With the cooler weather approaching you don’t have to resign yourself to a drab, dull garden. “Hanging baskets planted with winter flowers will brighten up your garden in the colder months,” says Awapuni gardening guru, Tod Palenski. “You could even get the kids involved for a fun Easter or wet weekend project.”

Tod says getting children involved in gardening from an early age is a great way to teach them about a whole range of topics. “Nurturing plants helps kids learn about the wonders of nature. You can also use plants to teach very young children about colours and numbers.”

Choosing your hanging basket will depend on the style of your garden. A coconut fibre basket looks great in natural gardens, while wire baskets give a cottage feel. If you’re feeling adventurous you could even use an old colander.

To assemble your hanging basket, start with a thin layer of sphagnum moss, available at all good garden stores, to line the base. Place a plastic saucer on top of the moss to stop water pouring straight out of the basket, then add another layer of sphagnum and add some potting mix.

On a family trip to the garden centre, Tod recommends choosing a tall plant for the middle, hanging flowers for the outside and bright, colourful flowers in between. Getting your kids involved with the decisions should be great fun too.

“For the centre plant, choose something that packs a bit of punch,” says Tod. “Peruvian lillies, cyclamen or primula obconica will give baskets a bit of height and interest.”

When selecting plants for the outside layer, Tod says cascading plants are the perfect choice.

“Look for poor man’s orchid, cascading lobelia, sweet william or love in a mist. They all grow well in winter and will trail over the sides of the baskets.”

For the mid-layer, it’s a good idea to choose easy-to-plant seedlings, because they flower quickly.

“Awapuni’s Pop’n’Grow seedlings have their own separate root cells so they don’t get damaged when you remove them from the containers. They’re especially great for kids, who are not always gentle!”

For variety, choose a selection of hardy annuals, such as polyanthus, smaller primulas and calendulas. Winter pansies, like Awapuni’s bright Daffidol blend or soft Frost Lemon variety, are a good choice because they can withstand the cold and flower from autumn through to the end of spring.

For a burst of colour in spring, Tod recommends underplanting your baskets with tuberous begonias and bulbs of daffodils, jonquils, and bluebells.

“If you plant bulbs in a layer under your winter plants, when spring comes around, your hanging baskets will take on a whole new look.”

Most winter plants will flower best when placed in the sunniest spot. They’ll also benefit from a little liquid fertiliser. Tod says the most important point to remember is not to over water.

"Plants don’t need a lot of water in winter. If you’re not sure whether you should water them, then put your finger in the soil and test. If it’s still moist, don’t add any water.”

Tod recommends hanging your baskets at eye level so the whole family can enjoy a bit of winter cheer.

“They’ll be low enough to add a burst of colour to your garden, but high enough to avoid a frost.”


  1. Lorron on said:

    I’m looking for a sturdy cascading plant to hang over a 3 metre high concrete block retaining wall. Any ideas?

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