Try These Cool Plants in Your Spring Hanging Baskets


Hanging baskets are a fun and fast way to add some brilliant color and visual interest to your yard. They’re absolutely beautiful when they’re loaded with blooms, and as long as you take good care of them, they’ll look fabulous all summer long. The best part is that you get to change them up every year to suit your garden themes or color palettes!

Designing your own hanging baskets is fun and easy if you follow the thriller, filler, and spiller recipe. Thrillers are taller plants, generally placed in the middle of a hanging basket, fillers are mounding, or low bushy plants that go around the thriller, and spillers are the cascading plants that hang down over the sides of a hanging planter. 

We’ve picked out a few plants for each of the categories above, and a few tips about where and how they’ll grow best in your Des Moines yard. 



Begonias are shade and moisture-loving plants. With their large colorful single or double flowers, they’re the perfect centerpiece for a hanging basket. They do like consistently moist soil, so check if they need water regularly.

Angelonia are an elegant flower that comes in beautiful shades of pink, purple and white and will add some height to the center of your container.  They love warmth and heat and will thrive during the summer months.

Geraniums feature vibrant, upright flowerheads in a wide variety of electric colors. These gorgeous annuals make an eye-catching center for hanging baskets, and many varieties have a lovely fragrance. They adore the sun, and will happily bloom all summer long. They do need to be deadheaded, so don’t hang them too far out of reach. In a hot and sunny location, they’ll need to be watered pretty frequently.



Coleus is a shade lover with unique colorful leaves. It is an excellent hanging basket filler to surround a bright flowering thriller plant. Coleus like consistently moist, but not saturated soil.

Impatiens come in a variety of colors and can easily be the feature of a hanging basket, or use them to fill a basket all on their own. They prefer a part to full-shade location and moist soil. They’ll let you know they need water when they get a bit droopy.

Petunias are a sun-loving hanging basket filler. Petunias can fill quite a bit of space, so you’ll want to pair them with a tall thriller plant, or let them fill a basket on their own. With so many blooms, petunias are thirsty, and on the hottest days of the year, they’ll often need to be watered twice a day.
Calibrachoas are basically mini-petunias that come in an incredible range of colors. They’re an excellent filler, and will even spill out of your containers with their candy-colored trumpet-shaped flowers. They also love the sun and will need frequent watering, but unlike most petunia varieties, most calibrachoas don’t require deadheading.



Lobelias are a pretty hanging basket spiller for partial shade spots. Their delicate foliage and dainty flowers in pink, white, purple, or blue are a perfect complement for larger thriller or filler flowering plants. They like a little sun, but they don’t love the heat of the afternoon and will perform better in a cooler spot. Lobelia does best with frequent water, check the soil every other day.

Sweet potato vine is a grow-anywhere vine that trails gracefully from hanging baskets. Its unique leaves are visually interesting and contrast well with more delicate flowers or foliage. Sweet potato vine is available in electric shades of green or deep, dark purple. From full sun to full shade, sweet potato vine is happy anywhere as long as it gets regular water.  

Bidens are a spiller with pretty orange or yellow daisy-like flowers. They do mound a bit above the basket before spilling, so you could use them as a filler as well. They like a sunny location, and once established, they’re quite drought tolerant. 

Bacopa is a lovely spiller that does best in a partial shade location. It produces hundreds of tiny flowers in white, pink, or purple. It will bloom all summer long if kept moist. 

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Hanging Basket Care

Hanging baskets require a little extra attention than larger containers or plants in the ground. They usually have a lot of plants crammed into a very small space. The general rule of thumb is to combine 5-7 plants for 14″ basket. That means there won’t be much soil to conserve water or nutrients, so to keep your hanging baskets looking their best, make sure they get watered regularly. Fertilizing your hanging baskets once a week or once every two weeks will also help them keep producing gorgeous flowers all season long. Be sure to look for a fertilizer formulated for flowering plants!

If you want to try your hand at designing your own hanging baskets this year, you can either shop our online store or stop by our garden center and pick out your favorite plants and hanging baskets. Or, if you prefer, we’ve got combo hanging baskets already planted and ready to enjoy at home!


The Ted Lare Look

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