Do you have a favorite perennial or annual flower that always seems to droop into the dirt, especially after you have a bout of heavy rain? If so, these flowers might be the perfect choice for a hanging flower basket. A lot of the flowers that work perfectly in hanging flower baskets are top heavy, pendulous, or creeping. Although these characteristics add interest to these flowers, it can make them a challenge to plant in a typical garden, unless you use them for a decorative display in a basket.
Because most hanging flower baskets are suspended at or above eye level, not each plant variety will work well when viewed from this angle. For example, a lot of upright plants that have flowers on the top usually don’t fit in a hanging flower basket because you end up looking at a lot of stems or leaves instead of the flowers themselves. Plants with a draping, trailing, or mounding growth habit work well, as do fragrant or tiny flowers because they’re much closer to where you can smell them each time you go by them. Some will even attract hummingbirds or butterflies to give you a close-up view of wildlife from your patio, deck, or porch.
If you’re not sure what plants to put in your hanging flower basket, this is for you. We’re going to list several of the best picks you can mix and match to create a full, lush, and gorgeous hanging flower basket that will look nice throughout the summer months below.
If you live in a place that has a very wet and cool summer, this is the hanging flower basket to get. This is a shade-loving perennial, and they do tend to wither if the summer heat or humidity rises. However, there are heat-tolerant varieties available, including Surprise, Jupiter, and Astoria. They respond very well to regular fertilizing, misting lightly every day, and deadheading to encourage new growth.
This plant grows best when you plant it outside in your hanging flower basket in zones 10 to 11. It offers purple, red, pink, white, or multicolored blooms, and it does best when you hang them in an area that gets partial sun throughout the day. They need loamy, fertile soil that you keep consistently moist. You may have to line your basket with moss to help with moisture retention, and mist them early in the morning or later in the evening each day to prevent scorching.
Fuschia by Miguel Ramirez / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
If you’re not in the correct location to grow Fuchsias, you can try the Begonia in your hanging flower basket. Depending on the type of begonia you get, you can get the same pendulous, tubular flowers as you’d get with a fuschia, but it’s more tolerant of different conditions. Begonias do wonderfully with the humidity and heat levels that come with southern summers in the United States. Additionally, the Nonstop Mocca begonias resemble roses, and they’re fully double flowers to help fill in your basket.
For these plants to do well in your hanging flower basket, you’ll want to live in planting zones 9 to 11. You can choose from orange, white, pink, yellow, or red for the flower colors to make them pop and draw the eye to the basket. They can survive in partial shade to full sun without a problem, and the soil should drain well. The soil should also be very light and rich, and you want to keep it consistently moist without saturating it.
3. Million Bells
This fun and colorful flower will help fill in any dead space in your hanging flower basket. It’s a hardy choice that’s a cousin of the more commonly known petunia. It won’t wilt or droop when the temperatures start to rise, and it stands up to humidity. This is a low maintenance plant too because they produce no or little seed and don’t require deadheading to keep producing small and cheerful flowers. The bright green foliage offsets the bright flower coloring very well.
This plant will do very well in hanging flower baskets in zones 9 to 11, and the flowers come in dozens of shades of yellow, pink, white, violet, red, magenta, blue, and bronze. It does need to be in a place that will get full, bright sunlight for six to eight hours a day to keep them happy. The soil has to be slightly acidic, but you also want it to be rich in organic matter and drain well between watering sessions.
Calibrachoa Mini Famous Orange by Serres Fortier / CC BY 2.0
You want to think of Lobelia as a seasonal plant that spills over your hanging flower basket in the early spring months. This is due to the fact that the plant does best in moderate temperatures. When it blooms, your basket will get covered with a thick mass of electric-blue flowers that have contrasting white throats. Not only does this coloring make them pop, but it appeals to butterflies. They’ll only put on a show until the end of June though, and then you’ll have to switch them out for a plant that does better with heat and humidity.
Plant lobelia in hanging flower baskets outside in zones 10 and 11. You do get a few color choices when you use it, including pink, blue, red, violet, and purple. They do best when you put them in a basket that gets partial shade to full sun each day. The soil should be very organically rich and well-draining. You want to make a point to keep the soil evenly moist by watering it lightly everyday or every other day instead of saturating it.
