Hanging Basket Tips: Natural Pest Control, Fertilisers & More...
Hanging Baskets are an incredibly versatile garden feature that you can do so much with! We have compiled our favourite hanging basket tips from our customers, who have been using our Venetian Easy Fill Hanging Baskets to help you get the best results from your hanging baskets
These are our tips for natural insect control
Natural Insect Repellents
Everybody hates mosquitoes and repelling insects is not the most enjoyable part of the outdoors but it is essential to protect yourself from bites and possible transmission of diseases. Instead of reaching for the chemical bug sprays that are not only bad for us but also bad for the environment why not look at planting a hanging basket full of natural mosquito repellents.
We’ve all heard of this one, we’ve all seen it as a common ingredient in mosquito repellents but not many people realise it’s actually a plant!
Citronella is a lovely perennial grass that emits a strong aroma, it’s very easy to grow but will need some looking after as it can grow to 5 or 6 feet high! Easily grown in pots and placed around patios, it’s a great choice for repelling pesky mosquitoes naturally.
A recent study in 2010 found that catnip is 10 times more effective than DEET, the ingredient that is commonly found in bug sprays. This fragrant herb is related to mint and is very easy to grow, do be careful if you have cats though as they will go nuts over it!
Often used to flavour lamb or fish dishes, but did you know that when planted in your herb garden it’s also a natural mosquito repellent! As an added bonus it can also be grown very easily from cuttings and is an evergreen so it can be harvested all year.
These are a bright, hardy, annual plant that will add instant colour to your garden or hanging baskets. Marigolds contain Pyrethrum, a natural ingredient found in many insect repellents. They have a unique aroma that mosquitoes find repulsive.
Water Wise Container Plants
Succulents are fantastic for hanging baskets particularly if you live in a dry area or you have limited water supply. They will grow in small amounts of soil with minimal fuss, maximum sunshine and require little water. Succulents come in an array of bold foliage forms and bright colours which will add dramatic flair to your hanging basket displays.
Try planting Donkey’s Tail around the edges of your hanging basket as it will dangle over the sides and can grow to around 2 feet long. Or you could try String of pearls or String of Nickels for a different texture.
Other succulents that have will give an impressive look are Echeveria, they come in an array of different colours and look fantastic when potted next to Cobweb Houseleek. Blue Chalk Sticks are also very popular in mixed succulent bowls and come in various different forms. Another succulent with a striking appearance is the Tree Aeonuim, this one comes in deep burgundy to black and when paired with lighter coloured succulents makes for a very intense contrast.
Succulents will also grow easily from cuttings so ask around to your friends and neighbours.
Soil & Potting Mix
The best type of potting mix or soil depends usually on what you are planting. Different types of plants will work with different types of potting mix. Organic potting mix is a must to ensure the soil is uncontaminated and also buying a good quality potting mix will ensure that your plants will last longer.
We have used a combination of tomato, herb and vegetable mixes for our hanging baskets, this is you best bet if you are planting a mutlitude of different plants for an "edible" style of garden.
If planting mostly flowers, you will need to look for an organic flower mix.
The type of fertilizer you use will have a large impact on the end result of your hanging basket. Starting out with a good potting mix, rather than soil, that has good structure and drainage will give your plants the best start to life. Soil from the garden can be heavy and doesn't drain properly. Drainage is particularly important for herbs as they are very easily water logged. It's also a good idea to surface mulch the hanging pots to reduce evaporation.
With all watering, nutrients will wash out so edible foods growing in hanging baskets will benefit from plant food. Leafy vegetables will benefit from nitrogen based liquid food while high Phosphate and potassium fertiliser will help with fruit and root crops such as tomatoes or dwarf beetroot.
Adding a good Seaweed extract when first planting will reduce transplant shock and give your plants a good start. Also known to encourage root development and stimulate growth, it will enhance plants ability to cope with various stresses such as drought, salty soils and cold temperatures.
Organic Pest control for your hanging baskets:
Natural pest control will not only save you money but it’s also safer for you, your garden and the environment. The easiest way to prevent insect damage is to discourage them from coming in the first place. The following hints should assist you in dealing with garden pests naturally.
- You should always remove any weak plants that may already be affected by disease otherwise they may attract more predators.
- Keep foliage dry – wet foliage encourages insect and fungal damage to your plants.
- Disinfect – If you’ve been working with infested plants clean your tools thoroughly before moving onto other garden areas, this will reduce the risk of infecting other areas.
Hot Water Spray
Many soft bodied insects are killed by a simply spray of hot water – not boiling or this could damage your plants. Between 45 – 55 Celsius is optimal.
Milk is lethal to red spider mites and mildew. A milk spray can be used on plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis and lettuce. To prepare mix equal parts milk and water, needs to be repeated every few days.
Eucalyptus Oil Spray
This spray will kill scale insects, aphids, earwigs, slugs, snails and slaters. Spray thoroughly when insects first appear. As it is a non-residual spray it is best applied 3- 5 days apart as long as required.
Chamomile is the gentlest fungicide to use. Simply make a pot of ordinary chamomile tea, leave it to brew for 10 minutes, cool and spray every few days. Can be used to treat powdery mildew, stem rot, brown spot, leaf spot and other fungal diseases.
So what are you waiting for? Don your gardening gloves, gather your tools and get planting!
✓ Grate design that allows plants to breathe & flourish ✓ No moss or liner required – easy & environmentally friendly ✓ Quick & easy - side planted basket in minutes ✓ 5 removable pockets, take max. 11cm pots ✓ Easy to attach to any solid vertical surface ✓ Life expectancy – up to 10 years!