General gardening topics

Best trailing plants for hanging baskets

Last updated on March 16th, 2022

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Trailing foliage plants for hanging baskets make 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 that can be swapped around in 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, some of which are now semi-trailing, and Primulas and Cyclamen.

Other plants need sun most of the day or shade to keep their leaves cool, however, when it comes to choosing plants, this is more of a problem in shady areas. These are things to note based on the location and direction your baskets face. 

Have a winter set of hanging baskets and winter hanging basket to swap

Don’t plant too many plants in each basket

Whatever plants 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 because these may have been around for some time without proper growing environments. Select colours and forms that complement one another. And be mindful of the size of the plants at maturity and the size of your 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 always comes down to a matter of personal preference. 


Top Choices

Surfinas and Bacopa are stunning trailing plants that come in a range of colours

Surfinia hanging basket

As mentioned there are many, many options available to choose from, with Surfinas or the Bacopa being very popular choices and they usually work well when planted in baskets on their own with 3-4 plants per 12″ basket.

Bacopa is a trailing plant (as pictured below) with small, green leaves and single flowers that come in blues, pinks and even whites. You can keep the flowers coming all season long (with frequent deadheading) 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 on a positive note, can reduce the amount of deadheading you need to do.

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.

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

Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (Creeping Jenny) are stunning and can be planted towards the back as a backdrop of colour, as are the trailing Begonias that are known for not needing as much water. Be sure to water them early in the morning or late in the evening because 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 buy non-trailing types, for example, the non-stops, which can work well. 

Trailing begonias planted in hanging basket

Consider trailing Geraniums for areas that 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.

Trailing geraniums are perfect hanging basket and 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 the masses of tiny flowers that Lobelia brings

Trailing Lobelia can be grown individually, or they can be grouped together to produce a mountain of colours. There are sapphire blues amongst 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 than most because they are more forgiving. 

Lobelia hanging basket

Try 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 that also do well in hanging baskets and come in trailing or climbing varieties. Nasturtiums are low maintenance and do well in the sun or partial shade. 

Fuchsia hanging basket

Calibrachoa (Million Bells) are very similar to Surfinias but produce smaller, trumpet-shaped flowers all summer, these are offset by the pale green leaves. These are a bit more fragile but their colours are fantastic, ranging from pastels to vibrant hues.

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 and work well in hanging baskets

Verbena is similar because it offers a range of colours to plant in your hanging basket, from deep reds, purples and even blues, all the way to psychedelic brighter shades. With these though, they are fern-like flowers that trail and do well in sun and are easy to deadhead because you just remove the flower stems when necessary.

Verbena hanging basket

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