Zocalo’s hanging flower baskets are full and lush, and should last you all season long. Here’s five tips to ensure they make it to freeze up.
1. Choose the right basket for your conditions. Different baskets will thrive in different conditions. Have a shady spot? We’d recommend a begonia, fuschia or, if you get some sunlight, calibrochoa. Sunny location? You’re lucky, most baskets will thrive in sun (except the begonia and the fuschias).
2. Water thoroughly and often. Flowers in baskets need to be watered more often than flowers in the ground. Particularly baskets exposed to direct sunlight or winds. An easy way to check if it needs watering is to lift it. If it feels light, it needs to be watered. To be more precise, dip your finger knuckle deep in the basket. If it feels dry, it needs to be watered. When you water it, fully drench all of the soil in the basket until water streams out from the bottom of the basket. Be careful that the water is just not running down the sides of the basket and out the bottom. It needs to drench the soil. In the hottest and windiest areas they will need to be watered everyday.
Soak if necessary. If the basket has dried and the soil has become hard and water-resistant try immersing the entire basket in a bucket of water for up to an hour. You will need to re-hydrate the medium in order for those roots to be able to find the water.3. Feed Your Basket! Because you’ll be watering so often, the soil will quickly lose nutrients. Feed with a general 20-20- 20 fertilizer when the soil is moist. A low-level concentration of fertilizer every second time you watering is best. Make sure the soil is wet and then fertilize at about 1/10 the concentration of fertilizing once a month. For more information on the different types of fertilizer, see our blog post here.
4. Remove deadheads. When you notice a flower diving or looking faded, pinch it off where it meets the stem. Be sure to take off the full calix (green part surrounding the bloom). This will promote new flowers and reduce wasted energy on creating seeds.
5. Cut back in July. The hanging baskets can become a bit open looking and thin over time. If any of the stems are looking very weak and pale, feel free to cut them back. As difficult as it may seem, a mid-summer trim (up to 12 inches off, but never more than a third of the plant) is crucial to keep it staying fresh and not getting “leggy”. Most of the plants in our hanging baskets will see this as growth encouragement.