Top 10 hanging basket plants

Nurseryman's Choice Hanging Basket Mixed Collection from T&M

Fill your hanging baskets with the best plants for gorgeous summer colour
Image: Nurseryman's Choice Hanging Basket Mixed Collection from Thompson & Morgan

There's nothing quite as captivating as a well-kept entrance flanked by a pair of exuberantly overflowing hanging baskets. Filled with colour, texture and scent, baskets are a great way to brighten up sheds, garages, fences and patios. Once you’ve chosen from the wide range of hanging basket hardware available, it’s really easy to order trays of annual bedding plants and create colourful themed displays. And if you prefer perennials, there are plenty of options for long-lasting interest. 

Here are ten of our favourite hanging basket plants to help you make a real statement:

  1. Begonia x tuberhybrida
  2. Fuchsias
  3. Petunias
  4. Bacopa
  5. Lobelia
  6. Calibrachoa
  7. Geraniums (Pelargoniums)
  8. Osteospermum
  9. Nasturtiums
  10. Verbena

Read on to find out why each of these plants won a place in our coveted top ten, or browse our full range of basket and container annuals for even more choice.

1. Begonia x tuberhybrida

Pre-planted Begonia x tuberhybrida 'Apricot Shade Improved' basket from T&M

Begonia x tuberhybrida varieties produce huge flowers
Image: Pre-planted Begonia x tuberhybrida 'Apricot Shade Improved' basket from Thompson & Morgan

Begonia x tuberhybrida plants are shade tolerant, so a great basket choice for the darker side of the house. These Begonias produce huge blooms, often with exciting double rows of petals and impressive picotee detailing. Fill your basket with Begonia x tuberhybrida plug plants and hang it under cover for a week or two to allow your plants to establish. These Begonias bloom in any weather throughout summer.

Go for Begonia x tuberhybrida 'Non-stop Mocca’ for its lovely dark foliage and different coloured blooms or choose Begonia x tuberhybrida ‘Majestic Mixed’ for giant double blooms that reach up to 20cm across. 

Garden-ready option: Pre-planted Begonia x tuberhybrida ‘Apricot Shade Improved’ basket.

2. Fuchsias

Fuchsia 'Eruption' from T&M

New Fuchsia 'Eruption' is the perfect hanging basket perennial
Image: Fuchsia 'Eruption' from Thompson & Morgan

Fuchsias make fantastic hanging basket plants! In fact, compact trailing varieties display their huge blooms to best advantage from below. Excellent value for money, these semi-hardy perennials provide an extravagant show for many years, provided they’re overwintered in a frost-free place. 

Try Fuchsia Giant-Flowered Collection with blooms up to 10cm across, or Fuchsia ‘Eruption’ for a dramatic blaze of slender, fiery pink flowers from trailing stems. 

Garden-ready option: Pre-planted Fuchsia ‘Trailing Mixed’ basket.

3. Petunias

Petunia 'Amore™ Queen of Hearts' from Thompson & Morgan

Petunia 'Amore™ Queen of Hearts' flowers throughout the summer
Image: Petunia 'Amore™ Queen of Hearts' from Thompson & Morgan

Petunias have it all - large blooms, a lovely scent, lush foliage and a fantastic mix of trailing and compact habits. With bold block colours and fun picotee flowers, Petunias put on a fantastic show in hanging baskets all throughout the summer. 

Petunia 'Back to Black’ is a new variety with striking, velvety black blooms that reach a height and spread of 30cm. For something brighter, try the extra special Petunia 'Amore™ Queen of Hearts' which features five clear red love hearts against a background of pure yellow. 

Garden-ready option: Pre-planted petunia 'Frills & Spills™ Mixed’ pre-planted basket

4. Bacopa

Bacopa 'Snowflake' from Thompson & Morgan

Bacopa is a great addition to hanging baskets for softening displays
Image: Bacopa 'Snowtopia' from Thompson & Morgan

Bacopa is a valuable plant in hanging baskets. It’s easy to grow and the flower-covered stems trail down to well over 45cm. These dainty, yet incredibly tough plants are the perfect way to add volume to colour-themed baskets or mixed displays. 

Go for Bacopa 'Baristo® Pink' for delicate pastel pink blooms or Bacopa 'Baristo® Blue' for baby blue. Our favourite for hanging baskets is classic white - Bacopa ‘Snowflake’ can be combined with any other coloured flower or planted alone for an unusual and elegant display.

5. Lobelia

Lobelia 'Cascade Improved Mixed' from Thompson & Morgan

Plant up a basket of mixed Lobelia for a colourful airy display
Image: Lobelia 'Cascade Improved Mixed' from Thompson & Morgan

Lobelia is an impressive annual that produces airy foliage and clouds of delicate flowers in white, pink or blue during the summer months. A great way to fill out mixed baskets, these versatile blooms provide the perfect backdrop to other bedding plants. 

For a dazzling cascade of violet-blue flowers, try Lobelia 'Monsoon'. And for a slightly more compact variety, Lobelia ‘White Lady’ produces pretty white flowers that spread to 20cm, ideal for planting around the edge or underside of a basket.

