The Pros & Cons Of Retractable Plant Hangers To Decide If They Are Worth Your Time

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Hanging planters are a brilliant way to enhance the beauty of your outdoor seating area, and there are so many types of hanging basket flowers that will look perfect on your porch, but even the most low-maintenance basket plants will require some tending every now and then. Hanging baskets are all fun and games until it comes time to water or trim your plants. Trying to reach up with the watering can or garden hose could make a mess on your porch and leave you soaked to your shoes. At the same time, unhooking the basket and taking it down each time you water it is a pain, and it could easily result in dropping plants and spilled soil. Luckily, there is a clever solution; many people have made the switch to retractable plant hangers. These convenient pulley systems are easy to install and use, allowing you to raise and lower the baskets as needed, but among other issues, they can be a little clunky to get used to. 

It's easy to see how, in theory, these plant pulleys could make life much easier. But are these retractable hangers really a good deal, or are the shiny advertisements and rave reviews just pulling your leg? Check out the detailed pros and cons of retractable plant hangers to decide if these nifty inventions are really a good fit for your garden and lifestyle. 

Retractable plant hangers allow for easier access

Because they aren't surrounded by earth, hanging plants are more susceptible to drying out, especially in droughts and hot, windy weather, so it's important to water them regularly. The biggest — and perhaps most obvious — advantage of a retractable plant hanger is that it enables you to lower and raise the pretty hanging plants in your outdoor space. Especially after watering, when the plant becomes much heavier, it's easier to lift and reset the pot with the assistance of the pulley, and no step ladder is needed. This could be a great option for people with limited strength or mobility. Of course, it's also useful for deadheading flowers, trimming old foliage, and overall maintenance for the plant. Any time your plant needs some TLC, you can just drop it down and then zip it back up.

Retractable plant hangers are generally pretty affordable — you can find a pack of eight for under $25 on Amazon. Aesthetically, retractable hangers are also more concealed than a traditional rope pulley system, which requires the ropes to be tied to a post or counterweight when not in use. The retractable plant hanger can be used indoors or outdoors. With purposes that extend well beyond just plants, it can also be helpful for hanging bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, wind chimes, and more.

The product design can still be troublesome

Most user reviews of retractable plant hangers seem positive, but the devices aren't perfect. The self-retracting mechanism can require a little finesse to use; you might have to tug a few times to get it to lock or unlock in the direction desired. Depending on the brand's quality, retractable plant hangers can face some issues with durability, twisting, or breaking if they're adjusted with too much force. Most of these products also have a minimum and maximum weight limit to function properly, so read the description carefully to ensure it will hold what you need, whether it's a lightweight bird feeder or your heaviest fern. 

Overall, a retractable plant hanger is a smart invention that proves itself quite useful, but it may not be ideal for everyone. Although these products could be one of the easy ways to increase the accessibility of your home for people with disabilities, they still require the user to be able to reach the baskets, push up slightly, and unlock the mechanism. For folks with limited arm strength, shorter height, or a wheelchair, for example, a traditional rope and pulley system tethered to a post may still be a better option. With a relatively low price point, however, it may be worth it to try these retractable hangers and determine their usefulness for yourself.