Date: 21 October 2005
Originally published in: Various local newspapers (UK)
Written by: Kim Wilde
With the onset of cooler autumn weather and the first frosts, your summer containers and hanging baskets will be starting to look tired and past their best. Now is the time to replant them to ensure colour and interest throughout the autumn, winter and early spring periods. Firstly, empty your old containers and hanging baskets completely, ensuring any old material and compost are placed into your compost bin to be recycled. Next, thoroughly clean the inside of your containers or baskets with mild soapy water to prevent pests and diseases over-wintering and if necessary replace worn hanging basket chains and liners. Your empty containers and hanging baskets should be completely refilled using fresh compost, such as J. Arthur Bowers Multi Purpose Compost. This will ensure that your plants receive the right amount of nutrients throughout the autumn and winter and will provide you with the best possible display. With containers, remember to place a layer of clean crocks in the base of your pot, which will help with drainage. Containers should always be displayed on pot feet, which will prevent water-logging.
At this time of the year, there are many plants available from garden centres that are suitable for planting in winter containers and hanging baskets. I always use Winter Flowering Pansies, as these provide good colour even in the coldest of periods, but there are a whole range of other possibilities you could consider, such as Viola, Bellis, Polyanthus, Cyclamen, Winter Flowering Heathers, Ornamental Cabbage, Yoder Chrysanthemums, Dwarf Conifers, Ivy, Evergreen Shrubs and Herbs. Spring Flowering Bulbs can also be added to your containers and hanging baskets now, to enhance your display next spring. Dwarf Narcissi, Daffodils, Tulips, Crocus, Snowdrops and Hyacinths are all ideal for this purpose. When planning your display ensure you choose colours that contrast with each other. Yellow and blue or pink and blue can look particularly stunning. After planting, position your containers and hanging baskets in a bright and sheltered position and water regularly as required. They will benefit also from an occasional liquid plant feed such as J. Arthur Bowers Tub & Basket Plant Food. Remember to remove dead flower heads to encourage more flowers for a continual display.
Check regularly for any signs of pest or disease attack and treat immediately as required.