When I first got some hanging baskets, I wondered how long they would last, before I would need to get some new plants. So, I did some research into it and thought I’d put together this helpful article to explain how long hanging baskets last.
How long do hanging baskets last? Hanging baskets with annual plants last for one season. Hanging baskets with perennial plants last for several years as long as they are looked after. If they get enough water and sunlight and are protected from extreme cold and heat, they should last for at least 3-5 years.
Now, there are a few ways that your hanging basket can die. So, below I will explain the reasons hanging baskets die, and what maintenance you have to do to keep them alive.
Why do hanging baskets die?
Annual plants only last one season
Some plants are annual or perennial. Annual plants will bloom and flourish for one year, but then die. They have spread their seeds, which will grow new plants. For this reason, many people use perennial plants for hanging baskets.
With perennials, they will continue to grow, and you should give them a pruning every now and then when they get out of control. If you don’t know whether your plant is annual or perennial you should Google the variety to find out that information.
In general, hanging baskets that are sold in stores are perennial because these are the most popular. Spider plants are a common favorite. You can cut off their leaves and propagate more of them around the house.
So, if your hanging basket died and you are looking for a new variety you should go with a perennial because they will live forever.
Extreme weather can kill the plants
Your hanging basket might have died if you put it in unfavorable conditions. There are times when it is a good idea to bring your banging basket inside.
You should bring your hanging basket inside when there is frost, snow, hail, severe winds, or if they are getting too much sun.
These are all categorized as severe weather conditions. Some plants are hardier than others and can survive frost, and hot and dry conditions.
But, most flowers and ornamental plants used in hanging baskets will die if they are left out in the frost.
So, you should find out when your first frost is in your region, and bring your hanging baskets inside when it’s approaching.
It is also the case that when there is snow it can freeze your plants and kill them. Strong hail can damage the stems and squash common varieties. Thicker shrubs can withstand hail.
How do you maintain hanging baskets so that they don’t die?
It is impossible to avoid an annual hanging basket dying. This is because they will die regardless of what you do.
With perennial plants, however, you can extend their life providing them with the right soil, water, and sunlight.
Good hanging basket placement
If you are hanging your hanging baskets inside, you should use a chain or rope to suspend them closer to the ground. The normal hanger that comes with most hanging baskets is too short to be hung from the ceiling.
When you hang a hanging basket that close to the ceiling the conditions aren’t as good for your plant. Be aware that heat rises, and a hanging a basket close to a roof, makes them heat up and dry out faster. Some varieties of plants do not do well in hot and dry conditions.
So, you should avoid putting plants that aren’t tolerant high temperatures close to an overhang or ceiling. You can find out the hardiness of your particular plant by using the hardiness zone map that can be found here. It is created by the United States Department of Agriculture. If you are outside of the US then there is likely an equivalent for your country.
When you match the hardiness zone of your plant to your region, you should also take into consideration the extra heat and dryness of positioning your plant under a ceiling.
Give the plants adequate sunlight
Enough sun for your plants is necessary to keep them alive. How much sun exactly can vary by variety. Some plants can grow in full shade, whereas others won’t grow at all. So, you should know how much sun your hanging basket plant needs.
To do this, you need to find out what species of the plant your hanging basket is. Normally, there will be a label attached to the plant with the variety name.
Otherwise, you may have kept your receipt. Once you know the species of your plant, you should do a search on Google for how much sun they need. That way your hanging basket will get the right amount of sun, and won’t die.
Give the plants sufficient water
You should water your hanging basket based on the species of plant you are growing. Cactus need hardly any water but others may need moist soil at all times.
The way to test your soil moisture is to feel the top. The surface of the soil should not be completely dry. When it is dry you should lightly water your plant. How much depends on how hot or cold it is.
In hot weather, you can water them a bit more, in colder weather a bit less. Just enough to make the soil damp. When you see the water begin to drip out of the bottom you will know that your soil is completely wet and you need to stop watering.
Use good potting soil
If you have poor soil it can contain too much sand that drains out the water fast and the plant does not get enough water. Or it can contain too much clay that retains a lot of water and drowns the plant’s roots causing root rot.
That’s why I don’t recommend using garden soil in your hanging baskets as they can have this problem. It’s best to purchase a good potting soil that retains sufficient moisture while draining out the excess.
This will give the plants roots the required moisture and aeration to grow the best and last for a long time.
Which materials hanging baskets will last longer?
You can get hanging baskets made from plastic, metal, wicker, terracotta, or ceramic. The wicker ones will degrade faster than the other ones.
You should also be aware that some of the materials like plastic and terracotta will lose their quality when placed in full sunlight for a long time.
If you use a liner inside your hanging baskets, you may need to replace them to maintain the life of the hanging basket.
Materials like sphagnum moss and coconut fiber work well as a liner but they will break down over time and need replacement.
Materials like plastic or landscape fabric will last for several years before you need to change them.
Hanging baskets with annual plants will last up to a year while those with perennial plants will last for 3-5 years at least.
You do need to maintain the plants with the right amount of water, sunlight, nutrients, and potting soil. You should also watch out for frost as it can kill your plants.