© 2006 - 2018 The Flower Farm inc

(from previous page)
Page 3

Do not pack the soil in. Roots need air. Packing the soil eliminates the air. Just tap the container lightly on your work bench a couple of times to settle the soil.


Choose your plants. The most important thing is to choose plants that require similar growing conditions. Donít combine sun lovers with those requiring shade or those that love moisture with those that thrive in dry soil.


Choose colors that you like. Donít worry too much about rules. That being said, there are some combinations that just donít work.


Plant habit: I believe it was P. Allen Smith that coined the term ďthrillers, fillers and spillersĒ. The theory being that every combination planting should include a thriller (upright plant), some fillers (mounding plants) and some spillers (trailing plants). With all due respect to the incredibly talented Mr. Smith, I urge the reader to forget that rule. You can create a gorgeous hanging basket of all fillers or all spillers, or any combination, including or not including a thriller. You decide. Itís your creation. Some basic rules however, are in order. The thriller (if used) should go in the center or slightly off center of the basket. The fillers should occupy the middle ground between the center and the edge while the spillers go near the edge. An exception to this last point are extremely vigorous spillers such as Wave Petunias which should go near the center.


Prune your plants. The key to growing a full, lush hanging basket is pruning. Plants that branch from a central stem are pinched (the growing tip of each branch is removed). Those that grow multiple branches from the crown are sheared (gather up the branches and give them a light haircut using scissors). At The Flower Farm most every plant in every basket is pruned at least three times. If you buy the plants for your basket from us, they have likely been pruned twice already so all that remains for you is to prune once more as you plant.  

continued next column
(from previous column)

Remove all flowers and buds at this time as well. Allow the plants to put all of their energy into growing and youíll be rewarded with more flowers in just a few weeks.


Plant your basket. Pack your basket full. We suggest 5 to 7 plants for a 12 inch basket, 12 to 16 for a 16 inch basket. You may need to massage the root balls a bit to get them to fit. Fill in around them with more potting soil to the level of the tops of the root balls. Remember not to pack the soil. Rather, just shake the container gently. Water them in gently but thoroughly and add more soil if needed. When you are done there should be about 1 inch of space between the top of the soil and the edge of the basket.  Refer to our container garden care handout (also available at SandpointFlowerFarm.com) for some tips one how to care for your creation.


We are happy to help you create your perfect hanging basket. Youíll find a few recipes at the recipe page of our web site or just come in and ask one of our expert staff to help you pick plants and design your basket. Helping you succeed is one of our favorite jobs!


Spring 2010
Gardeners living west of the Cascade range have enjoyed using Hardy Fuchsias as perennials for over 150 years but is it possible in North Idaho? Being a Fuchsia nut myself, I decided to try a few. We planted four different varieties of Hardies when we settled here in 2004. All died the first winter except for one. That one, Fuchsia 'Riccartonii' lives to this day!

continued next column
(from previous column)
For the botanically inclined, HORTUS THIRD describes Riccartonii as a hybrid of Fuchsia globosa and Fuchsia magellanica. Other sources simply list it as a cultivar (variety) of F. magellanica. Whatever it is, we've found it to be as hardy as a rock (for a Fuchsia) and as tough as nails. Just how hardy? Some authorities list it as a zone 8 plant (an obvious error). Others list it in zone 6. We have enjoyed it in our zone 5 Selle Valley garden for going on 6 years, having experienced and survived temperatures as low as 16 below zero Fahrenheit!

In gardens experiencing only mild frost, Riccartonii is an upright shrub growing up to 12 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide. In our garden it dies to the ground each winter, emerging in late spring and growing to about 2 to 3 feet by summer's end. Its dainty single flowers feature long red sepals and a purple corolla. It flowers profusely, all summer long and right into autumn 'til first frost.

Hardy Fuchsias prefer part sun or dappled shade though most will tolerate full sun or full shade. We've found Riccartonii to be best in half day morning sun. Expect the foliage to appear bleached in full sun and expect fewer flowers in full shade. They're not terribly fussy but prefer well drained, moist soil with a slightly acid pH and a generous quantity of organic matter. They will reward you greatly for the regular application of fertilizer. Hardies are relatively pest and disease free.

If you would like to give them a try in your garden, it is important to start right. Choose a protected spot such as against the foundation of your home.

A clear eastern exposure is best but if such an exposure is unavailable choose a site with some protection from the hottest afternoon sun. Acclimate them to their new environment. Even these tough little buggers can get sun or wind burn after being coddled in the greenhouse through the winter.

Work plenty of compost into the soil. If your soil is a bit alkaline use peat moss instead. Work a little of your favorite all purpose fertilizer in as well. Fuchsias respond well to Organic or timed release fertilizers.

continued next page
Fuchsia 'Ricartonii'