Ride the wave: Best practices for petunia hanging baskets

Anyone can buy a colorful hanging basket but it takes a little know-how to keep them full of color all summer long. Take the following steps to ensure your hanging basket of petunias stays bountiful and blooming throughout the dog days of summer.

Six packs. If you purchase pre-potted hanging baskets, you can skip this step. If you're planting your own, choose your preferred color first and foremost. If you're looking for the most bang for your basket, be sure to choose a Wave variety. Wave petunias are a special breed that produce more blooms than your average petunias and cascade beautifully out of your containers. When you begin planting, remember that your plants will grow so leave room. It's easy to think you should really fill your basket but with Wave plants, we recommend planting about three plants per every ten inches of container. Planting too many petunias will mean that your plants begin competing for nutrients found in the soil. So to maximize the health of your plants (and save you a few dollars!), plant less for more! 

Light it up. Petunias l-o-v-e sun! They thrive off of it. So be sure to choose a home for your hanging basket that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. 

The hole thing. Yes, we're talking about holes (or drainage). Most hanging pots already come with holes in the bottom and a tray to help with excess water. If you're planting your own hanging baskets, just be sure that the baskets you choose do have some sort of drainage holes to reduce the risk of root rot and diseases that thrive in damp soil.

How dry I am. If you have potted plants already, you know just how fast they dry out as compared to those planted in the ground. Hanging baskets dry out even faster! Take this into consideration when you develop your watering routine. In early Spring, you won't need to water quite as much as you do during the summer but watering really just depends on the weather and temperature. During the dog days of summer, you may need to water your petunias as much as twice a day. Check your basket(s) on a daily basis by sticking your finger into the soil. If the soil is moist all the way through, your plants have plenty of water. If they reach a dry point, water thoroughly. 

Feeding time. Petunias do best when they're well-fed. So how often should you fertilize? You can simply add granular or liquid plant food to your watering routine about once every two weeks. If the leaves of your plants begin to yellow, try fertilizing more often. Your plants will tell you when they're hungry! 

Think you need a little additional help with your hanging baskets? Give us a visit. One of our gardeners will be happy to help get you growing!