Lobelia by Karen Blaha / CC BY-SA 2.0
5. Sweet Alyssum
If you’ve ever sat down by the sweet alyssum in a hanging flower basket, you know that it’s exactly like being surrounded by a light, fragrant cloud. You’ll get a very strong honey-like scent with these smaller flowers that is very attractive to butterflies and bees. In the early part of the growing season, this plant has a very pretty trailing habit, and it can turn shaggy as the months go on unless you make a point to cut it back to return it to a leaner trailing habit.
To get this plant in your hanging flower basket, plant it in zones 7 to 11. You can get purple, pink, or white flowers with it, and they’re all extremely fragrant. They do need partial shade to full sun for several hours a day to be happy. The soil should be loamy and rich, but you also have to watch out for the pH values with this plant. It should be at and stay neutral to encourage healthy growth.
Sweet Alyssum by Sepehr Ehsani / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
If you live in a frost-free area, you’ve most likely found lantana growing into a very woody and wild shrub that overtakes flower beds and breeches fences. However, this plant will give your hanging flower basket vibrant clusters of flowers that give the basket a tropical feel throughout the growing season. They attract hummingbirds and butterflies too. Ideally, you’ll pick out a smaller weeping variety that won’t take over your whole basket like Patriot Rainbow or Patriot Popcorn. If this plant is very vigorous in your area, there are sterile varieties available, including Patriot or Gold Mound that don’t offer seed-filled berries.
This plant will do well in your hanging flower basket outside in zones 8 to 11. The flowers are combinations of pink, white, yellow, red, and orange with green leaves and stems. For the best results, this plant needs to be in a location that gets full sun for six or eight hours a day. The soil should drain well, but this plant will tolerate rich soils or poor soils without being affected.
Lantana by Ava Babili / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
For many people, you might know this plant as a geranium. However, this is an annual. If you had a true geranium, you’d have a very hardy perennial, so there is a key difference. This plant will introduce bright colors, bold textures, and a nice trailing habit to your hanging flower basket. As a bonus, these plants will easily bloom from the early summer months well into the fall until the first frost hits if you deadhead them as you notice the flowers dying to encourage new growth.
To get this plant in your hanging flower basket and have it do well, you have to live in zones 10 to 11. They offer white, pink, purple, red, or lavender flowers with pretty green leaves on longer stems. The flowers are clusters that sit above the leaves. They like to be in areas that get full sun to partial shade. The soil should be slightly acidic, and this is one of the few flowers that doesn’t like very rich soil. It also has to drain well between watering sessions.
Pelargoniums by paulmcdee / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Petunias have always been a favorite to put in a hanging flower basket, especially when you get into the trailing varieties. Some gardeners give up on these plants because they struggle with bedraggled plants due to rainstorms and diseases. You’ll get the best results if you try Milliflora or Multiflora. Milliflora offers continuous blooms without the need for pinching them, and Multiflora does wonderfully in wet, hot summer weather. Petunias are extremely fragrant in the evening hours, so adding a white variety will allow you to have a moon garden on your porch or patio.
These plants do best in your hanging flower basket in zones 9 to 11. They come in several shades of lavender, purple, blue, yellow, magenta, pink, maroon, white, red, and bi-colored. Petunias thrive in full sun location for six hours a day at a minimum, but they’re happier with eight hours. The soil should be very light but fertile, and it should drain well while staying slightly acidic.
Petunia by BarbaraLN / CC BY-SA 2.0
9. Lotus Vine
You can use the lotus vine to impress any gardening friends with your hanging flower basket. Native to the Canary Islands, this plant is also called the parrot’s beak vine. It’s easy to propagate and cultivate from cuttings and seeds. You’ll get greenish-grey leaves that are needle-like in structure, but they’re very soft and feathery. You’ll get bright, flame-like flowers that dot the plant all growing season long when you plant them in a sunny location. There are a few tips to keep this plant thriving.
