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Pruning Hanging Baskets

Gorgeous hanging baskets bring color and life up off the ground and right into view! Use these pruning techniques to keep your baskets blooming like mad until fall rolls around and kills everything.

Encourage branching in all types of hanging basket plants by snipping three stems in half every week. It's an easy rule to remember: three stems in half every seven days. Snip!

Snip unruly branches to keep the overall look neat. Cut them off about four inches from the soil line and they'll come back with more manners.

“Self-cleaning” plants do better with a little attention, though they will stay neat longer than their messier cousins. Snip spent petunia blossoms by cutting off the fine green flower stem back to the branch. Don't just pull the blown blossoms because that makes the plant think it should set seed.

Geraniums in hanging baskets need their flowers deadheaded when all the buds underneath are fully opened. Snip the whole flower stem off back to the branch.

Prune ivy geraniums in hanging baskets to give them a rounder shape. This will often encourage more blooming as well as looking very nice.

Begonias and impatiens in hanging baskets also like to be pruned. Follow the three/seven rule, and deadhead spent flower stems as well.

For nasturtiums and other vining plants, cut yellow leaves near the soil line at the same time you're pruning.

Fuchsia is an extremely low-maintenance hanging basket plant. Look them over for weak stems and spent flowers about once a week.

Filler plants like verbena and lobelia should get a gentle shake to deadhead. When they're starting to get tired toward the hot days of summer, shear off about 1/3 of these plants and they'll come back nicely in a couple of weeks.

Here's an interesting bonus tip that makes great sense: When it's time to fertilize hanging baskets, water first with plain water and allow the basket to drain thoroughly for an hour. Follow this with a thorough drink of fertilizer mixed according to the package directions. This two step process keeps soluble salts to a minimum and helps avoid fertilizer burn.

Did you know you can bring hanging baskets inside when fall arrives? Choose the strongest ones to overwinter. Shear them back severely—the longest branches should be just a few inches below the bottom of the pot. They'll need to rest in their new window homes for several weeks. Fertilize every month throughout the winter and come February you may see a few blossoms coming out!

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