Flowering hanging baskets are one of the most effective ways to provide a festive elegant spirit to your community, bring color to eye and car level, and lend visual continuity.
Castle Rock, Washington started a hanging basket program based on volunteer efforts with cooperation from the municipality and local high school. They learned what it takes to make a hanging basket program successful.
You can start with as few as two dozen or so baskets – enough to make an impact in an area. Don’t spread them out and lose the effect. Add to them as the program grows. Invest in “H2O Labor Saver” hanging baskets with lamp post brackets that hold 75 lbs. These 23” diameter containers have a 2.5-gallon reservoir of water with a wicking system from the water to the soil which limits the need for watering from every day to two to three times a week depending upon the heat and humidity. They save labor and are a worthwhile investment.
Castle Rock recommends a soil mix that is fast draining but retains moisture. The Cornell Mix potting soil works well (66% peat, 33%Perlite, 33% Vermiculite). They select flowers that are colorful and known to be heat tolerant, wind tolerant, and pest resistant. The flowers are selected for their bright color and long season as well as their ability to cascade and completely cover the basket. The flowers are also self-cleaning (e.g. they do not need to be pinched or “dead headed” once hung). They use Proven Winners varieties such as Supertunia ‘Bordeaux’ and ‘Mini Blue’ as well as Superbenas. Ten to-twelve small plants are planted in each basket.
They liquid feed their baskets every week with Nature’s Source, a natural blend of seed extracts that nourish and lend drought tolerance as well as pest resistance to the plants. Since starting the hanging basket program, Castle Rock has seen its vacancy rate of commercial buildings in the city go from 39% to 0% in less than 10 years. They now have over 130 colorful beautiful hanging baskets that enhance the economic vitality of their downtown and plant pride in their community.
America in Bloom is an independent, 501c3 nonprofit organization.