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How To Fertilize Hanging Baskets – The Secret To Keep Your Baskets Blooming Big!

There is little doubt about it – how, when and what you use to fertilize your hanging baskets can make a huge difference in just how well they bloom. And perhaps even more importantly – for just how long into summer or fall you can keep your baskets flowering big!

If there is one thing that gardeners struggle with, it’s keeping their hanging baskets blooming all summer long. For many, although their baskets might start out strong and beautiful in the spring – by mid-summer, they begin to suddenly appear weak and feeble.

The once bright green foliage begins to turn pale green. In some cases, the leaves even begin to curl and brown off. Even worse, baskets that were once covered in a mass of colorful flowers now struggle to produce even just a few blooms.

fertilize hanging baskets
Most hanging baskets are full of life and blooms early in the season. But as nutrients disappear from the soil they are growing in, they can quickly begin to fail.

Have they simply grown too old? Have they outgrown their basket? Are they not getting enough water? Is it too much or too little sunlight? Although all of those scenarios can certainly play a part in the decline of a hanging basket’s health and performance, quite often, it simply comes down to the plants suffering from a lack of nutrients.

Recharging The Soil – How To Fertilize Hanging Baskets

The annual plants that grow in hanging baskets require and use a tremendous amount of nutrients from the soil. Not only to set blooms and flower, but to maintain healthy foliage and root systems as well. And without strong roots and foliage, future blooms and flowers will suffer.

When you consider that petunias, impatiens, geraniums and other similar mass-blooming annuals can produce a tremendous amount of blooms at once, they can use up that energy quickly. Even when planted in the best potting soil around – and that is exactly where fertilizer can save the day!

By simply supplying your plants with a steady dose of fertilizer throughout the growing season, you can give your plants the energy they need to continue to thrive. But, and this is important, that fertilizer needs to be given not only at the right time, but in the right dose to keep your plants blooming!

Listen In To Our Podcast On Fertilizing Hanging Baskets Below For Even More Secrets To Success!

How To Fertilize Your Hanging Baskets To Keep Them Blooming!

There are two big secrets to fertilizing hanging baskets for long-term success. The first is to power your plants with a dose that doesn’t under or overpower them – but instead gives them just the right amount of nutrients for steady growth and constant blooming. And the second is to fertilize consistently.

To give long lasting blooming power to your hanging baskets you need to provide nutrients in a low and slow manner. If your plants don’t receive enough nutrients, they will shut down bloom production. And if they get too much – they put the extra energy into growing massive foliage and roots – both of which will cause the plant to prematurely fizzle out.

The One-Two Punch – The Perfect Way To Fertilize Hanging Baskets

So how do you give your plants just the right amount of energy? One of the best ways of all to give them a consistent but steady power source is to combine a monthly granular feeding with a light liquid feeding to your plants every one to two weeks.

This combination gives your hanging baskets perfect power for constant blooming. The dry, granular feeding will slowly release nutrients down into the soil every time you water or it rains. This will aid in keeping root growth steady and the foliage healthy and bright.

fertilizing hanging baskets
Annual plants like these calibrachoa above can produce hundreds of blooms at once. All of those blooms require a lot of energy from the soil they grow in. Without replacing it, plants can begin to fail by mid-summer.

Meanwhile, the liquid fertilizer will provide a more rapid dose of power to help produce a constant flush of blooms. Together, the one-two punch of powers works amazingly well to keep baskets strong and colorful all season long!

Monthly Granular Fertilizing – How To Fertilize Hanging Baskets

Although you can use commercial granular fertilizers on your baskets, the very best choice of all for low and slow monthly feedings are worm castings. Affiliate Link : 100% Pure Worm Castings

Worm castings are not only loaded with a myriad of nutrients, its nutrients are also easily absorbed by plants. There is also no danger of overpowering plants with worm castings. As they sink and decay into the soil, they help to improve every part of the plant’s growing process – slowly!

For hanging baskets, use ¼ to ½ of a cup of worm castings on the soil surface once a month. Spread or sprinkle the castings equally around the surface of the basket and then water in. Worm castings are also the perfect choice for powering your container plants once a month as well.

If you will be using a commercial granular fertilizer, look for one that has a balance of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (N-P-K), but in a lower ratio such as 4-4-4. This will power plants slowly and not cause overgrowth. Product Affiliate Link: Jobe’s Organics Organic All Purpose Granular Fertilizer 4-4-4

all purpose granular plant food
To power plants slowly, select a granular fertilizer that is balanced, and that has a lower N-P-K ratio as well.

It is important to keep the monthly granular application low and slow. If there is one mistake gardeners make with granular fertilizing, it is selecting a power source that is too rich.

Rich granular fertilizers may produce big growth and blooms for the first month – but it will result in your plants overgrowing and outgrowing their container way too early in the season. And once the roots outgrow their container, the plant will begin to fail.

Liquid Fertilizing – How To Fertilize Hanging Baskets

The second part of powering your hanging baskets is with liquid fertilizer. However, not all liquid fertilizers are equal in terms of their strength and purpose. For hanging baskets, you want a liquid fertilizer that has a higher balance of phosphorous and potassium than nitrogen.

Phosphorus and potassium will help power blooms. Nitrogen, on the other hand, powers green and growth. The worm castings, along with the additional lower strength of nitrogen in liquid fertilizers will provide plenty for green growth – but by adding more phosphorous and potassium, you will get your plants to concentrate on blooms.

worm castings
Worm castings truly are a secret weapon in powering hanging baskets. They provide steady and easily absorbed nutrients to power lasting blooms.

For liquid fertilizing, you can use worm casting tea or compost tea every seven to ten days at full strength. Again, both of these will not overpower plants. But by giving them a dose regularly, it will keep plants blooming big.

Using Liquid Commercial Fertilizers

If you are using a commercial fertilizer, unless it is at a lower N-P-K ratio, you will want to dilute it. This will keep from overpowering plants with too much energy. Some products, like Dr. Earth Flower Girl Bud & Bloom have a low 3-9-4 NPK ratio. These are fine to use every 7 to 10 days at full strength.

Any liquid fertilizers with higher N-P-K ratios should be diluted by 1/2 to 1/3rd and applied every two weeks. Whether you use homemade compost or worm casting tea, or commercial liquid fertilizers, all are excellent for powering plants with liquid power, but it’s important to keep feedings consistent – but lower in overall strength.

Here is to keeping your hanging baskets blooming big all season long!

Simple Garden Life is a website dedicated to keeping gardening fun, simple and enjoyable! We publish two new articles each week along with a new garden podcast episode every two weeks. This article may contain affiliate links.