This plant does best when you plant it in your hanging flower basket in zones 10 and 11. It grows yellow, red, or orange flowers when you place it in an area that gets full bright sun. One trick to keeping this plant happy is to mist it every single day to increase the relative humidity. You should also use a special orchid or cactus potting mix that is light but drains very well after it gets wet.
Lotus Maculatus by Vernon Hyde / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
10. Moss Rose
Better known as portulaca, moss roses work well in a hanging flower basket to add pops of color and a little texture. The flowers will open when the sun hits them, and they close back up again as the sun goes away. They are heat-loving plants that will do well when the scorching summer temperatures hit, and this is with or without humidity. They’re very drought-tolerant, so if you forget to water them once or twice, these plants will forgive you and thrive.
They do well in hanging flower baskets in a large range of planting zones from 2 to 11. The flowers are red, yellow, white, rose, and orange. As we mentioned, you do want to put them in an area that gets the most sun possible to encourage the flowers to stay open. The soil should be well-drained and sandy, but these plants will tolerate anything from dry to moist soil without an issue. They don’t like you to saturate the soil all of the time though.
Portulaca Grandiflora (Moss Rose) by Thangaraj Kumaravel / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This is another favorite plant for hanging flower baskets, and it routinely produces a host of five-lobed, tiny flowers that will easily start to drape over the side of the basket and trail down. This plant comes in an array of colors, including white, blues, blue-violet, and pink. If you get the growing conditions correct, this plant will bloom all summer long. You will have to fertilize it regularly to ensure it has enough nutrients to continue to produce the small flowers. It won’t do well if you get punishing heat indexes though.
One nice thing about this plant is that it won’t wilt, even if it gets thirsty. However, it will drop the buds and flowers if it dries out. It can come back strongly after a few weeks if you water it carefully. For hanging flower baskets, plant it zones 9 to 11 as an annual. Put it in an area that gets between full sun and partial shade, with the more sun, the better. The soil should be slightly acidic, fertile, and you should make a point to keep it slightly moist to encourage good flower production.
Bacopa by manuel m. v. / CC BY 2.0
Verbena has a reputation for being very easy to grow and tough, and this makes them excellent contenders for your hanging flower basket. They’re drought and heat-tolerant. Additionally, they’ll flower all summer long if you make a point to fertilize them regularly. They will get a little leggy as summer goes on, so don’t hesitate to get out your shears and prune them lightly now and again. They don’t necessarily need to be deadheaded, but they do look better if you remove the dead flowers. You’ll get flowers well into the fall months.
Put verbena in your hanging flower basket in zones 9 to 11 as an annual. They come in violet, red, coral, and pink coloring, and you can have single colors or variegated white. They do require full, bright sunlight to thrive and do well, and the soil should stay dry to medium moisture. It should drain very well when you water it, and it pairs well with several other plants, including sweet potato vine and creeping Jenny.
Verbena Bonariensis by Gerry Popplestone / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
13. Diamond Frost
Diamond Frost is one of the most useful and popular plants to put in a hanging flower basket available on the current market. They can help pull your basket’s look together, and they can easily fill in open spaces with a lush green and white foliage. Each plant will get up to 18-inches tall and 24-inches wide, and they produce large clouds of very small flowers starting in the spring months and going into the fall. It’s very easy to grow because it’s both drought and heat-tolerant. It also doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer to stay happy.
With your hanging flower basket, plant it if you live in zones 10 to 12. It does very well as an annual. It’ll spill over the edge of your planter and fill in open spaces without taking over. It loves to be in spaces that get partial shade to full sun. Traditional potting soil is good, as long as you keep it dry to medium-moisture. Don’t saturate it if you can help it, and make sure it’s loose enough to drain well.
Diamond Frost (Euphorbia hybrid) by Chris Hunkeler / CC BY-SA 2.0
Every big and lush hanging flower basket needs something to balance out the brighter colors, and this plant is perfect. You can get silver-leaved varieties of this plant that will gently trail down the sides of the container. The neutral color is welcome against the bright colors of the blooms and greens of the foliage. This plant is immune to mildew, and it offers very small leaves with a heart shape. They have long, trailing stems that grow very rapidly.
This plant will do well in hanging flower baskets in zones 10 to 12. You can choose from white to greenish-yellow coloring, and there are also silver varieties. This plant does need full sun for six to eight hours a day to be happy. The soil should drain well between watering sessions, and you want to keep it on the drier side to medium moisture. Don’t soak or saturate the soil if you can help it.
Dichondra by jypsygen / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
15. Cardinal Climber
This plant is a relative to the morning glory, and it works nicely in your hanging flower basket if you want a trailing-style vine. This is an annual plant that will flower from morning to dusk, and it’ll close up overnight before opening in the morning again. You get two-inch flowers, but the vine itself is the showstopper with this plant. They have fern-like leaves that are very elegant and add an interesting texture to your basket. It starts to flower in the middle of summer, but it can become invasive if you don’t stay on top of it.
This plant grows best as a hanging basket flower in zones 2 to 11, and it offers yellow or deep red flowers with white throats. It can do well in partial shade, or you can move it to an area that gets full sun without a problem. The soil should stay consistently moist and drain very well. Dry soil will cause the plant to wilt and eventually dry, so make a point to keep it on a regular watering schedule to keep it healthy and thriving.
Cardinal climber by proteinbiochemist / CC BY-NC 2.0
If you’re looking for a very easy-growing plant for your hanging flower basket, try nasturtium. The colors you’ll get with this plant really pop, and they vary from deep maroon to creamy white with a host of other color combinations available. You can choose from dwarf varieties to fill in a smaller hole in your basket, or there are much larger hanging or trailing varieties that will spill over the sides of your basket and produce yellow flowers with bright red centers.
As a bonus, this is a very low-maintenance plant to add to your hanging flower basket. You do want to make a point to water this plant regularly because you don’t want to let the soil dry out. You can apply a liquid fertilizer every two or three weeks during the active growing season to encourage continuous flowering, and you should deadhead any spent blooms to encourage new growth and keep the plant looking sharp. There are annual and perennial versions of this plant available.
Nasturtiums by Linda, Fortuna Future / CC BY-NC 2.0
Osteospermum is a type of daisy that can add a colorful and fun look to your hanging flower basket. Native to Africa, this is a perennial flower that has purple or yellow flowers. It does produce a lot of pollen, so it’s a great choice if you want to attract bees to your yard. They have deep green foliage with shorter stems, so you’ll be able to see the cheerful daisy face when you look at them in your basket. They’re also relatively low-maintenance, so new gardeners love them.
To keep this plant happy in your hanging flower basket, put it in a shaded area. While they can survive in full sun in your hanging flower basket, they’re also prone to scorching. So, partial to full shade is best. They’re also not tolerant to frost, so either let them die or bring them indoors when the temperatures start to dip down. Water the basket frequently, and fill it with well-draining, loose soil that is very rich in nutrients.
Osteospermum by Dean Morley / CC BY-ND 2.0
18. Creeping Jenny
Although this plant is usually grown as a low-maintenance groundcover, creeping jenny is a nice addition to just about any hanging flower basket. The lime green leaves are very popular in baskets, but it can also produce a decent amount of bright yellow flowers that look nice when you see them against the brighter leaves. It can easily spill down the sides of the basket with the correct growing conditions, and it does best in zones three to nine. You can routinely trim it back if it starts to take over.
In your hanging flower basket, this plant needs to have consistently moist soil that isn’t soggy. They like damp areas with room to spread out. The flowers shouldn’t dry out between watering sessions, and you want to put the basket in the partial shade to full sun. You shouldn’t have to fertilize it much to encourage good growth, and it doesn’t require deadheading to continue to produce a lot of flowers. Don’t let it choke out your other plants in the basket.
Creeping Jenny by Kevin / CC BY-NC 2.0
These 18 plants will work wonderfully in your hanging flower basket. You can easily mix and match them to create full, lush baskets that wow from the early spring to the fall months. It’s a good idea to pick plants that have similar growing conditions in each basket to keep everyone happy, but a lot of the plants on the list will go well together. So, plant your hanging baskets and get ready to see riots of colors and lush foliage all summer long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.