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Looking After Your Hanging Baskets

Looking After Your Hanging Baskets

9 minute read

Hanging baskets full of colourful blooms is a lovely sight during the summer months, but to keep the plants healthy and looking gorgeous relies on you keeping them well cared for – they need more care and attention than plants growing in the ground. Find out why and see our helpful tips to keep them in tip top condition with minimum effort. 

Watering Your Hanging Baskets

If you’re out at work all day, are going to be away on holiday, or simply want to take away the hassle of watering your hanging baskets by hand, then setting up an automatic watering system is the best plan. At Two Wests we stock a couple of different brands whose irrigation systems provide you with the flexibility to water your hanging baskets from your mains water.

Tropf Blumat Watering System 

The unique feature of this Austrian irrigation system is that it measures the moisture in the soil to ensure your plants are never under or over watered. Unlike other systems where you would have to add a moisture sensor, the vital part of the system – which measures the moisture of the soil and allows the water to drip – is the ceramic probe.  

Tropf Blumat Probe

The Tropf Blumat Ceramic Probe

Filled with water and plunged into the soil, as the soil dries out it tries to pull water from the probe (through it’s porous walls) causing a partial vacuum. This pulls down a diaphragm at the top of the probe allowing water to flow through the thin drip tubing.

As the soil moistens the vacuum reduces and the diaphragm closes shutting off the water supply. In this way the compost is kept at a constant moisture level. 

Click here for more details. 

When using the Tropf Blumat System to water your hanging baskets we recommend using one probe in each basket. The reason for this is that your baskets are usually located in different positions around your property, so may be experiencing different amounts of sun, shade and wind which can affect the moisture level of the soil your plants are growing in. So you need to measure the moisture level in each basket to determine if water is allowed to drip into the soil or not.

By fitting one probe per basket you will have one point for the water to drip. This one drip point should be sufficient for baskets up to 10 inch / 25cm in diameter. For larger baskets you should add additional In-line and End-line drippers.

For example, for baskets from 11 inch up to 16 inch / 16cm up to 40cm you would need to add after the probe one In-line and one End-line Dripper.

For baskets from 17 inch up to 20 inch / 41cm up to 50cm you would need to add two in-line Drippers and one End-line Dripper.

Tropf Blumat Drippers

When drippers have been added after the probe, the probe continues to control the release of the water through the tube, so continuing to control how much water is being provided to your plants regardless of how many drippers have been fitted. 

Tropf Blumat Mains Kit Tap

Special Offer Mains Kit Tap

We’ve put together this kit which supplies you with everything you need to water twelve hanging baskets when connected to your outside tap.

You receive 12 probes so can place one in each basket, allowing the water to drip from the tube passing through the top of the probe. If you want more drip points within each basket you can extend the system by adding In-line and End-line drippers after the probe.

Click here for full details.

Gardena Drip Irrigation System

Gardena lets you control how and when your plants are watered with their totally flexible Micro Drip System.

Connected to your mains water via your outside tap, when watering hanging baskets or containers, Gardena recommends using their In-Line and End-Line drippers to give a regular, measured drip of water – you can select ones with a fixed flow rate or others that are adjustable.

Simply create a loop of tube to carry the water around your hanging basket, fitting, for example 2 ltr per hour In-Line drippers to steadily deliver water to your plants. Depending on the size of your basket Gardena suggest using up to five drippers per basket. 

2 ltr Per Hour Drippers

Ideal for plants in small spaces these drippers are designed so that you cut and refit the 4.6mm Branch Tube either side of them.

To hold them securely in your basket fit Tube Pegs around the Branch Tube and push the 9cm long plastic pegs into the compost.

Click here to see full details of the In-line Drippers 

2 Litre Per Hour In Line Drippers

Gardena’s Micro Drip System is so comprehensive and enables you to water gardens, greenhouses, containers, raised beds, etc etc we have put together a water planner which explains it all and will help you plan the perfect layout to suit your garden and plants.

