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Design Hanging Baskets Like a Pro

There is so much variety in gardening as a hobby that you can come up with new projects and ideas every day. There are a few tried-and-true garden projects that are popular because they are simple and rewarding. Designing hanging baskets is one of those projects. Admittedly, I didn’t get into the ornamental hanging basket game until later in my gardening life. I have grown plenty of edibles like strawberries, herbs, and tomatoes in hanging baskets. But to design hanging baskets for ornamental plants was never on my basket list.

Until I visited the California Spring Trials and saw some of the most spectacular displays hanging from hooks all around the gardens. You can read more about that trip here. I have never been much for annuals either, but after that trip, I get it. Growing annuals is a celebration for the eyes: bursts of color and waves of blooms cascading over the edges. Sign. Me. Up!

decorative hanging basket


To design hanging baskets this year with ornamental plants, I used my experience with container design and growing vegetables vertically to create this guide to make the whole process easy and successful to recreate at home by using the clock-face planting technique.

Clock-Face Planting For Simple Hanging Basket Design

This simple planting strategy takes the guesswork out of hanging basket design and ensures that you’ll have a beautiful basket every time.


Plants for hanging basketsMake it!

First, choose your plants. For this design technique, you will want three different styles of plant: thrillers, spillers, and fillers. For one hanging basket, choose:

  • 1 thriller plant – the thriller is an eye-catching plant with stunning color, blooms, or foliage that will be central to the design.
  • 4 spiller plants – spillers are plants that grow over the side of the container and trail down, spilling over the edge.
  • 8-12 filler plants – the fillers are plants that will easily fill in any gaps between the other plants in the container.

How to design a hanging basket

To put your hanging planter together, begin by lining the whole basket with decorative moss. Nestle the fiber basket liner in next, so that it is covered up by the moss on the outside. The fiber liner will retain water and keep the plants moist, which is what you want in hanging baskets as they otherwise dry out quickly.

putting together a well-designed hanging basket

Add your soil to the center of the basket. Plant your thriller in the middle of the basket.

Clock-face planting design for hanging baskets

Now, add the spiller plants around the outside of the basket. Imagine the basket is a clock face and plant the spillers at the 3:00, 6:00, 9:00, and 12:00 positions.

how to plant a hanging basket

Plant two or three filler plants in the gaps in between the other plants.

hanging basket design

If there are still any gaps, fill these in with soil and water the whole basket thoroughly.

Hang your basket and enjoy.

hanging basket design

Happy planting!

how to plant hanging baskets

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  1. Do you have recommendations on where to hang these if you don’t have a front porch or portico? I love the way these look, but unsure of where I can put them.


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