Many attractive plants are suitable for cultivation in suspended baskets. For this purpose plants of a drooping habit of growth are preferable, as their pendulous stems, falling over the sides of the baskets, display the flowers or foliage to the best advantage. Hanging baskets are made of various materials; those of galvanized wire are the most popular, as they are light and last for many years. Teakwood or cypress wood baskets are used for orchids of drooping growth.
Filling the Baskets
The baskets are lined with a thick layer of moss or pieces of fibrous turf, and are then filled with soil. Finally, the plants are inserted, some at the sides, others at the top of the basket, so that the latter will be well furnished. The soil is thoroughly moistened and the basket is then hung in position. It is most necessary to keep the soil moist. If this detail is neglected the plants will not flourish. The most convenient way of watering is by lowering the baskets to the ground and immersing them in a vessel of water.
For the Greenhouse
These baskets require a minimum winter temperature of 50 degrees F. Soil is used similar to that required for the same plants when they are grown in pots. These are the most popular kinds grown for their ornamental leaves alone: Smilax; Asparagus Sprengeri; the Ferns named Nephrolepis exaltata, Davallia dissecta elegans, and Adiantum cuneatum; trailing Coleus; Chlorophytum elatum, Tradescantia fluminensis, and Zebrina pendula. The best flowering plants are Campanula isophylla; Jasminum primulinum; Clianthus Dampieri and C. puniceus; Fuchsias; Begonias of drooping growth; B. semperflorens; Impatiens Sultanii; Saxifraga sarmentosa; Abutilon megapotamicum; Achimenes; Lachenalia; Zygocactus truncatus; Ceropegia Woodii; and Aeschynanthus Lobbianus.
For the Porch, Window and Balcony
These baskets are principally used on porches and on balconies to provide a display during the summer. The plants are selected from those which are used for summer flower beds. Each basket may be planted with one variety or the plants can be mixed to suit individual tastes. When dwarf plants of upright growth are used, they are placed on top of the basket, and those of drooping growth are planted around the sides. The following all do well in baskets: Ivy Geranium, Zonal Geranium, Fuchsia, Marguerite, Ageratum, Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia), Vinca major variegata, Nepeta hederacea variegata, Lobelia, Petunia, Heliotrope, Nasturtium, Phlox Drummondii, Verbena, and Gazania splendens.
The plants are set in the baskets in spring; the baskets are suspended in a greenhouse for a few weeks, and are then gradually hardened off and placed out of doors after the weather is warm and settled. If no greenhouse is available the plants are set in the baskets when it is warm enough for them to be outdoors, the baskets being hung in a shady spot for a week or two. A compost of rich garden soil or equal parts of loam, leaf mold and decayed manure are suitable for these plants. During the summer the soil must be kept constantly moist.