The 9 best plants for hanging baskets to create a pretty display to delight all the senses

Enjoy a stunning display of colour and scent, whatever space you have

Hanging basket next to pink front door
(Image credit: Future PLC / Polly Eltes)

Hanging baskets have come a long way in recent years with a diverse range of plants – ornamental and edible – suitable for growing in this way. So, whether you are gardening on a sprawling plot, or looking to add some personality to to your balcony or courtyard, there will be some great container garden ideas for you.

Thanks to this wide array of plants available, you can enjoy stunning displays in hanging baskets even over the winter months when you might normally expect the garden to be slowing down. It may take a little forward planning when planting up a hanging basket, but it is wonderful to see these containers evolve as we move through the seasons.

As we become more eco-conscious, you may have some concerns about whether cultivating plants in hanging baskets is in fact a sustainable way to grow, but thankfully, you can still utilise these handy planters and keep your eco-credentials in good order, as long as you consider the materials you are using. When it comes to liners, compost, feeds and the like, you can now find organic and eco-friendly versions of all of these, for example we like the Coco & Coir compost bricks, they also sell basket liners made from coir.

It is important to make sure the plants you are choosing are suitable for growing in hanging baskets, so we are here to help you make the best choices for a productive, beautiful and simple-to-maintain feature in your garden. Let’s dive in!

 Best plants for hanging baskets

Choosing the right plants for your gardening environment is key to success, so here are some of our favourite plants for hanging baskets. 

1. Fuchsias

Fuschia plant in pot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There is a lot to love about fuchsias. Aside from the fact they look gorgeous, with their stunning bell-shaped flowers, they are extremely easy to grow. 

Hardy types will last well into the autumn months and beyond (they can be overwintered). What’s more, you can eat the resulting berries, too! They are great for growing in hanging baskets, with their flowers spilling over, making an attractive trailing feature.

2. Geraniums

Purple geraniums

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is a slightly nostalgic inclusion – it is hard to envisage a hanging basket without these cheerful-looking perennials. Learning to grow geraniums is easy, plus they are available in a wide array of colours so can suit whatever palette you are going for in your garden, and have a distinctive scent which is bound to remind you of summer. 

3. Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums in garden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 If you are looking for a hard-working, multi-purpose bloom, look no further! The humble nasturtium looks beautiful with cascading green leaves growing alongside stunning, fiery-coloured flowers. 

They also make a great addition to summer salads, as both the leaves and flowers are edible – and once the flowering season is over and the plants set seed, the seed pods can be pickled and used similarly to capers.  

Nasturtiums are a brilliant companion plant idea for fighting off pests, so consider pairing it with a tumbling tom or another plant that will benefit from its company.

4. Verbena


(Image credit: Getty Images)

These beautiful blooms have a lovely long flowering period, so keep your hanging baskets looking great for even longer. They like to be grown in full sun, so site your hanging baskets somewhere with good access to sunlight, and you will find few problems with these easy-grow blooms.

5. Petunias

Petunias in a hanging basket

(Image credit: Getty Images/Dave G Kelly)

Another hanging basket classic – and with good reason. Trailing types in particular are a fantastic choice, and they come in a wide range of colours, so there is something to suit all tastes and all hanging basket layouts. You can buy petunias as seeds or as plug plants if you miss your sowing window between April and June. 

6. Tumbling tomatoes

Tomatoes in hanging baskets

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you would like to bring a bit of the good life to the garden, but don’t have very much space to do so, growing tomatoes in a hanging basket is a great way to grow your own with little space. 

Tumbling toms are a great variety to grow in hanging baskets. These small cherry tomatoes don't need much space to flourish and will happily hang over the side of the basket. Pop the basket in a sunny spot with a bit of shelter from the elements, and you will soon be able to enjoy growing tomatoes at home no matter what available space you have in your garden.

7. Lobelia

blue cardinal lobelia flower - Boris SV - GettyImages-999916746

(Image credit: Boris SV/Getty Images)

 This annual plant offers generous showings of delicate little flowers. Thanks to their spread, they are an excellent choice for filling gaps in hanging baskets and really maximising the space, giving you a vibrant container, bursting with blooms! 

8. Basil

Herb plants grown in reused tin cans

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

 There are several herbs suited to curating a hanging herb garden in a hanging basket, but basil is a great choice for a number of reasons – not least how useful it is in the kitchen! 

Growing basil is also the perfect addition for gardeners looking to up their eco-credentials, thanks to its natural pest-repelling skills when used in companion planting.

9. Strawberries

Strawberries cultivated in wicker basket standing on balcony table

(Image credit: Getty)

 Another edible crop great for hanging baskets is strawberries. They fit the bill for looking great but also offer up generous harvests of sweet, home-grown strawberries, sure to impress and garden guests! Hang your basket in a sunny spot, and keep well-watered. Another benefit to growing strawberries in pots or hanging baskets in this way is you avoid those pesky slugs! 

Where to buy hanging basket plants

There are a number of great online garden centres these days to buy plants ready for a weekend planting session. Here are a few of our favourites:


 How many plants to do you put in a hanging basket? 

 ‘For a typical 16-18cm hanging basket you’ll need about eight to nine plants’, says Leigh Hunt,  Principal Horticultural Advisor from the RHS ‘These are split into three groups, and you’ll want different quantities of each. The thriller goes in the middle and is a big, colourful plants. There’s usually one of these and a geranium, fuchsia or cordyline are ideal. For the fillers, look to get three marguerite daisies, scented nemesia, and foliage plants such as plectranthus. Then you’ll want spillers, four or five trailing plants to go over the sides.’ 

Leigh Hunt

Leigh is RHS Principal Horticultural Advisor. He’s worked at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey for over 20 years, helping answer more than 100,000 gardening questions that members ask the team each year. He trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. 

 What trailing plant grows in hanging baskets in full sun? 

‘Trailing plants make a hanging basket, as they cover up the basket and turn it into a ball of colour’ Leigh explains, ‘Traditional favourite such as lobelia are hard to beat, coming in blue, white and purple shades. For more starry yellows, try bidens and sanvitalia. For impressively long trails of foliage, add golden creeping Jenny and trailing nepeta.’ 

Hanging basket next to pink front door

(Image credit: Future PLC)

 What do you put in the middle of a hanging basket? 

 ‘I would choose an upside-down tomato plant – yes you read that right!’ says Simon Akeroyd, author, journalist and gardener. ‘This is the perfect plant for this spot as it makes the most of the tricky space, it looks great, and is productive, too. 

'Wire hanging baskets are easy to plant up in this way as already have space to poke the plant through (you’ll simply need to cut a hole in your liner) but you can of course cut a hole in solid hanging baskets, or even upcycle a container to create your own. You can then plant the top of the basket as you normally would.’

Whether you opt for a hanging edimental display or a classic floral pairing, get creative with you hanging baskets this year and double your planting space outdoors.


Laura Hillier is an editor and content writer with more than 10 years of experience in horticulture and women's lifestyle journalism. Passionate about sustainability and the wellbeing benefits of being in the outside world, Laura is keen to inspire everyone to grab a little slice of the good life.