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Three scoops of impatiens.

Three scoops of impatiens

Few garden projects pay off as well as the hanging impatiens basket shown here. Designed for a spot that gets light to medium shade most of the day, it can be made in an afternoon, matures in a few weeks, and blooms until frost.

You'll need a three-tiered wire fruit basket, 60 impatiens plants (sixpacks or 2-inch pots), 1 cubic foot of potting soil, 15 dry quarts of sphagnum moss, and liquid fertilizer. Total cost is $30 to $40.

The baskets are the most important part of the display, since they give it structure and support. We show a three-tiered system with 10-, 12-, and 14-inch baskets. Buy them at a hardware or kitchen supply store or in the housewares section of a department store. If you'd like a lesser display, use smaller or fewer baskets. Basket mesh should be at least 5/8 inch in order to allow room to insert the plants. Also, get baskets that are held together with sturdy chains, or reinforce chains with wire. Weak chains may not support plants and soil when they're watered (a planted basket, freshly watered, weighs 35 pounds).

The set of baskets in the photo opposite happens to hang from ordinary wire--it replaced chain that rusted out after six years of service.

Although unmilled sphagnum moss is the recommended basket liner, if you have a mossy Northwestern lawn you can line the basket with ordinary lawn moss.

Remoisten moss by squeezing handfuls of it in a bucket of water before you form it to the inside of each basket.

Any kind of dwarf impatiens (except New Guinea impatiens) will do; "Super Elfin' is pictured. Try not to use more than three colors in a three-tiered basket; two are probably better. Choose light colors if you'll view your hanging display mostly after dark.

Water after planting, and feed with liquid fertilizer every two weeks.

Our thanks to Barbara Bottiger of Tacoma for sharing this idea with us.

Photo: 1. Fully line each basket with 1/2 inch of damp moss. Moss will keep potting mix from falling out. Work on basket in its display position

Photo: 2. To prepare each plant, rinse soil off roots so they'll fit through mesh, and trim back leggy branches to a branch or node

Photo: 3. Thread roots through moss, with plants 4 inches apart on diamond pattern. Fill insides with potting soil. Put 3 plants in top basket's surface

Photo: 4. Water after baskets are planted and filled with soil. When soil settles, add more potting mix until it's 3/4 inch from baskets' tops

Photo: Hanging impatiens basket (really three-tiered fruit basket) comes into full bloom in early summer, continues the show through October
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:May 1, 1986
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