The key to an eye-catching, annual hanging basket is an abundance of trailing plants, combined with upright, more blousy flowers too. You can work on the basis of having Thrillers, Fillers and Spillers. Don’t miss out any of these if you want a spectacular display.
The Thrillers are the bushy, upright examples that go into the top of the basket. They need to have spectacular flowers or form so that they are as noticeable as possible. Examples are Pelargoniums (annual geraniums), bold Fuchsias, Begonias, Petunias, colourful marigolds planted densely – anything to make a bushy impact.
The Spillers are those wonderful, cascading beauties that have colour and style. Most popular are Calibrachoa, often known as ‘million bells’, which look like a profusion of mini-petunias. Also, Surfinia which are also trailing petunias but with slightly larger flowers. Lobelia has never left the list of favourites, for very good reason as it is highly reliable and intensely colourful. Also trailing Verbena, Begonia and Fuchsia too. Then there’s Bacopa which is highly valuable for its reliable trail and dainty looking yet tough flowers in white, yellow or blue. Bidens is similarly popular, normally found in yellow but occasionally in orange too.
Finally, the fillers. These do what you can imagine – they fill in any gaps. Ideally, you don’t want to see the hanging basket itself. Fillers don’t need to flower. Something like ivy is always useful, but other plants include Dichronda such as ‘Silver Falls’ with its cascading, silvery waterfall of tiny leaves and Lysimachia, which you wouldn’t want in your flower bed but it’s perfect in a basket.