Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

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How do I plant a hanging basket?

Hanging baskets have become very popular and a wide variety of plants are available. These include petunia, ivy geranium, moss rose, nasturtium, verbena, wax and tuberous begonias, browalia, lobelia, fuchsia, German ivy, columnia and lantana. They are especially popular as accents on patios, terraces, and at entrance ways.

There are many kinds of containers which can be used for hanging baskets. These include the traditional wire basket stuffed with sphagnum moss, ceramic, terra cotta clay and plastic containers. Whatever kind of container you select, follow these rules to assure that your hanging baskets do well.

First and foremost is watering. You will need to water your hanging basket often. Plants in hanging baskets tend to dry out more quickly than plants growing in the ground. This is especially true for those grown in sphagnum moss baskets or terra cotta clay. During hot, dry weather you may need to water as often as twice a day, depending on the type and size of the container.

Because you'll be watering frequently, you will also need to fertilize often. Frequent watering leaches out soil nutrients quickly. Use a complete fertilizer such as Miracle Gro, Rapid Gro or Peters, and fertilize every two or three weeks following label directions.

Grooming is also important. Pick off old flowers regularly. This encourages the plant to produce more flowers instead of setting seed. If the plants become leggy, prune the stems back a few inches to encourage side growth.

Watch carefully for insect pests and deal with them immediately. Hanging baskets need more care than plants growing in the ground, but if you meet their basic needs, they will reward you all summer long.