Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > April 2013 > Hanging Basket Spring Fever

Hanging Basket Spring Fever

I’ve always kind of enjoyed the crazy rush of our annual flowering hanging basket sale. Years ago, in our old location, the trucks would pull up to a gate at the side of our garden center, and a dozen or so employees would form a queue, grabbing the handles of the baskets as they were handed off of the back of the truck. Lots of laughing and chatting among the workers gave the ordeal a festive air. The young guys would always try to show off with the number of plants they could carry in one trip, sometimes to the detriment of the plants themselves. But the most entertaining aspect of the unloading was the introduction of the odd impatient customer who sometimes made it even into the truck, looking for the prettiest geranium or impatiens basket. There was always a frenzy to start the blooming season!
Our employees and our customers are still impatient to get into the wonderful early stages of flowering annual season. But I think our current facility has cut down on the “frenzy” aspect. We unload the majority of the trucks behind the scenes in an attempt to get price tags on them before folks start grabbing and filling their shopping carts. Wise customers come in pairs or groups of three or more, handling multiple carts, and filling them with the biggest, most colorful of the blooming baskets.
Geraniums still remain our most popular flowering annual basket. Their size and ease of care mean that you get the most bang for your buck. Whether you hang them on the sunny side of your porch or pop them out of the basket and into a planter, annual geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum) just say SUMMER! Red geraniums are still the top seller, but hybridizers are always working on new shades of red, pink, salmon, orange, and more. White seems to be the hardest to come by, perhaps because white flowers show their age faster, needing more frequent dead-heading. 
Geraniums are drought and heat tolerant, making them a perfect choice for mid-day to afternoon sun locations. Zonal geraniums, grown from cuttings, produce large flowers on upright plants. Ivy geraniums (Pelargonium peltatum cultivars) are a trailing type of geranium with ivy-like pointed five-lobed leaves. And newer hybrids, combining aspects of both zonal and ivy geraniums, are now available. Seed geraniums (grown from seed) do not make good basket or container plants as they do not grow very large. They are, however, fine for bedding use since they shed their spent flowers, avoiding the need for dead-heading.
Other flowering annual baskets for sunny spots include petunias, portulaca, scaevola, lantana, verbena, osteospermum, and million bells. For light shade, dappled sun, or morning sun use wax begonias, angel wing begonias, tuberous begonias, Lobelia, and Torenia. 
Unfortunately, the current wide spread of the disease Impatiens Downy Mildew (IDM), means that most growers on the East coast are not growing impatiens until the disease is controlled. It causes defoliation and collapse of Impatiens walleriana and its cultivars. New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri hybrids), however, are showing some immunity to this disease thus far.
Posted: 4/5/2013 by Margot | with 1 comment(s)
Filed under: MargotGunn, TheGreatIndoors
That's more than senislbe! That's a great post!
5/20/2013 11:10:32 AM

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