have a blog and have done a little fluffing in your home, I’d love to see it, so leave your link in the comments section. Also, if there’s a craft you’ve seen on a website that you’re hoping to make, feel free to share that link as well (I’m always looking for new ideas!)
See previous home projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!
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