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Best Hanging Basket Plants

By: Sherri Ribbey
Looking for the best plants to grow in hanging baskets? Give these 8 plants a try!

Best-hanging-basket-plants-fuschia-pvR: Fuschia flowers make a beautiful addition to hanging baskets.

No-Fail plants for hanging baskets

Growing beautiful hanging baskets is easy when you choose the right plants. Generally, those that have a trailing or mounding habit work best — they fit the proportions of the basket and spill over the edge creating an elegant draping look. Plants with upright habits can get too tall and look out of balance. Add a few foliage plants and they'll provide color all season, even when flowers take a break. Now let's take a look at eight plants that are great hanging basket performers.

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Begonia (Begonia hybrids)

Wax begonias and wing begonias are the toughest members of this huge group of plants. They can take sun or shade, the flowers last for weeks and some varieties even have colorful foliage.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Pink, white, red or orange from late spring to frost Light Full sun to part shade Size 6 to 34 in. tall, 6 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Fuchsia (Fuchsia hybrids)

These tender perennials have unique, pendulous flowers that thrive in cool weather and shade. The drooping blooms come in pink, purple, orange, red and white, often with two different colors on a single flower. And hummingbirds love them! Fuchsias can be upright or trailing, so be sure to check the size on the tag before you buy.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Purple, pink, white or bicolors in late spring to frost Light Full sun to part shade Size 4 to 24 in. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11

Profusion™ zinnia (Zinnia hybrids)

This series of zinnias bloom nonstop in a wide range of colors. They have a mounded habit that’s not too big and is a great way to top off the basket.

Type Annual Blooms White, orange, orange, apricot or pink in late spring through frost Light Full sun Size 12 to 18 in. tall and wide

‘Trailing Burgundy’ coleus (Plectranthus hybrid)

Coleus as a trailer? Sure! Low-growing cultivars, such as ‘Trailing Burgundy’ in the hanging basket above, only reach 10 to 12 inches tall with small 1 inch leaves. This coleus takes on a lovely cascading form that looks amazing spilling out of hanging baskets. Pair it with other shade-loving trailers, such as the begonia (Begonia boliviensis) in the photo, to add a bit of extra color.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annul) Blooms Lavender in late summer Light Part shade Size 10 to 12 in. tall, trails up to 30 in. Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Fanflower (Scaevola aemula)

Heat- and drought-tolerant, fanflower blooms all season starting in late spring. If plants get leggy trim stems back by a third for a more compact habit and better blooming. Whirlwind® Pink in the photo grows 8 to 12 in. tall, 18 to 24 in. wide and doesn't need deadheading to keep blooming.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annul) Blooms Lavender-blue flowers from late spring to frost Light Full sun Size 9 to 18 in. tall, 12 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)

Lobelia offers calming hues of blue, purple or white, depending on the variety, and an airy texture to contrast with other plants. Lobelia does best in cool temperatures and will often fade as summer temperatures rise. Grow it with heat loving plants and those can fill when the lobelia is done.

Type Annual Blooms Blue, white or pink from spring to summer Light Full sun to part shade Size 6 to 14 in. tall, 6 to 16 in. wide

Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas)

You can’t beat sweet potato vine’s interesting foliage that’s found mostly in chartreuse but can also be variegated or shades of purple. Some varieties grow quite large but Emerald Lace above is just 8 to 10 in. tall and 24 to 36 in. wide so it’s one won’t take over the basket.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Deeply lobed chartreuse folaige from spring to frost, it rarely flowers Light Full sun to part shade Size 4 to 16 in. tall, 18 to 72 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11

Geranium (Pelargonium hybrids)

Annual geranium is a hanging basket classic that offers a vibrant punch of color while also being quite drought-resistant. Deadheading does help it rebloom more quickly so use them in basket that's easy to reach.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red, pink, orange, white and bicolors in late spring to fall Light Full sun Size 5 to 24 in. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11

Begonia (Begonia hybrids)

Wax begonias and wing begonias are the toughest members of this huge group of plants. They can take sun or shade, the flowers last for weeks and some varieties even have colorful foliage.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Pink, white, red or orange from late spring to frost Light Full sun to part shade Size 6 to 34 in. tall, 6 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Fanflower (Scaevola aemula)

Heat- and drought-tolerant, fanflower blooms all season starting in late spring. If plants get leggy trim stems back by a third for a more compact habit and better blooming. Whirlwind® Pink in the photo grows 8 to 12 in. tall, 18 to 24 in. wide and doesn't need deadheading to keep blooming.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annul) Blooms Lavender-blue flowers from late spring to frost Light Full sun Size 9 to 18 in. tall, 12 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Fuchsia (Fuchsia hybrids)

These tender perennials have unique, pendulous flowers that thrive in cool weather and shade. The drooping blooms come in pink, purple, orange, red and white, often with two different colors on a single flower. And hummingbirds love them! Fuchsias can be upright or trailing, so be sure to check the size on the tag before you buy.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Purple, pink, white or bicolors in late spring to frost Light Full sun to part shade Size 4 to 24 in. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11

Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)

Lobelia offers calming hues of blue, purple or white, depending on the variety, and an airy texture to contrast with other plants. Lobelia does best in cool temperatures and will often fade as summer temperatures rise. Grow it with heat loving plants and those can fill when the lobelia is done.

Type Annual Blooms Blue, white or pink from spring to summer Light Full sun to part shade Size 6 to 14 in. tall, 6 to 16 in. wide

Profusion™ zinnia (Zinnia hybrids)

This series of zinnias bloom nonstop in a wide range of colors. They have a mounded habit that’s not too big and is a great way to top off the basket.

Type Annual Blooms White, orange, orange, apricot or pink in late spring through frost Light Full sun Size 12 to 18 in. tall and wide

Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas)

You can’t beat sweet potato vine’s interesting foliage that’s found mostly in chartreuse but can also be variegated or shades of purple. Some varieties grow quite large but Emerald Lace above is just 8 to 10 in. tall and 24 to 36 in. wide so it’s one won’t take over the basket.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Deeply lobed chartreuse folaige from spring to frost, it rarely flowers Light Full sun to part shade Size 4 to 16 in. tall, 18 to 72 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11

‘Trailing Burgundy’ coleus (Plectranthus hybrid)

Coleus as a trailer? Sure! Low-growing cultivars, such as ‘Trailing Burgundy’ in the hanging basket above, only reach 10 to 12 inches tall with small 1 inch leaves. This coleus takes on a lovely cascading form that looks amazing spilling out of hanging baskets. Pair it with other shade-loving trailers, such as the begonia (Begonia boliviensis) in the photo, to add a bit of extra color.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annul) Blooms Lavender in late summer Light Part shade Size 10 to 12 in. tall, trails up to 30 in. Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11

Geranium (Pelargonium hybrids)

Annual geranium is a hanging basket classic that offers a vibrant punch of color while also being quite drought-resistant. Deadheading does help it rebloom more quickly so use them in basket that's easy to reach.

Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Red, pink, orange, white and bicolors in late spring to fall Light Full sun Size 5 to 24 in. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11

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