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Flowering vines for hanging baskets.

Flowering vines for hanging baskets

Delicate cascading branches and a crown of blooms in spring or summer make flowering vines naturals for hanging baskets.

Many nurseries in the West's mild-winter regions sell vines in hanging containers starting this month. Three of the most popular are Jasminum polyanthum (it's covered with delicate, potently fragrant star-shaped flowers in spring), bougainvillea, and lantana (both sport brilliant jewel-colored blooms in summer).

But before you leap to buy or plant a vine in a hanging basket, consider growth habits. Most vines are sprawlers that like lots of root room; to keep them vigorous for more than a season or two takes special care. To preclude heavy maintenance chores, some gardeners put vines in the ground after growing them in pots for just a year or so.

If you have a choice, choose compact or slow-growing kinds. Bougainvillea varieties "Raspberry Ice' (reddish pink flowers and light green leaves with creamy yellow edges) and "Crimson Jewel' (red flowers) are especially handsome. If you transplant them, take care not to disturb their roots; see the box on page 245. Among lantanas, "Spreading Sunset', with red-orange flowers, and "Spreading Sunshine', with yellow flowers, are good trailers.

Getting started, taking care

To create your own hanging basket, put a plant from a 1-gallon container into an 8-to 12-inch pot lined with potting soil. Hang bougainvilleas, lantanas, and jasmine where they'll get full sun.

Keeping the vines moist can be a challenge. Exposed to the air on all sides, they will dry out quickly. Check soil frequently; some plants may need water every day during hot weather. A drip system designed for pots will ease watering chores.

At least monthly, feed the vines with a complete liquid fertilizer. Or use a timedrelease fertilizer at planting. But follow package directions carefully: overfertilizing may reduce the bloom.

How often must you root-prune?

Most vines can be kept healthy in the same container indefinitely--if their roots are pruned every year or two. In late winter or early spring (before new growth starts), knock each plant from its pot, then use an old knife to shave about an inch off the rootball. Cover the container bottom with fresh potting soil, return the plant to the pot, and fill in around the edges with more soil. Water thoroughly.

Bougainvilleas are an exception; their roots should not be pruned. But they can live happily in the same hanging basket for several years; we know of one that thrived in a 12-inch hanging pot for three.

You can help keep hanging vines compact and attractive by severely cutting back their tops each year. At the same time you root-prune or just after flowering, prune branches to just above the pot rim.

Photo: At eye level, pink buds, white flowers, and fragrance of this year-old Jasminum polyanthum are readily appreciated
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Apr 1, 1986
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