Gardeners’ World host Mark Lane shares how to plant the perfect hanging basket in 10 steps

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Stannah’s Gardening Expert and BBC Morning Live presenter, Mark Lane, shared his tips on how to create the perfect floral hanging basket. Hanging baskets are a stunning feature in a garden or outside any home. They add colour and fragrance without you having to compromise on space and design.

If you’re looking to add a little colour to your garden or just want to try your hand at gardening, here are Mark’s 10 steps to creating a beautiful hanging basket:

1. Grab your materials

Mark said before you head to the garden centre, you should make a note of what you need.

He said you will need the following: A basket, a liner, compost, water-retentive granules, plants, a slow-release fertiliser.

“Handy extras include a strong chain, hooks, raw plugs or a metal bracket,” Mark said.

He continued: “To make life that little bit simpler, I recommend a hi-lo mechanism, which means you can pull your hanging basket up and down with ease.

“Baskets with a self-watering reservoir will help when it comes to watering.”

2. Choose your plants

While certain plants and flowers will be more or less fashionable, Mark recommended using Fuchsia, Pelargonium, Petunia, Surfinia, Calibrachoa and trailing plants such as Hedera, Lobelia, Bacopa, Dichondra and Helichrysum.

He also said herbs and wildflowers make “excellent” additions to hanging baskets.

For a “modern twist”, Mark suggests planting up succulents like Echeveria, Dischidia and Sedum.

You could also add a climbing plant which can grow up the chains of the basket.

3. Style

Mark said: “Will it be metal-framed with a liner, or a plastic one with removeable slots for positioning plants?

“Perhaps you like a natural willow basket, a half basket or a full circular basket, a self-watering basket or one with a water reservoir.”

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4. Where to position

Hanging baskets are best kept away from strong winds and placed in full sun or partial shade.

Mark said they are also best kept away from the “rain shadow of the house” and will need to be “fixed securely” with a “strong hook”.

5. Line your basket

Mark said “traditionally” gardeners use sphagnum moss to line a hanging basket but there are also ready-made liners available to buy.

He added: “If you are on a budget, then why not cut up a compost bag with the black inside facing outwards?

“An old woollen jumper works just as well as the moss. Whatever you decide to choose, place a pot saucer in the bottom to stop water running straight through it.”

6. Compost

The gardening expert said you will need to mix together water-retentive granules and a slow-release fertiliser before you start the process.

Some composts already come with both granules and slow-release fertiliser.

7. Plant position

Mark said the first thing you need to do is insert a few plants through slots in the side of the basket.

He said to put upright plants in the middle of the basket at the top and then surround that with cascading plants.

He added: “The more you can fit in, the better the display.

“Gently flatten and spread the root ball of plants so more can be added.

“Firm the compost around the plants as you go.”

8. Hanging your basket

The BBC Gardeners’ World presenter said the basket needs to hang at eye level or just below.

9. Water

Mark said hanging baskets can dry out quickly so you need to water them at least once a day either early in the morning or late in the evening.

He said you need to rotate the basket so that every part of it is exposed to some sun.

If it’s particularly sunny, you should water it in the morning and evening.

10. Start a liquid feed

Mark suggested you do this around six weeks after planting your basket.

He said to either use a tomato or seaweed feed for this.

Mark continued: “Don’t forget to remove dead flowers regularly to prolong flowering.

“If you’d like to let the outdoors in and brighten the interior of your home, you could always consider a hanging house plant.

“Opt for colours and a style of basket that complement your décor.”

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