With modern living meaning that many Cayman residents are finding themselves in small but chic apartments, the options for gardening are growing more limited.
Whether your unit includes a small allotment or simply a grassless balcony, there is still a way to exercise that green thumb, thanks to elegant and easy to care for hanging gardens.
Also known as upside-down pots, according to Jeremy Wilhelm of Vigoro Nursery, it couldn’t be easier to get your own hanging garden started.
There are a couple of different ways to start off the growth of the plants that will eventually be in your hanging basket.
“Plant the seeds in a regular pot and when it gets to the point when it would need a one-gallon pot, you can transfer it to the hanging basket,” suggests Duran Dawkins of Green Thumb Home and Garden Center. This method does involve transplanting, so take care when moving the plant from one pot to the next.
He has an alternative: “Start as if you were planting with a pot full of soil and the plant on top. Allow the pot to remain in this position, until you are satisfied that the plant is established. Then, invert the pot, hanging it using the wire already fitted to the pot for this purpose.”
He adds that 10 to 14 days is the usual timeframe needed for a plant to establish itself before inversion.
Both Jeremy and Duran agree on the recommended type of soil used for these plants.
“Jungle Growth is a popular favourite, as it includes a light fertiliser, which the new plants will thrive in,” Jeremy explains.
Hanging baskets can be positioned in the sunlight or shade, depending on the plants that are chosen. They can be used inside as well, Jeremy says.
As for watering and care, this also depends on the plant that is chosen and the location, so make sure to ask the sales representative at the nursery for care advice when you choose your flowers.
“Annuals tend to grow faster, so try pentas, blue daze, begonias, dianthus, impatiens, coleus, mini roses, geraniums, desert rose, hibiscus and bougainvillea, which all do well,” Jeremy suggests. “Herbs can be planted in the top or bottom once the bottom plant is established. Parsley, chives, mint, sage, coriander, rosemary and lavender are all suggestions.”
If flowers are not your thing, try vines, Duran says.
“The kind of plants that do very well in hanging baskets are vine plants, which have a colour to the leaf and will hang down from the basket,” he says.
Another tip that Jeremy offers is to fill some of the pot with crumpled-up newspaper before pouring in potting soil, as it helps to reduce the weight of the hanging pot, plant and potting soil.
Hanging baskets are available in a variety of sizes for sale at Green Thumb Home and Garden Center. Vigoro Nursery sells upside-down pots, including ones with established plants for customers who may prefer to skip the planting process.