The Best Plants for Hanging Planters

Written by jessica kaufman
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The Best Plants for Hanging Planters
Certain plants are highlighted by hanging planters, such as trailing vines or mounding groundcovers. (Gazebo and Hanging Baskets in an English Back garden image by Chris Lofty from Fotolia.com)

Hanging planters present a space-saving option for both indoor and outdoor gardens with limited ground area. They also highlight certain aspects of a plant, such as trailing or draping foliage and flowers. Some hanging baskets feature just one type of plant, while others include a mixture of colours and sizes to create a specific arrangement or design.

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Scaevola and Calibrachoa

Because of their tolerance for many lighting conditions and low maintenance requirements, both scaevola and calibrachoa are among the easiest plants to grow in hanging baskets. Scaevola, a trailing plant that produces half-fan purple flowers, grows best during the summer and tolerates a variety of lighting conditions, from full or partial sun to shade. Calibrachoa grows well from mid-spring to early fall and requires full sun to produce the most brightly coloured flowers. Scaevola flowers range in shades from lavender to a darker blue-purple. Calibrachoa produces small, petunialike bell flowers in rose-red, pink, violet, white, yellow, blue and burnt orange. Aside from regular watering, both scaevola and calibrachoa require little maintenance, as trimming and deadheading (the removal of old flowers so new ones can form) are unnecessary. Scaevola's foliage drapes about 12 to 18 inches, while calibrachoa's foliage can drape up to 3 feet. Both plants work well in a mixed basket or alone.

Lobelia and Lotus Maculatus

Both lobelia and Lotus maculatus are draping or mounding plants that typically pour over the sides of a hanging basket but can be mounded around the edges as well. Lobelia are smaller, growing only 3 to 6 inches tall, while Lotus maculatus grow 8 to 12 inches tall. Lobelia can drape up to a foot and a half. Both plants come in a variety of colours, with lobelia typically favouring blooms in shades of white, purple or blue and Lotus maculatus favouring yellow, orange and red hues. Both plants tolerate full sun to partial shade during the day, although Lotus maculatus needs cooler night temperatures to set its blooms. Both plants work best in hanging basket arrangements.

Spider Plants and Philodendrons

Typically considered houseplants, both spider plants and philodendrons can be grown outdoors as well under protected conditions. Neither plant produces flowers, and both do best when grown alone in a hanging planter. Spider plants grow a rosette or bushlike grouping of light green and white variegated leaves that sprout long tendrils of plantlets. Leaves can grow up to 2 feet and begin to arch after reaching about 1 foot. It requires moderate watering with soil drying between waterings and bright to medium light. Philodendrons have solidly bright green or variegated, waxy, heart-shaped leaves that trail in a vinelike fashion. They require low, indirect sunlight and grow well in shade outdoors or low light indoors. Optimal growing conditions for philodendrons include warm temperatures and low humidity with minimal moisture.

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