Thriving Annuals, Planters, And Hanging Baskets

Thriving Annuals, Planters, And Hanging Baskets

May is a fun month for gardeners, and we should focus on annuals, planters, and hanging baskets. This month really sets the stage for what’s to come in the summer months, and it’s a prime time to ensure that our gardens and plants flourish.

To make sure that you set yourself up for success, we’re sharing some useful things you can do in May.

Maintenance For Your Planters

Annuals and hanging baskets have different needs than plants grown directly in the ground. If you’re reusing planters or hanging baskets, you should clean them well. It’s a simple process that involves putting a little bit of Javex (or other household bleach) in the water. Usually, one part of Javex to nine or ten parts of water is good. First, scrub them clean, and then just dip them in the Javex water. This process is great for killing anything that might be living and could damage your plant’s roots.

Something else to keep in mind is that many plants often come in well-drained mixes that dry out quickly, especially when it’s warmer. Upsizing the pot and using a soil mix with moisture-retaining polymers can significantly reduce water stress. The goal really is to create an environment where your plants can thrive with minimal distress. This means ensuring that our planters are clean and also that we’re using the right ones.

Caring For Your Soil

The quality of your soil has a lot to do with the success of your plant. A common misconception is that off-the-shelf soil solutions can cater to the needs of your plants all season. That’s just not the case. Mixing your soil allows for better customization based on the type of plant you are working with. Opt for a soil-less mix, primarily peat moss-based, because it drains well and has aeration properties. That creates an ideal environment for your plant.

Enhancing your mix with sheep manure and a balanced, slow-release fertilizer ensures your plants receive the necessary nutrients. Incorporating water-retaining polymers can be a game-“spongelii”-changer, especially during the warmer months. This can reduce the need for daily watering and ensure your plants remain hydrated.

Planting And Acclimatization

The best time to plant annuals and introduce tropical plants outdoors varies by location. If you live in a city, you may get away with doing it sooner. Otherwise, this will generally be any time after the long weekend in May.

Tropical plants—such as palm trees, Boston ferns, and elephant ear Colocasia—need gradual acclimatization to outdoor conditions to prevent sun scorch and shock. Start by placing them in shaded or semi-shaded places before gradually exposing them to more sunlight; this should help prevent shock. As the climate tends to change and get warmer, year-over-year, the timeline of when this gets done could change.

Choosing The Right Plants And Styles

When selecting plants for your baskets and planters, consider their light requirements and ensure they match the conditions of their intended location. There are generally three components to a planter or hanging basket. Utilize the “thriller, filler, and spiller” approach to create visually appealing arrangements.

Thrillers add height and drama; fillers cover the soil and add body; and spillers cascade over the edges, bringing depth and movement to your composition. These three components help balance visual interest and make an arrangement look complete.

Here are some ideas for thrillers, fillers, and spillers:

  • Ornamental grasses such as purple fountain grass, canna lily, Dracaena (dragon tree), and summer snapdragon make for great thrillers.
  • Begonias, Coleus, petunias, and geraniums are great for fillers.
  • Sweet potato vines, ivy, trailing petunias, and Lobelia are great for spillers.

These simple ideas can help you create the perfect balance. If you don’t have any of these available to you, feel free to be creative and think of it as a form of art. As long as you keep in mind creating balance and the health of your plant, arrangements are fun projects.

Upsizing For Health

A common issue with potted plants, especially those in hanging baskets, is that they become root-bound or dry out quickly during extreme weather conditions. If a plant shows signs of stress, consider repotting it into a larger container with fresh, nutrient-rich soil. Not only will this give the roots more space to grow but it also helps retain moisture, which is vital to the health of your plant.

As we’ve covered in this blog, May is an exciting month for gardeners and anyone passionate about planting season. By planning and taking time to prepare your containers and planters properly, choosing the right soil mix, and knowing how to prepare your plants for various weather conditions, you’ll set your garden up for success.

We want all of our hard work to last, and while some of these tips may be known to more seasoned gardeners or any plant enthusiast, these tips will help you transform your backyard into a seasonal garden oasis that you won’t want to leave. We hope you’ll have a successful season and that your plants thrive.