I grow plants in the limited space of my apartment so hanging baskets are a great choice. And I use coco liners that help keep the potting soil moist longer.
Coco liners can last for at least 2 years when you maintain them properly. You need to protect the coco liners from animals and birds that may try to pull them apart for food or use to build a nest.
I’ve written details below that will help you make your coco liners last longer. So keep reading.
How to make coco liners last longer?
You can follow some good practices that will help improve the life of coco liners and make them last longer for your hanging baskets.
Keep birds and animals away
The biggest threat to your coco liners will come from birds and animals like squirrels. They will try to pull the liner material and use it to build their nest.
Some options to scare them away are to use a scarecrow or put a piece of cloth with your scent on it. Having a pet dog or cat is also a good way to deter the birds and animals near your hanging baskets.
Keep the coco liners moist
The good thing about using coco liners is they are hydrophilic. This means they will absorb moisture when you water the hanging basket.
Then slowly release the moisture to the potting soil and plant over a period of time. This gives the required moisture to the plant for a longer time.
If you don’t water the coco liners and let them dry out for too long, they may turn hydrophobic. This means they won’t absorb moisture well. And become dry and brittle causing breakdown of the fibers.
So keep the coco liners moist and they will last a lot longer.
Readjust the coco liners
The coco liners will lose their shape as they absorb moisture over several months. This will make them compact and hard where they start losing the fibers.
I recommend that you fluff the coco liners back into shape once the growing season has ended. You can remove the plant remains and potting soil out of the coco liners.
Soak the coco liners in water for a few minutes till they absorb the required moisture. Let them dry out in the sun and you can fluff them out so they can return to their original condition.
What are some good quality coco liners you can buy?
If you want your coco coir to last for a long time, buy the best quality ones. They will also provide the best support for the potting soil and plants in your hanging baskets. I’ve listed a few options below that you may find helpful for your garden.
|Coco Liner||Size (inches)|
|Bosmere||24, 30, 36, 48|
|Gardener Select||24, 36|
Some alternatives to coco liner that will last longer
There are other materials you can use instead of coco liners that cost less and will last longer. I’ve written a detailed post about the alternatives you can use as a liner for your planter.
Burlap material will cost you just 1/5th the price of coco liner. You do need to use multiple layers as this material is thin.
I recommend using burlap made with jute rather than synthetic material as it is permeable, lightweight, and helps retain moisture.
The material will degrade faster if you directly put potting soil into it. You should place a plastic sheet on the burlap liner and then put potting soil in it.
Make some holes in the plastic sheet so it can help drain the water as well as ensure the burlap can absorb and retain sufficient moisture.
Landscaping fabric is another cheap alternative to using coco coir and it will last a lot longer as well.
You don’t need to use multiple layers of the material like you would with burlap. And you could even add the potting soil into the fabric without the need for a plastic sheet.
I would still suggest using a plastic sheet to hold the potting soil as the landscaping fabric will last even longer. Just make sure to have drainage holes in the plastic sheet.
You will need to fasten the landscaping fabric to the planter using a metal wire. This will hold it in place and avoid shifting that would cause the soil to fall out.
A plastic bag is the cheapest option you have to use as a liner instead of coco coir. You could use a bin liner or a garbage bag as a plastic liner.
Just make sure to have sufficient drainage holes in the plastic bag you use. Otherwise, the water will not drain well and your plant roots will drown causing problems like root rot.
The plastic bag is lightweight and will shift once you have put the potting soil. It’s best to tie it to the planter with metal wire to hold it in place.
An old pair of jeans works great as a liner for your hanging basket. And it’s a lot cheaper and more durable than using coco liners.
You will need to cut the jeans and spread them out so they can fit well in the hanging basket to act as a liner. The material will absorb moisture and make it available to the plant roots.
You can add a layer of plastic sheet and then put the potting soil if you want the jeans to last longer. You do need to add drainage holes in the sheet for the water to reach the jeans through the plastic.
You can use paper from newspapers, notebooks, or paper bags as a cheaper alternative to coco coir. It’s not as durable and will degrade in a few weeks. But it will add organic matter to the potting soil as it degrades.
You will need to use multiple sheets of paper to line the planter as the material is very thin. Then place the potting soil in this paper. It will absorb the moisture as you water the soil and make it available to the roots.
Make sure not to use magazine paper as those are glossy and won’t absorb water. This will lead to overwatering and problems like root rot.