How to plant hanging baskets from seeds

Updated April 17, 2017

Hanging baskets filled with colourful flowers and foliage are a welcoming sight to any home or business. You can forego the expense of buying lush hanging baskets by seeding and growing your own. Many different types of annuals, ivies and even small vegetables flourish in a hanging basket habitat. Hanging baskets started from seed require concentrated attention in their early days and weeks but will reward you with a season-long display of colour and fragrance if you care for them properly.

Clean the hanging basket pots inside and out with hot, soapy water. Rinse with clear, cool water treated with a few drops of household bleach. Rinse a second time with clear, cool water.

Run water through the clean pots to ensure the drainage holes are unplugged. Allow the pots to air dry completely.

Allow about 5 cm (2 inches) per plant per pot. To determine how many seeds to plant in your hanging basket, divide the diameter of the pot by two. Use that number as your minimum, as not all seeds will germinate.

Wash about 750 ml (3 cups) of pea gravel in clear water. Place a layer of pea gravel about 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick at the bottom of the hanging basket pot to improve drainage.

Add planting medium to the hanging basket, watering well when the pot is about halfway filled. Continue adding medium until the soil is about 2.5 cm (1 inch) below the pot rim. Water the medium again until it is completely moist but not soggy.

Plant the seeds that will produce taller plants near the centre of the hanging basket. Use your gloved finger or a small spoon to create planting holes about 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) deep.

Place trailing plant seeds and ivies along the basket rim. More compact blooms should be seeded between the centre and the rim.

Cover the basket with a sheet of cling film. Place the hanging basket in a sunny window away from draughts. Turn the basket daily until seeds germinate and seedlings emerge.

Check frequently for condensation on the inside of the plastic. Lift a corner of the plastic and moisten soil when condensation disappears.

Measure the distance between the top of the basket and the spot where you want the flowers in your hanging basket to be visible. This information will tell you how much additional chain or rope you'll need to attach to the plant hanger when your plants are ready to go outdoors.

Harden off your hanging basket plants after seedlings emerge and are at least 7.5 cm (3 inches) tall. Wait until all danger of frost has passed. In cool springs, bring your hanging basket indoors at night until nighttime temperatures have reached at least 13 degrees C (55F).


Plant additional seeds in peat pots while your hanging basket plants are growing. This will allow you to immediately fill in openings where seeds did not germinate and will allow you to replace seedlings that die.


Hanging baskets will dry out more quickly than regular garden beds. Water your basket at least daily and twice a day during hot weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Rag
  • Bleach
  • Potting soil
  • Pea gravel
  • Watering can
  • Seeds
  • Spoon
  • Tape measure
  • Peat pots
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About the Author

Kate Sheridan is a freelance writer, researcher, blogger, reporter and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and trade publications for over 35 years. She attended Oakland University and The University of Michigan, beginning her journalism career as an intern at the "Rochester Eccentric." She's received honors from the Michigan Press Association, American Marketing Association and the State of Michigan Department of Commerce.