Hanging baskets always suffer in the heat, and are hard to re-wet when they dry out. Following our fortnightly routine will help keep even your most delicate baskets happy and hydrated over summer. Pictured is a winter basket of scaevola, dichondra, plectranthus and viola. You’d swap out the viola for summer.
1 Start with some detailing, sifting through and removing dead and diseased material. Prune anything that’s getting out of shape and detracting from the display.
2 Fill a large vessel with enough water to cover the potting mix when the basket is submerged. Add some liquid fertiliser to the water, according to product directions, and mix well until diluted. Every few months, add some wetting agent to the solution, too.
3 Lower the basket into the water and gently push it down until the potting mix is completely covered. Allow it to soak in the water until bubbles stop rising to the surface (about 10 minutes), which indicates that the potting mix is saturated.
4 Lift the basket out of the water and rest it on a couple of short lengths of timber placed across the top of the container. Allow to sit until all the excess water has drained.
5 Return the basket to its hanging position. If you’re in the middle of some hot or windy weather, hang it in a cooler, more protected spot until the extreme conditions pass.
You’ll find more great ways to keep plants hydrated in the summer heat, including using self-watering pots and gadgets that do the watering for you, in the January 2020 issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine.