Hanging baskets are the ideal way to provide some colour and beauty at eye level. They can be bought to hang on walls, kind of a half-moon shape or hung on hooks, a full moon shape.
What you plant on them will depend on what you are looking to achieve. For example if you want a long term basket you should use herbs, shrubs and evergreens. Alternatively a short term basket should contain vibrant bedding plants such as creeping jenny, silver falls, fuchsias, lobelias, violas, petunias in summer and crocus, iris, ivy, primulas, cyclamen and violas in winter.
Baskets for summer should be planted from April onwards but will need frost protection until the end of May. Winter baskets which do not need protection as the plants are hardier should be done between September and October.
How they should be planted will depend on what type of basket you have bought. Standard wire baskets for example require a lining which you can buy readymade. A more thrifty option would be to line them with moss. This method can also be more attractive and natural looking.
Multi-purpose composts are usually sufficient for most baskets as the majority are done to last a year and not long term. However if you have gone for the longer lasting option you will need a specialised compost. The garden centre you buy your plants from will be able to advise you which compost is best for your choice of plant.
When placing your plants into the baskets it is best to start from the centre with one good, strong plant that can be used to create a structure of other plants around it. Trailing plants such as ivy should be put at the edges to cover the sides of baskets. Always try to choose plants and flower colours that work well together.
Once planted and positioned hanging baskets require daily checks and watering throughout summer. In winter this can be relaxed although they will still need keeping an eye on. A liquid fertiliser should be used in spring, summer and early autumn. To keep your plants blooming, do not forget to dead head.