I learned a very valuable lesson yet again in the greenhouse this week.
I had an entire row of 10" hanging baskets made up with Wave petunias and I noticed that several had drooping leaves. This isn't really alarming, but rather just that I may have missed a row while watering the over 1,000 hanging baskets during the wee morning hours. I would catch them and in a hour or so they would normally perk right back up. No biggie right?
I decided to go through and start spot checking the baskets by lifting them to get a feel for the weight. In my mind I would just water the baskets in question and continue on with my day. I started checking them and they were very heavy. I was surprised because I was for sure that they were dry. I checked the entire row. 2 were dry and wilted. 8 were very wet and wilted.
Now had I been a real hurry that afternoon I would have just given them all a good drink of water, but I am really glad that I checked and felt the weight of each basket. Had I watered all of them I would have compounded the problem by adding even more water to an already soaked series of hanging baskets.
The symptoms to me were saying that they were dry and needed a drink of water...until I checked the weight. Only 2 were wilting from being dry. 8 were way too wet and needed to dry down through out the day.
Can you tell which basket is wet and which is dry?
Basket "A" is too wet. Basket "B" is too dry.
It caught me off guard and this is what I do professionally. Sometimes growing flowers has a good way of letting us know that it is still always a learning game.
So what's the remedy?
Check your hanging baskets by feeling the weight of them. They should feel somewhat heavy if they are well watered. Water in the morning so that the plants have time to dry down during the day. Don't consistently water them at night or they will be wet all night long which will cause problems down the line.
What do you do if your basket is too wet and drooping?
Give it some time to dry out. I've had customers bring in baskets that were so saturated that it took days for them dry out.
Think of it this way...if you are thirsty and go into the kitchen to get a drink of water, do you grab a 5 gallon bucket and drink the entire thing? No, of course not. You drink what you need to satisfy your thirst. Same with your plants and flowers. Give them what they need to live until tomorrow.
The moral of the story is that it still takes some work to have beautiful hanging baskets and will take a consistent habit of checking to see what they need.
1. Check and water daily as needed in the morning, checking by weight of the basket, and give it some pre-planning. Is it going to super hot? Windy? Low humidity? Cold and rainy? These are all factors that will play a role in the needs of your flowers.
2. Fertilize at least once a week with our Beat Your Neighbor fertilizer.
3. Clean up any spent flowers or leaves.
Check out our video on the proper way to water your hanging baskets below: