Hanging baskets are an ever popular way to display flowers and plants in homes and businesses. Growing the hanging baskets yourself is an enjoyable way to create the exact display and colour scheme you are looking for.
One of the first things you need to choice before you start planting is a hanging basket liner. For the amateur gardener, there is a very wide choice of hanging baskers liners available in garden centres and online. However, it is not always obvious which are the best hanging basket liners to use and in what situation. The type of hanging baskets that are freely available include coco or coir, sisa, jute, wool, wood fibre pulp and fleece.
This article looks at which liners may be the best depending on what you are looking for and where you are planning to use them.
This is entirely a matter of taste and there is no right answer. To highlight some of the choices available you are normally looking at a brown, tan or green coloured liner. In recent years there has been a trend towards brightly coloured hanging basket frames and you can buy matching liners in pink, yellow and orange although these are not common yet. Each material has a different texture and appearance. For the more traditional wrought iron hanging baskets, troughs and hayracks coco liners make a good choice. If you are side planting then the liner material is unlikely to be seen and synthetic or fleece based liners make for a good choice in this situation.
The manufacturers such as Gardman, Tom Chambers and Botanico make liners that specifically fit their frames. Of course, as well as hanging baskets there are also hayracks, troughs and wall baskets so a great many different shapes to consider. Using a manufacturers liner makes it very easy to find a replacement that fits exactly. If you cannot find an exact fit then you can use a cut to fit liner for the frame and layer in the compost afterwards. This is a reasonable compromise for the more unusual shaped frames on the market.
Many experienced gardeners have their own views on which hanging basket liners provide the best drainage for ventilation for plant health. There’s no definitive answer to this but many gardeners believe that the more natural liners – particularly coco fibre liners provide for good results and the right levels of drainage. This probably varies depending on the plants being used and the location and climate. As with all these things it’s best to test a few out yourself to see which ones work best for you and your plants.
If you are intending to reuse your liners again the synthetic liners offer the best choice. Wood fibre pulp liners are strictly single use because the water damages them. Coco fibre liners can be used again but you would be lucky to get a third season from them as the fibre does come apart over time. Sise/Jute mix liners are a hardier and longer lasting. However, it is fleece style liners that are likely to last the longest due to the material used. The only thing likely to reduce their lifetime is if you cut them for side planting or snag them with the chain or frames.
Whether the hanging basket liners are eco-friendly is an increasingly important question for gardeners. Fleece liners are long lasting because they do not bio-degrade but is a disadvantage from an environmental perspective. Coco liners and wood pulp liners do bio-degrade although the origin of the material does need to be from sustainable sources in order to limit any impact to the environment. Wool liners are perhaps the most environmentally friendly because they are a sustainable product by definition and because the material bio-degrades as well. Wool can also avoid the use of dye that is often used in the more common hanging basket liners.
If you concerned about birds pecking at the hanging basket liners to use as nesting materials it is best to stay away from the natural fibres particularly coco fibre. Synthetic liners made from fleece or the wood fibre pulp are the best choice in this situation. For most people, birds are not a major problem so do not influence which liners they use for their baskets.
In summary, the choice of hanging basket liners is very broad and there are literally hundreds of different types to choose from. Once you’ve decided which colour to choice, the shape and the material you are probably only left with a few options. The best thing to do is to try a few out to see which ones give you the best results for your flower displays this season. When you find the one you like keep a note of the label or stock code so you can buy them again next year.
Good luck with your hanging baskets!