Hanging baskets make container gardening easy, even if you don't have a patio or balcony. Many plants will grow well in a hanging basket, but will eventually become too large and require replanting in a larger container. Choose the right small varieties of flowering plants for long-lasting hanging baskets that require less maintenance.
Flowering vines will wrap around the supports of the hanging basket and drape over the sides. Cypress vine, or Ipomoea quamoclit, creates tiny red flowers throughout the summer and can handle life in a hanging basket. The fragrant flowers of the vining sweet pea, or Lathyrus odoratus, only appear in cool weather, so this plant is best for hanging baskets in mild climates. Lotus berthelotii, or lotus vine, likes hot weather and full sun and will produce large red flowers at the end of summer.
Miniature roses are smaller versions of large roses appropriate for in-ground planting. Suitable for containers like hanging baskets, these dwarf plants produce colourful roses smaller than 1½ inches across the blossom. Most miniature varieties stay below 18 inches in height and prefer full to partial sun. Primarily developed from the Rosa chinensis "Minima" variety of the floribunda family, these roses can be found in every common rose colour, including red, pink and yellow. Climbing varieties mix well with other trailing basket plants.
By choosing the right flowers for your hanging baskets you can attract colourful hummingbirds. "Birds and Blooms" magazine recommends fushia (Fuchsia spp.), especially the trailing varieties. Fushia requires full sun and offers bright pink and white blossoms during the summer that are large enough for hummingbirds to feed on. Garden favourites like zinnias, petunias and phlox are also hummingbird favourites that can handle the cramped quarters of a hanging basket.
Tall, lanky flowering plants often require more root space to support their height, and may be choked out by other plants. Choose shorter plants that spread across the surface of the soil or that trail over the edges for a hanging basket full of blooms instead of one lone plant. Trailing varieties of begonias and short-stemmed flowers like petunias and impatiens work well. Some plants, like early-blooming bulbs, can tolerate being crowded and will provide a single tall bloom in the centre of a basket.