Summer is the time to enjoy hanging baskets of flowers.
Fuchsias, geraniums, petunias, impatiens and tuberous begonias grow beautifully in hanging baskets and graciously spill their color over the sides.
With a little care, they'll bloom for you all through the summer and into the fall, according to Ross Penhallegon, horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.
"Remember that plants in hanging baskets depend totally on you to give them what they need to grow and to stay healthy," Penhallegon said.
First, hang them in the right place. Fuchsias and tuberous begonias like shade, or partial shade. Petunias and geraniums flourish in full sun, and impatiens prefer a cool, partially sunlit location.
"Then make sure they are out of the wind and that the baskets are on a watering schedule so they will not dry out," Penhallegon recommends. "Remember to feed and water the baskets regularly."
It is best to water at least once a day during most of the growing season, and perhaps twice during the hottest days.
Check moisture in the hanging basket simply by poking your finger deep into the middle of the pot. If the soil feels dry, add enough water to dampen all the soil and drip out of the bottom of the basket.
Add any well-balanced soluble fertilizer, such as 5-10-5, or a good organic fertilizer, such as compost tea, at least once a week to the water to keep new flowers and foliage coming.
To increase the life and blooming time of your hanging plants, remove blooms after they begin to fade. If you prune the vine, the cut will create a new vine or branch to grow and produce flowers. With care and good pruning, baskets will produce flowers until frost.
Judy Scott is a public affairs and communications specialist with OSU Extension Service and Experiment Station Communications. Her column appears regularly.