General gardening topics

How to make and plant hanging baskets

Last updated on April 6th, 2022

Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission from Amazon and other affiliates when you buy through links on our site.

Hanging baskets are a great way to add more variety and structure to your colourful garden. Hanging baskets can be made from things you have at home or simply purchased, then hung around the garden to draw the gaze upward. Put them next to your front door, along an otherwise dull wall in the garden, and mix and match the size and shape of colours for more style. 

How to Make a Hanging Basket

Theoretically, you can make your hanging basket with strong enough wire frames. Most hanging baskets have a wire frame that provides the shape, depth, and structure. However, if you have a basket in which you can already cultivate plants or baskets you want to hang, you can use a thick chain from a hardware store such as B&Q that is strong enough to bear the weight of a fully potted container. It needs to be large enough that you can create to cross-sections that meet in the centre underneath the container, wrap around the four sides somewhat equally, and meet in the middle where they get affixed to some form of hook that you then use to hang.

You can purchase containers already made with the wire frame basket and the subsequent chain but if you make them yourself around an existing basket you have more control over the chain strength, type, and colour.

Most DIY stores allow you to purchase a chain to specific lengths so you will want to measure the size of the pot you want to use ahead of time and measure where you want to hang so you know exactly how much length of chain to buy. Not feeling quite as adventurous then there are lots of hanging baskets you can simply buy ready to plant.

How to Plant a Hanging Basket

You have two options when it comes to hanging basket planting. You can choose to use a moss liner or not. 

What you might need

No products found.

Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Plant Food Gel 250g
  • Save time and reduce the amount you need to water your plants
  • Crystals absorb up to 150 times weight in water, releasing as plants need it
  • Works all season, simply mix into compost
  • Ideal for pots, tubs and hanging baskets inside and out
  • Sufficient for 15-20 average size (30 cm) containers or baskets
Miracle-Gro Continuous Release Plant Food, 2 kg Tub
  • Feeds plants for up to 6 months, removing the needs for regular feeding
  • Temperature controlled coating releases nutrients only when conditions are right for feeding
  • Ideal for all types of plants and suitable for fruit and vegetables
  • Ideal for beds, borders, pots, containers and hanging baskets
  • Coverage of up to 40 m2

Using moss to plant a wire basket

If you want to use a moss liner, you literally spread a blanket of moss or coconut hair around the inside of the wire frame. You want to make sure that this remains thick and compact enough to hold the compost in place. Start at the base and then move your way around the sides until you reach the top of the rim. Make sure you don’t leave any holes otherwise the compost will fall straight through and leave a mess. You can continually pat the sides of the moss down to make sure it is perfectly compact.

Cut a piece of plastic with holes in it and place it along the base to help with water retention. Once this is done you can fill the basket with basket compost. As you add the compost, push it down in the centre and then along the sides to condense it. You don’t want it to be completely solid but it should be condensed enough along the perimeter that it will provide a substantial environment for the root structure to grow. You should fill the compost up to the rim of your basket.

Top Tip – If you are planting the sides and not just the top, build the moss partway up the basket and partially fill the compost, plant the plants in the sides and then build the moss to the rim and fill with compost.

Choosing the right number of plants

At this point, you have to choose the number of plants you want as well as the type of plants. If you have anything that’s between 12 and 14 inches you can plant between three and five different plants in your basket if you’re planting the top, and you may need a few more if you are planting the sides as well.

If you are growing something in a slightly larger basket that’s 16 inches upwards of 18 inches you can plant between 5 and 7 and a few more if planting the sides. But this really comes down to personal preference. You can choose one hanging or cascading plant to fill the space if you so choose and allow it to take up the entire basket.

If you are simply building the chains around an existing basket then the number of plants you are able to put in a single container is contingent upon the size of that container as well.

Choosing a centrepiece

Many people like to make a specific design with their basket, choosing an upright plant with some height like a Fuchsia, Geranium, Begonia or even a small conifer for the centre and then dotting the rim with trailing plants that will naturally hang over the side of the basket like trailing Fuchsia, Bacopa, Verbena, trailing Geraniums. There are literally hundreds of trailing plants to choose from.


If you’re going to have some artistic combination, start with the plant in the middle by scraping away from the compost to make a large enough hole and then covering the base with the compost. The base of your plant should always be level with the compost you have in your container. The same process should be repeated for any of the plants around the perimeter.

Let the basket rest and water well

Once that is done, leave the basket outside in a warm, well lit place so it can settle for a few days before you hang it. During this time make sure to water it when needed.

After a few days, you can hang your new basket and enjoy the beautiful array of flowers and colours.

Planting a solid-sided top planted basket such as a wicker basket or plastic basket

As mentioned the alternative is to use a hanging basket without moss or coconut hair. If you do this you can put in a plastic liner along the base of the basket and then cut slits along the sides and base to help with drainage. Once that is done, use the same steps as above with regards to filling with compost and planting.

Related articles

The best trailing plants to cascade over a hanging basket in summer

Our favourite plants for planting a hanging basket

How to decide how many plants to buy for your hanging basket

How to plant and care for a petunia hanging basket

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

Write A Comment