Spillers or hanging plants drape over the edges of a pot or hanging basket to create curtains of living lace that add a dramatic effect to the area. While some plants are meant for stardom with the large, showy blooms they produce, others are content with life in the chorus, enhancing the appeal when grouped in large masses. Grow upright plants in the middle of the selected pot, and tuck spillers around the rim for a bushy hanging basket that adds depth and drama.
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A hardy, long-blooming perennial native to South Carolina, trailing verbena (Verbena Canadensis) is a suitable plant for hanging baskets. With spilling stems that grow 12 to 15 inches long, the plant produces tiny flowers in shades of white, pink, blue and purple, depending on the variety selected. While all varieties attract butterflies, some emit a pleasant aroma that envelopes the surrounding air. The heat-tolerant plants prefer well-drained soils in full sunlight.
According to the Clemson University Cooperative Extension, Homestead Purple, one of the most popular varieties grows 1 foot long and produces deep green foliage and blooms profusely from spring to the first frost. Other varieties include Silver Anne, Appleblossom and Summer Blaze.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine
Originating from Africa, black-eyed Susan (Thunbergia alata) is an attractive annual spiller that stands out when planted in a hanging basket. The soft vines of this plant grow up to 8 feet long, and feature early-summer flowers in deep to light oranges and yellows, along with lustrous deep green foliage. The daisy-like blooms on the plants measure 1 inch across and feature five petals surrounding an almost black centre. Despite its beauty, black-eyed Susan vine is frost intolerant and requires protection to prevent it from dying back when temperatures drop.
The annual liquorice vine (Helichrysum petiolatum) features a spilling or trailing growth habit, making it one of the most suitable plants for indoor or outdoor hanging baskets. The vines hang down 2 to 3 feet, and produce silver-grey leaves that stand out in the landscape. Some varieties of this South African plant produce golden and variegated foliage. It prefers well-draining soil in full or partial sunlight. Popular varieties include Silver Licorice Vine and Limelight.
Also called calibrachoa or trailing petunia, million bells is a spilling annual that blooms profusely from mid-spring until frost. An excellent hanging basket plant according to the University of Maryland Extension, million bells produces 1-inch wide, trumpet shaped blooms in shades of blue, orange and violet, and 6- to 20-inch long tendrils that add depth to the container. The plant prefers well-drained soil in full sun.
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