Gardena Free Water Planner

Plan Your Perfect Irrigation System

Explaining how the system works, how to get started in planning and making your perfect watering system, this guide makes it simple for you to choose the correct components to create your first irrigation system.

It will also help those who need to expand their current layout to select the correct parts to do just that!

Click here to view the guide.

When Is The Best Time To Water A Hanging Basket?

Research has found that plants absorb water faster during the morning, so ideally you should water your hanging baskets or containers early in the day so they will have sufficient time to soak up the water before the temperature increases as the day progresses.

Hanging baskets need to be watered frequently – aim to water your baskets at least once a day during the summer, maybe twice if temperatures are high.

If you are using the Gardena Micro Drip system to water your baskets, then adding a Water Timer / Computer will make it easy and convenient for you to water your plants at the best time of day.

Gardena have a wide range of easy to use controllers which ensure your plants can be watered at the correct time of day, for the right length of time, even when you are out or away on holiday. The ideal choice for hanging baskets is Gardena’s Flex Water Computer as it has been especially developed to have a short run time starting from just one second for when there is limited compost volume so can only retain a small buffer of water.

Flex Water Computer

This battery powered, weatherproof controller lets you set the start time, run time and frequency of watering you require.

Setting is simple via a removeable panel so you don’t have to be knelt down by your outside tap to programme it. 

Click here for full details.

Gardena Flex Water Computer

More Nutrients Required 

Plants grown in baskets have access to a limited amount of nutrients – this is due to the fact that they are growing in a compact space with limited compost and that usually a lot of plants are crowded into a small space to make the most dramatic, colourful effect.

If you have set up an automatic way to water your baskets – either using the Tropf Blumat System – or the Gardena Micro Drip System - then this will determine how you supply your plants with nutrients to keep them healthy.

Gardena Fertiliser Dispenser

With the Gardena system you can add in a Fertiliser Dispenser.

Inserted into the main supply tube which carries the water to your baskets, this dispenser has been designed to add the fertiliser as your plants are watered.

Simply add any water-soluble fertiliser to the body of the dispenser and when the system is activated then the fertiliser will be flushed through with the water. 

Click here for purchasing details. 

With the Tropf Blumat system you would need to use a long-term /slow release fertiliser that you can add into the compost during planting. You can also top this up using a watering can with a mix of fertiliser and water.

It’s not possible to add fertiliser into the layout of the Tropf Blumat system as it would damage the ceramic probes preventing the system from working.

The 'Touch Test'

No matter how many plans you make or calculations you carry out, there is nothing better than the ‘touch test’ to tell if your hanging baskets, containers, or pot plants need watering. And it’s simple and free so perfect for every gardener!

Simply insert your finger into the soil of your hanging basket – if the soil is dry to touch 2in / 5cm deep then it’s probably time to water.

Carrying out this simple touch test can be difficult with hanging baskets because of their location – they are generally out of easy reach! So we recommend using a Hilo between your hanging basket and its’ supporting bracket. 


This innovative little gadget uses an internal spring-loaded device to release or retract a strong 80cm long extension tape. Just place both hands under the basket and ease upwards to release the locking device and lower the basket.

You can now tend to your plants and water with your feet firmly on the ground. Once finished simply place your hands under the basket and raise back into position.

Click here for full details.

Hanging Basket With Hilo

When You Leave It Too Long

If you’re away from home or forget to water your hanging baskets then the compost / soil within the basket could completely dry out and your plants wilt. If spotted in time your plants can be saved and your basket brought back to a beautiful state by soaking the basket.

You’ll need to soak the basket for between one to two hours to force the water to be absorbed slowly back into the soil so that the whole of the basket is rehydrated – don’t leave it longer than two hours as this could cause root rot problems.
It is easier to do this than try to water from the top of the basket as when all the compost has dried out it will pull away from the sides of the basket and the water will just run out between the ball of compost and the basket, leaving the compost mainly dry.  

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