Walk through a garden center and you’ll find all kinds of hanging baskets.
Below is a collection of small plants, and how they can grow in all sorts of hanging baskets.
We’ll suggest some appropriate ways of growing these feisty vines and creepers.
Cultural information is included in the alphabetical listing that follows.
Single or Combo Planters
Let your artistic side guide you as to whether a basket will be look prettier with one kind of plant, or if a combo of other plants will improve it.
Create hanging miniature gardens in any small container you might have in your kitchen or attic or find at an antique shop.
For example, you might create a kitchen window garden of miniature hanging plants by placing them in a:
- Measuring cup
- Soup ladle
- A funnel
- Small gelatin mold
If the selected planter has no drainage hole, place a generous portion of charcoal in its bottom.
This will help to keep the soil fresh. Be extra careful in watering a basket with no drainage hole.
Keep the soil moist at all times, but never pour on the water unless you want the effect of a flood on your miniature plants.
Wire Hanging Baskets And Sphagnum Moss
Some plants thrive in hanging baskets made of sphagnum moss planted in a formed wire basket.
However, the smallest available is 8″ inches in diameter.
If you want smaller moss baskets, make your own out of small-meshed chicken wire, or other, such as easy-to-work-with plastic screen wire.
When you have the basket molded to the size and shape desired, place the moss in it.
Sphagnum for this purpose must be unmilled – as coarse as you can find.
Spread and pack it, all around the bottom and sides of the basket. Then, make a liner of burlap or other rough material to place between the moss and the soil.
This liner will keep the soil from draining through the sphagnum with every watering, and thus, it gives the basket a longer life.
Miniature Rhizomatous Begonias
Miniature rhizomatous begonias grow from a small rhizome that creeps and darts along the soil, over the pot rim, and then swoops at random, always staying close to the container.
These grow best in a sphagnum moss basket and a semi-shady, warm, humid atmosphere. They thrive in moist soil rich in humus.
Mix your own by combining equal amounts of sand, garden loam, and leaf mold.
Ceropegias woodii and debilis are vines grow to perfection in a suspended container. They will thrive in a cool to warm, shady to sunny window sill.
In other words, they’re easy to grow, likable and attractive. Plant them in humusy soil. You may know woodii as the rosary vine.
Its mosaic-patterned, green and silver, heart-shaped leaves are strung in pairs along a brownish red, string-size stem.
Debilis has rosy-backed, green leaves, so slender you may miss them! If the stems grow too long, lasso them up, over and around the basket.
These are two of the choicest miniatures for any kind of hanging container.
Columnea microphylla has close-strung, small, fuzzy, opposite leaves on a wiry, slender, trailing stem.
Its flowers are anything but miniature. They are not only large, but their fiery orange-red coloring stops everyone.
Columneas need a warm, humid, semi-shady place in which to grow. They like to spread their roots in moist, woodsy, humus-filled soil.
Grow the columnea in a moss basket, or other suspended container, so long as the soil is kept moist at all times.
Cyanotis somaliensis – kitty ears to many, because of the silver down on the leaves.
It is a succulent trailer that will thrive in any good garden soil in full sun.
It needs a container that is well-drained and it is not particularly suited to a moss basket.
Cyanotis Kewensis the teddy bear vine is also a good option.
Ficus pumila has heart-shaped, quilted leaves that are less than a half-inch long.
This tiny creeper is useful for all types of hanging gardens. It needs warmth, moist soil and semi or filtered sun.
Ficus pumila minima are slow growing and lends itself to artistic training.
For example, instead of a basket use it as a miniature espalier, since it stays in bounds for a long time.
Hatiora cactus is one of the strangest plants many have ever grown. Though classified as a cactus, it has more of the texture and coloring of mistletoe.
Each small branchlet is bottle-shaped, and the plant gets its popular name of drunkard’s dream.
Hatiora is suited to a warm, semi-shady place. It does not require high humidity but likes a moist soil (try a mixture of equal parts sandy loam, vermiculite and perlite). Hatiora bears yellow-tipped salmon flowers.
Hedera helix (English ivy) miniatures like a cool to moderate temperature, several hours of sunlight each day and a moist, loamy garden soil.
Some are tolerant of low-light intensity.
These may be grown as hanging plants in almost any container so long as the soil is moist at all times.
In a hot, dry atmosphere, English ivy is sure to be a popular feeding ground for red spider mites.
Help prevent this by giving the foliage a thorough dousing with water at least once a week.
If mites persist and mottle the foliage, use a house plant insecticide like neem oil.
Then, see if you can increase the moisture content of the air around your window garden.
Helxine soleirolii (baby’s tears) is a tiny, succulent, ground-hugging foliage plant.
It grows best in high humidity in a moderate to warm semi-shady place.
Helxine may be used alone in a small basket, or as a ground cover around larger hanging plants.
Hoya plants will thrive in a moderate to warm, sunny window.
It does not demand any special attention and will probably survive a drought, lest you are forgetful.
Bella produces umbels of fragrant, blush pink, star-shaped flowers. The variety known as the Hindu Rope Hoya makes for interesting baskets.
It should be grown by itself in any hanging container, so long as the soil does not remain sloshy wet for any length of time.
Peperomia rubella combines beautifully with other miniature hanging plants or, as a soloist, it is striking in a five-inch, red pottery strawberry jar.
Like other peperomias, rubella needs warmth, a loamy garden soil on the dry side, and filtered sunlight.
In other words, it will grow in most apartments and houses. Another species useful for small baskets is Peperomia prostrata.
Pilea depressa has the fresh appearance of a bed of crisp, dew-sprinkled leaf lettuce in the springtime.
This neat creeper is showy alone, or in combination with other basket plants that like a moist, humusy soil, and a warm, semi-shady, humid atmosphere.
Unusual Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides and Rhipsalis cereuscula are, at first, the same as Hatiora.
On close inspection all three are different. However, Rhipsalis and Hatiora do require the same culture.
Rhipsalis mesembryanthemoides bears small white flowers. Rhipsalis cereuscula has pink-white ones.
These three plants may be used in combination in any type of hanging basket, or they may be planted individually.
I’ve never been happy with any of these when they were mixed with other kinds of plants.
Sedums For Hanging Baskets
There are several sedum plants that are miniature and ideal for hanging baskets.
They like bright sunlight, cool to warm temperatures, and good garden soil that is never drippy wet.
Sedum stahlii is one desirable species. It has half-inch, opposite leaves of dark green to brown and yellow flowers.
Another wee growing one has frosty, blue-green foliage. But, it has no label, and never been able to identify it.
However, you can find pygmy-size sedums in most collections of cacti and succulents, either locally or in a catalog.
Selaginella kraussiana is a delicate fern-like miniature ground cover for hanging baskets.
Or, planted at the top of a strawberry jar, it will stalk itself down into the side pockets of soil, eventually forming a feathery ball of airy, fresh green.
It requires warmth, high humidity and full shade.
Small Wantering Jew Plants
Tradescantia multiflora nana (Tahitian bridal veil) is probably the smallest of the inch plants, or wandering Jews.
It likes filtered light and good garden loam that is kept moist. Tradescantia navicularis, the chain plant, will grow under the same conditions.
Its folded small green leaves grow shingle-fashion on a branching, creeping stem. The leaf undersides are purple-spotted.