General gardening topics

How to stop hanging baskets drying out to keep them flowering for longer

Last updated on April 7th, 2022

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Hanging baskets are a wonderful way to keep plants growing off the ground, adding texture and height to your garden. Hanging baskets are quite eye-catching and with them, you can dot them around a seating area with beautiful, drooping flowers and a heavy, pleasant scent. 

There are many benefits you gain with hanging baskets, one of which is having plants off the ground and away from pests. The problem though is that these plants dry out faster than those in the ground. 

Hanging baskets often have coir, which lets water go right through. Add to that, they need compost that is loose and won’t compact in the container. Most of the hanging baskets need extra slits in their liner or holes to help with drainage too, otherwise, the plants get severely waterlogged, more than plants in the ground. Without such drainage assistance, when you water, it just sits in the soil and rots the roots. 

Top 10 best plants for hanging baskets

But, with it, you have issues of water draining too well, going straight through the hanging basket, with most of it not being absorbed by the roots. That being said, if you have hanging baskets there are ways you can stop them from drying out and keep them flowering for longer. Hanging baskets, in general, need watering at least once a day in summer and sometimes even twice a day if the plants are established and there is more root than compost.

It starts with using quality basket compost that has water-retaining moisture control.

There are a few products that will help keep your hanging baskets moist for longer and help keep your baskets looking good.

Water-retaining granules

There are many brands of water-retaining granules but Miracle-Gro has Moisture Control Gel that is designed to retain water in baskets. It works by releasing crystals that absorb up to 150 times their weight in water, so when you water, they absorb it, and then they release it when the roots of your plants begin to dry out.

You simply mix the granules into the compost and the crystals work all season long so you don’t have to spend as much time or money watering on a regular basis. This is particularly useful when you go on holiday and your plants miss out on precious water for a few critical weeks during their flowering stages. 

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

Gel Mats

There are also gel mats designed specifically for hanging baskets and the Hozelock Water Retaining Storing Gel Mat is one such mat. You need only place one inside the hanging basket and it will absorb water each time you water your plants, then release it on an as-needed basis. This proves particularly useful in cases of unexpected weather where your plants need more moisture than normal.

The mat is very easy to use and doesn’t require anything more than simply being placed in the basket. You put it in, and water once per week, during which time the mat absorbs the water and saves you upwards of 90% of the water normally used. This goes a long way toward eliminating the problem that hanging baskets often have of water draining right through the baskets and never staying long enough to be absorbed. 

Hozelock 2022 8000 Water Retaining Storing Gel Mat - Pack of 4
  • Water Storing gel mat eliminates the need to mix the gel with compost
  • Saves 90 % of water
  • Allows you to water only once per week
  • Clean and simple
  • Suitable for up to 4 hanging baskets

Self-Watering Baskets

The baskets you choose can be self-watering, one example of this is the Lechuza self-watering basket. This is an entire basket system into which you put your plants. The water system in it contains a visual indicator so you know when it is time to water again. There is a liner that is removable and makes it easy to clean and care for your plant. The drainage system and plug built into the basket make it suitable for indoor or outdoor use.

Lechuza Self Watering Hanging Plant Pots NIDO Cottage 28 Rattan Look Plastic Outdoor Indoor Planter with Drainage Hole D27 H23 cm White
  • With irrigation system: the original Lechuza watering system integrated into the planter reliably provides plants with the right amount of water. With practical water level indicator for full watering control.
  • Made in Germany: high-quality, UV and weather-resistant plastic, 100% recyclable, durable and shatterproof.
  • Robust wicker look: the surface deceptively real wicker look brings rustic, charming country house flair to the garden, on the terrace and on the balcony. Available in various colours and sizes. Durable, easy to clean and durable.
  • International products have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions.

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How to make and plant hanging baskets

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Last update on 2024-06-10 / 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

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