How to Revitalize Your Hanging Baskets

If you want to freshen up the look of your hanging basket, a quick nip and tuck with a pair of shears does the trick

Keep your hanging baskets looking fresh with a quick pruning session

Freshen up the look of your droopy hanging baskets with a quick shear

Question: Every April I purchase hanging baskets to decorate my townhome, but after three months or so, they don’t look as fresh—is there something I can do to perk them up?

Answer: Beautiful fresh hanging baskets bursting with colour are one of the most popular springtime garden treasures.

At our home, they are a highlight in our patio and porch areas, spring through summertime. But come mid to late July, they can admittedly look a little tired and spent.

That’s when I pull out my hedge shears. With no concern for where or what I’m pruning off, I use those shears to clip away all the outer growth and blossoms, leaving each plant as just a green mound about half the size of its former self.

Wim Vander Zalm hanging basket

A quick nip and tuck can turn back the clock on your hanging basket’s appearance

Talk about resilient — within two weeks, all the annuals in each hanging basket will have exploded in growth. Buds and blooms will replicate, and even surpass, their earlier glory. Don’t forget to add fertilizer, though. After the trimming, the plant will need nutrition to ensure healthy, lush, green growth.


Just Ask Wim

  • Begin trimming with hedge shears, scissors or hand pruners.
  • The goal is to remove 50 per cent of the growth, especially the long, trailing bits.
  • Don’t forget to compost all clippings, as they’re rich in nitrogen, which can warm and help compost the material in the box.
  • If you have a mixed basket with an upright plant in the centre, leave the centre plant alone. It’s normally trailing plants that become leggy.
  • The finished product needs to be fertilized (soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer on a weekly basis) and hung back up.
  • Although it appears drastic, this major cutback will benefit the basket in the long run. It will return to its original fullness in just two to three weeks.

Which fruits and vegetables grow best in patio pots? When is the best time to cut back rhodos? These are just some of the 100+ burning questions that garden expert Wim Vander Zalm answers in his frank, friendly and often funny bestselling new book Just Ask Wim! Down-to-Earth Gardening Answers.