Hanging baskets: ‘Easy way’ to check if your flowers need watering in summer

Homebase UK provide advice on June gardening jobs

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Depending on the plants planted, some hanging baskets need full sun, others partial sun and some shade. However, what they all have in common is that they need to be watered, on a daily basis, especially in summer. In fact, some baskets in the full sunshine may even need watering twice a day during a heatwave. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has shared top tips on how to know when to water hanging baskets this summer.

The RHS said: “Check baskets every day in summer, watering always unless the compost is wet.

“Drying out is an increasing risk as the plants grow and days remain warm or windy.

“An easy way to check if they need water is to gently lift or nudge the baskets to gauge how heavy they are.”

According to the RHS, if they feel really light, they need more frequent watering.

The experts added: “Try to avoid them drying out to the point where plants start to droop (wilting point).

“If they do wilt, you can place a bucket underneath to capture the water that runs off the surface as you water them and return it to the basket.”

This can also save losing soluble nutrients that are needed for flowering.

Gardeners should also avoid wetting the foliage and flowers, aiming for the compost only.

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Watering the foliage can result in them being crushed or scorched.

Hanging baskets also need regular checking during the winter months too.

The experts said the compost should be kept moist but not soggy.

To help “retain” water, gardeners can use different tricks when planting their hanging baskets up.

The RHS explained: “Place a small circle of plastic (cut from a margarine tub or similar) in the bottom of the basket before filling with compost to create a saucer that will help stop water running straight out of the bottom.

“Once the basket is filled, place a small empty flower pot in the centre to take the water and allow it time to soak in rather than running off the surface of the compost.”

Gardeners can also use self-watering baskets.

As well as watering carefully, hanging baskets also need to be fed.

The RHS said: “In spring, summer and early autumn (April to September), apply a liquid fertiliser, preferably after normal watering.”

Deadheading can also encourage hanging baskets to grow fuller.

The experts said it can help to prevent the plants’ energy going into seed production, rather than more flowers.

Hanging baskets rarely have any problems if they are cared for properly, but most problems are related to watering.

If they are not flowering well, it could be down to over or under watering.

The RHS explained: “If compost becomes dry, it is difficult to rewet and tends to run off the sides and dry areas may be left in the compost even after a thorough watering.

“Keep the compost just moist by frequent but small amounts of water.

“If you water until it runs out of the bottom of the basket, soluble nutrients that the plant needs to flower will be washed out of the compost as well as waste water.”

Hanging baskets may also have problems flowering if they are being fed without sufficient feeding.

Plants roots’ can be damaged by liquid feed that is not diluted correctly.

The RHS recommended always following instructions on the pack.

They said: “Water the basket first before using diluted feed.

“Fed one a week with a liquid fertiliser, although not all composts need feed, check the bag for instructions.”

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