Keep Hanging Baskets Beautiful

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Because the root system in hanging baskets is not able to reach out for moisture and nutrients - as it would in the ground - it is important to closely monitor the plant's needs. This is even more critical when using wire baskets stuffed with sphagnum moss. Winds pass through more easily and quickly. In turn, this dries up the moss - and, eventually, the roots.

Here are some tips to keep flowering baskets healthy and attractive:

Most importantly, develop a routine of watering consistently.

Use only soilless planting mixes - free of weeds, diseases and insects. Those with extra peat moss will keep the mix moist longer.

Don't allow plants to wilt. Wilted plants are stressed and more susceptible to disease problems.

Pebble or bark mulch cuts down on surface evaporation.

If the basket does dry out excessively, place the whole pot in a bath full of water for an hour to reabsorb needed moisture.

In hot, windy conditions, set pots in well-protected areas out of the afternoon sun. Take pots down in extreme wind to prevent damage.

During hot and sunny periods, some plants may require watering two to three times daily.

Frequent watering leaches out soil nutrients more quickly. This requires adding water-soluble fertilizer every couple of weeks.

Water abundantly until water runs from the bottom of the pot. This helps prevent a buildup of excess mineral salts.

Fertilizers higher in phosphorous (middle number) such as 1:2:1 are better for flowering plants.

Plastic pots do not allow wind to pass through the root system - so they do not dry out as fast.

Some pots have a water well at the base of the container with a wick to keep moisture levels more consistent.

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