I was researching how many plants to grow in a hanging basket and I’ve included all the details I found in this post.

You can put 3 to 5 plants in 12″ hanging basket. You can put 5 to 7 plants in a 16″ basket. If the plants are small, you could get away with planting one plant per inch of the basket diameter. So for a 12″ basket, you could plant 12 small plants.

This gives you a general idea of growing plants in your basket. However, there are many factors like plant type, watering needs, and lighting requirements that you should also know. I’ve written more details about these below.

Plant type

The number of plants you can grow in your hanging basket depends on the size of the plants. If the plants are small you can plant more. So learn a little bit about how large the plants you choose will grow.

Watering needs

Some plants like herbs don’t mind a little bit of crowding. You can plant many together without any problems. These plants don’t compete with each other for nutrients and moisture.

But there are other plants that need a lot more space otherwise they won’t grow as well. Do note that if you will grow plants in the basket just for a short growing season, you can space them a lot closer.

Because you’ll end up taking out the plants before they would even reach their full potential growth.

Lighting requirements

Plants that don’t need as much sunlight can be grown close to each other without problems. Other plants that need a lot of sunlight should be spaced well enough so they can receive the required amount.

When to plant hanging baskets?

The best time to plant hanging baskets is when the last frost date has passed in your area. That’s if you’re growing plants outdoors.

If you’re growing a hanging basket indoors, you don’t need to worry about this. The same goes if you’re using a greenhouse.

You can start your hanging basket in the greenhouse and then move it out after the frost date has passed.

The general time to start a hanging basket would be May-June in summer. And September-October in autumn.

How to plant a hanging basket?

It’s a simple process to start a hanging basket once you know the plants you will grow in them.

  • Make sure the basket is clean and sterile. You can soak the basket in a mix of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water for 30 minutes. Then rinse it well with water before using the basket.
  • You can cut slits in the rim of the basket if you’re growing trailing plants.
  • Place a liner in the basket to help retain moisture. You want to cut the liner so it aligns with the inside of the basket.
  • Fill the basket with potting mix and compost to an inch below the rim. You can add water-retaining modules and a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Wrap the plant in polythene for protection as you put the trailing end through the slit.
  • Put the root in the potting mix and firm the soil around it.
  • Water the hanging basket well once you have put the plant in the soil. You can then hang the basket or put it in the greenhouse.
  • It’s best to plant trailing plants on the rim of the hanging basket and bushy plants in the center. This will give an all-around attractive look to the basket when hanging.

How to take care of a hanging basket?

Once you’ve planted a hanging basket, you’ll need to maintain it every so often.


If you have planted the basket indoors and are moving them out, you’ll need to harden them first.

This means not keeping them in direct sunlight and wind for a few days. Then slowly introducing them to the outdoors. This helps prevent the plant from damage due to the shock of a change in the environment.

The first day you can keep the basket in shade for an hour. The next day you can keep it out for longer. After that, you can introduce the plant to a little bit of direct sunlight.

Continue increasing the amount of time the plant spends outdoors for a few days until it has adapted to the environment.


You need to check if the soil in the hanging basket has dried out. You can do this by putting your finger an inch into the soil to check. If the soil is dry, you need to water the plant.

If the hanging basket is too high, you can lift the basket to check if the weight has reduced which indicates the soil is dry.

If you added water-retaining modules while planting the hanging basket, it will help reduce the watering frequency.

If you’ve grown a lot of plants in the basket, the soil will dry out faster and you need to increase the watering frequency.

You can make use of self-watering baskets that come with a reservoir. This can help reduce how many times you need to water the plants.


If you have added a slow-release fertilizer while planting the hanging basket, you won’t need to add any more during the growing season.

Otherwise, you need to feed the plants every few days with a liquid fertilizer. You only need to do this when the plant is in the growing stages.

You can even do some foliar feeding by adding the fertilizer to a spray and using it every few days on the plant leaves.


Deadheading means you pluck out the unwanted and dead parts of the plants like flowers and leaves.

This helps the plants focus on using their energy for growing new leaves and flowers rather than on the dead ones. You need to deadhead the plants in the basket every few weeks.

You can pinch the flowers and leaves with your fingers. Or use a clean pair of pruners if you want to be more careful.

How to keep the hanging basket from drying out?

If you choose a large basket it will retain moisture a lot longer and prevent it from drying out. You can also use self-watering containers to keep moisture always available for the plants.

The more space the plants have between them the longer the soil will retain moisture. So you can be generous in the gaps between plants as you put them in the basket.

Another way of improving the moisture-retention of the hanging basket is by using a liner. These are made of a material that can hold moisture for a longer time.

What can I line a hanging basket with?

The plants and soil in a hanging basket tend to shift around. That’s why you need to line the hanging basket with a liner material. You place the liner in the hanging basket and then put the soil mix on top of the liner.

The liner also helps the basket retain moisture for a longer period of time and prevents the soil from drying out. Liners are available using materials like sphagnum moss, coconut fiber, and Landscape fabric.

Landscape fabric

landscape fabric is a good choice for a liner. It’s durable, inexpensive, and helps retain a lot of moisture. You might already have landscape fabric for your garden and can reuse that.

Sphagnum moss

Sphagnum moss is an attractive liner you can use in your hanging basket. It gives a rustic look to the basket. But it’s not the best to soak moisture so you need to water it well before placing it in the basket.

Coconut fiber

The fiber from coconut is a great choice as a liner that most people prefer. It’s inexpensive, durable, and sustainable.

The coir does not soak water well so you need to water it well once you place it in the hanging basket. It’s biodegradable and provides beneficial nutrients to the plants in the basket.

Plastic bag

If you don’t find any of the above materials, you can always use a plastic bag as a liner. You need to add plenty of holes in the bottom for drainage but it does get the job done well.

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