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Spring Arrives in a Basket

Trim your home with the right plants in the right hanging baskets

Hanging baskets have become popular in home decorating because they can be hung anywhere there’s sufficient natural or artificial light. The key to succeeding with hanging baskets is selecting the proper plants for your space.

Here’s how to make the right choices.

Flowering plants such as petunias, lobelia or geraniums are mistakes for indoor decorating. All of these species need an average of six to eight hours of direct sunlight to maintain flowering. Placing them in indirect light will result in poor flowering, yellow foliage and spindly growth.

If you are seeking a flowering hanging plant inside, consider begonias or fuchsia. Many varieties of tuberous begonias and fuchsia will flower in hanging baskets throughout the growing season.

Make certain that you select a hanging basket with adequate root capacity. Many hanging baskets sold are growing in five- to six-inch-diameter containers. The plants have already been growing in those containers for six to eight weeks. Within a few more weeks, those plants will become root-bound. Most root-bound plants require frequent watering and begin to deteriorate long before the summer growing season is over.

Small hanging baskets are adequate for slow-growing species such as ivy but not for annuals and fast growing perennials. For the fast-growing species, select only hanging baskets that are eight to 10 inches in diameter and depth.

If you use hanging baskets to decorate balconies and patios that get full sun and lots of wind, select species that are tolerant to drought. Geraniums are not the most drought-tolerant plant you can buy. The most drought-tolerant species that can be grown in hanging baskets are Bermuda grass and ground-cover junipers.

Hanging basket always look great and inviting in the greenhouse or garden center. Before you buy on impulse, make certain that you first identify where you will be hanging it. Then select the species that will perform best in that location. Finally, be sure that the plants are growing in a container large enough to last through the growing season.

Meet The Bay Gardener and get his advice on pruning at 11am, Sat., April 12, at Greenstreet Garden Center on Rt. 258 between Rts. 2 and 4 in Lothian.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at frgouin@erols.com. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

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