Last updated on April 19th, 2021
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Trailing foliage plants for hanging baskets make for a wonderfully appealing aesthetic. With hanging baskets, in particular, you need trailing plants to hang over the edges, in the form of a verdant waterfall. Such texture and variety fill a space quite well. The best part is, there are many seasonal plants for hanging baskets, and the options expand each year.
What to Look for with Trailing Plants
Consider having summer and winter hanging baskets which can be swapped around October
When you set out to find the perfect trailing plants, you need to consider the location of your hanging baskets. Some seasonal plants won’t endure the winter frost and need protection in the interim, this is why is better to have summer hanging baskets planted with begonias, lobelia, verbena and bacopa and then swap them for winter hanging baskets around October with winter pansies such of which are now semi-trailing, primulas and cyclamen. Other plants need sun most of the day or shade to keep their leaves cool but this is more of a problem in shady areas when choosing plants. These are things to note based on the location and direction your baskets face.
Don’t plant too many plants in each basket
Whichever plant you choose, be sure to find ones that are healthy in appearance when you purchase them which means buying plants from reputable nurseries and garden centres. Avoid buying any plants with yellowing leaves or faded flowers, as these may have been around for some time without proper growing environments. Select colours and forms that complement one another. And contingent upon the size of the plants at maturity and the size of the hanging basket, you might need to isolate one plant for each basket, or a maximum of two or three. A problem many people make is planting too many plants in one basket and not giving them room to spread.
Consider that different flower sizes, with roughly the same shape, will give a more patterned design to your baskets, such as a mixture of calibrachoa with petunias or bacopa. Of course, this comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Surfinas and Bacopa are stunning trailing plants which come in a range of colours
As mentioned, there are many options with Surfinas or the Bacopa being very popular choices and they usually work well when planted in baskets on there own with 3-4 plants per 12″ basket. Bacopa is a trailing plant as pictured above with small, green leaves and single flowers that come in blues, pinks, even whites. You can keep the flowers come all season without the warmer weather wilting or fading the vibrancy. These plants do well in partial shade or full sun and the wind tends to deadhead them somewhat which can reduce the amount of deadheading you need to do.
Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ and trailing begonias
Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (creeping Jenny) are stunning and can be planted toward the back as a backdrop of colour as are the trailing begonias which are known for not needing as much water but be sure to water early in the morning or late in the evening as the sun will scorch the leaves. The begonias come in a range of bedding types such as starry flowers or semi-double flowers and you can also by non-trailing types such as non-stops which can work well.
Consider trailing geraniums for areas which may not get as much water as they should
Trailing geraniums have beautiful foliage and flowers and come in a range of colours from scarlet red to pink and white. What’s more, they do well in sunny locations and are fairly drought tolerant.
Enjoy masses of tiny flowers which Lobelia brings
Trailing lobelia can be grown individually or they can be grouped together to produce a mountain of colours. There are sapphire blues among other options that stand out against the dark green leaves. These, too, won’t shrivel up midway through their growing season so you can enjoy them for much longer as they are more forgiving.
Tray mixing trailing fuchsias with nasturtiums
Trailing fuchsia do well in full sun or semi-shade. You should mix them though with pale pinks or whites that complement the dark green leaves. You can even mix them with nasturtiums which do well in hanging baskets and come in trailing or climbing varieties. Nasturtiums are low maintenance and do well in sun or partial shade.
Calibrachoa (Million Bells) is very similar to surfinias but produces smaller, trumpet-shaped flowers all summer that is small but offset by the pale green leaves. These are a bit more fragile but their colours are fantastic, ranging from pastels to vibrant hues.
Verbena is similar insofar as it offers a range from deep reds or purples and even blues, all the way to psychedelic bright shades. With these though, there are fern-like flowers that trail and do well in sun but are easy to deadhead as you just remove the flower stems when needed.