Maintain A Lush Hanging Basket All Summer With These Simple Watering Tricks

Hanging baskets can be a beautiful way to add life and beauty to your patio, porch, or balcony, but they also come with challenges. One of the most common issues is keeping the basket of plants hydrated and thriving during the hot growing season. This doesn't have to be difficult though, as tricks like feeling your basket's weight to decide when to water, watering until the soil is fully saturated, bottom watering if the hanging basket is severely dried out, and running drip irrigation directly to the basket can help ensure your basket of plants will flourish all season long.

Preparing your hanging basket to withstand the summer heat begins even before you hang it up. If you are creating your own basket, make sure you aren't overcrowding your plants, and place only three to five plants in a basket with a 1 foot diameter. You should also choose plants that have similar water requirements for your DIY hanging basket to help them all thrive, as all the watering tricks in the world won't help your basket if one plant is suffering from overwatering at the same time its neighbor is wilting from lack of water.

Know when to water and water fully

The first thing you need to know is when to water your hanging basket. That is essential for keeping it healthy all summer. Your hanging basket may need to be watered daily for much of the summer, but you shouldn't just guess whether or not your flowers need a drink. Instead, you can check the weight of your basket to see how hydrated the soil is. Dry potting mix is far lighter than potting mix saturated with water, so lifting the basket up just an inch or two should quickly let you know if it needs to be watered or if it is still heavy and hydrated.

If your hanging basket does need water, don't just give it a quick mist. Instead, fully saturate the soil and continue watering until you see water running out the drainage holes at the bottom of the basket. This deep watering also helps prevent fertilizer salt build up, which can be an issue with hanging baskets as they generally require more frequent fertilizer applications than plants grown in ground.

Use bottom watering and drip irrigation

Ideally, you should check your baskets regularly enough that your potting mix doesn't become completely dry. Bone-dry potting mix is surprisingly hydrophobic and difficult to rehydrate. All is not lost if your basket completely dries out though. The best way to rehydrate the soil is through bottom watering your plants. Remove your basket from its hook and place it in a shallow tub of water. Leave the basket in the tub for around an hour or until the soil at the top of the basket is wet and all the potting mix is fully saturated. Then, remove the basket from the tub and place it back on its hook.

A great way to take a lot of the stress and effort out of keeping hanging baskets hydrated all summer is by simply running drip irrigation to them. While this is more work initially as the line needs to be set up, it can ensure your hanging baskets receive consistent moisture and are spared from overhead watering, which could be bad for your plants in certain circumstances. This is an especially practical option if you are already using drip irrigation in other parts of your garden. Then you just need to place an emitter in your basket and use the tubing to connect it to the rest of the system.