6. Calibrachoa

Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Red' from Thompson & Morgan

Calibrachoa Calita 'Million Bells Red' is extremely fast-growing
Image: Calibrachoa 'Million Bells Red' from Thompson & Morgan

These ‘miniature petunias’ are prolific bloomers, producing a long-lasting display in a glorious range of colours. Calibrachoa are vigorous, weather-proof and grow well in sun or shade, making them an ideal choice for trickier parts of the garden. They don't even need dead-heading - they literally look after themselves! 

For a bold hanging basket display, go for Calibrachoa ‘Million Bells Red’ which produces clouds of scarlet flowers. And for a fun kaleidoscope of summer colour, try Calibrachoa ‘Million Bells Mix’ which, as its name suggests, contains a mixture of our popular ‘Million Bells’ series in mauve, yellow, white and pink. 

7. Geraniums (Pelargoniums)

Geranium 'GeRainbow Mixed' from Thompson & Morgan

Geranium 'GeRainbow Mixed' provides a classic combination of complementary coloured blooms
Image: Geranium 'GeRainbow Mixed' from Thompson & Morgan

Geraniums are classic bedding plants for a reason. Drought tolerant and tough, these tender perennials will flower again the following year if protected from frost. Available in a wide range of colours from fiery reds to delicate pastels, the variety of leaf shapes and scents are another reason they’re such a popular choice.

Geranium 'Best Red' F1 Hybrid is an upright variety with eye-catching red blooms that evoke hot Mediterranean summers. For a softer look, try trailing ivy-leaf geranium 'GeRainbow Mixed'. The plants in this mix cascade down to 90cm, showcasing dark green, ivy-shaped leaves and large clusters of flowers from June to October. For something a little different, our geranium 'Rosebud Collection' features thicker double blooms, trailing down to at least 45cm, which open just like miniature rosebuds.

Garden-ready option: pre-planted geranium 'Balcon Mix' basket.

8. Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Purple Sun' from Thompson & Morgan

Osteospermum 'Purple Sun' was shortlisted for Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019
Image: Osteospermum 'Purple Sun' from Thompson & Morgan

Naturally drought tolerant, Osteospermums (or African daisies) are tough plants that love sunny, south-facing positions. Forming attractive balls of colour, newer varieties have been bred with a trailing habit, making them ideal for hanging baskets. 

Osteospermum ‘Falling Stars™' is the first cascading African daisy, trailing to 45cm. A mix of three different and vivid colours, these bright blooms have excellent staying power in summer hanging baskets. Reaching a height of 30cm, Osteospermum ‘Purple Sun’ makes another vibrant choice for your baskets. Smothering the dark green foliage from June to October, it’s no surprise that these bright blooms were shortlisted for Chelsea Plant of the Year in 2019. 

9. Nasturtiums

Nasturtium 'Troika Spotty Dotty' from Thompson & Morgan

Nasturtium 'Troika Spotty Dotty' trails up to 100cm
Image: Nasturtium 'Troika Spotty Dotty' from Thompson & Morgan

If you like to sow your own flower seeds rather than buying plugs or plants, nasturtiums are an excellent choice. From sowing to flowering takes about three months. Although orange is one of the best known colours, nasturtiums come in a wide range of hues from creamy white through to deep maroon. 

For a compact display, go for nasturtium ‘Chameleon'. Not only do the flowers look like exotic orchids, they also change colour every few days! Nasturtium 'Troika Spotty Dotty' and Nasturtium majus 'Orange Troika' both trail down to over 1m long, producing masses of golden yellow and orange blooms with striking red flashes inside. 

10. Verbena

Verbena 'Quartz Mixed' from Thompson & Morgan

Verbena plants produce compact brightly coloured blooms
Image: Verbena 'Quartz Mixed' from Thompson & Morgan

Add Verbena to your hanging baskets for trailing foliage with gorgeous colour. These totally carefree, easy to grow plants provide a stunning mix of shades. Gently spilling over the edge of your basket, they tend to have a more compact growing habit, spreading to about 20-30cm. They also show excellent resistance to mildew.

Go for Verbena 'Quartz Mixed' if you’re looking for a loud mix of bright colours. For something more subtle, or to complement a mixed basket scheme, try the elegant blush pink and white flowers of Verbena ‘Samira Pink Wing’.

How to plant a hanging basket video

This helpful video provides a step-by-step guide to planting up a hanging basket. Get your plants off to the best start by using the right compost, and positioning your plants to show them off to their best. These frequently asked questions provide some good pointers:

Which plants are best for a hanging basket?

Trailing plants like petunias, verbena and calibrachoa are best for planting your hanging basket. They cascade over the basket sides, where their flowers can be easily seen from below.

When can I put my hanging basket outside?

Put your hanging basket outside after the last frost date. This may be early May for those in the South, or late May for gardeners in the far north of the UK.

What should I do with my hanging basket after summer?

After summer, empty your hanging basket of annual plants and dispose of them. Move tender perennial hanging basket displays into a sheltered place to overwinter before the first frosts arrive. With a little luck, they should flower again the following year.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our top ten hanging basket plants. Share your fabulous hanging display with us via Twitter or Instagram, using #MyTMGarden. For even more information and advice, head to our hanging basket hub page.

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