Let's talk for a minute about caring for hanging baskets and planters. . .

Nothing sets off a walkway or porch like a beautiful hanging basket or a gorgeous planter. The challenge with hanging baskets and planters is keeping them looking great. First, with both hanging baskets and planters, there are a lot of plants squeezed into a small space. Many plants in a small area use up moisture fast. Check your basket for dryness by lifting it- if it feels light, water it. Check a planter by feeling down in the soil a couple of inches- if it feels dry, water it. Most baskets and planters must be watered every day, even twice a day in windy or hot weather. If the water ever runs out of the bottom of the basket or planter before it overflows the top, it has gotten too dry, and you must water it several times over the next couple of hours to re-hydrate the potting soil. If you don’t, the plants will languish and die. Plants in baskets and planters have a very hearty appetite. Since there is no real nutritive value in the potting soil alone, the plants will literally starve to death if you do not add nutrition in the form of fertilizer. If you are planting the basket or planter yourself, add a slow release fertilizer, like Ferti-lome Garden Cote 6, or Osmocote, to the potting soil before planting. If you have purchased a basket, a top dressing of a tablespoon or so of Garden Cote every month is an excellent idea. Garden Cote releases slowly and really makes a difference in how good the plants look. It is like insurance. Even with Garden Cote added however, feeding with a liquid fertilizer like Ferti-lome Blooming and Rooting every week is necessary to keep your basket or planter in top condition. Also, be sure that the planter or basket receives the right amount of sunlight- too little sunlight and it may stop blooming altogether. If there are petunias, marigolds, or similar bedding plants in your planter, it needs at least six hours of good sunlight a day, after ten in the morning, to stay at it's peak. If your basket or planter becomes leggy and straggly, simply cut the plants back by a third to a half and in two weeks, your basket or planter will look like new.