Have you ever seen planters that appear to be a big ball of flowers and wondered, “How did they do that?” Well, more than likely, underneath all those flowers is a container with planting holes around the sides in which flowers can be planted so that they completely obscure the planter once mature. This creates the illusion of a floating ball of flowers. However, until then, it will look something like the basket in the picture, which was taken one week after planting.
There are many products available with side planting holes, but I have had the most success with the Bloom Master line of containers. They are made of sturdy plastic and come in a variety of sizes, including hanging baskets and planter boxes. Plastic containers hold water much better than cocoa fiber planters, and these are much sturdier than other similar plastic planters.
At a former job, I used to send a dozen or so of these hanging baskets down to our annual flower supplier so that they could start the flowers in the baskets and grow them out in the greenhouse so that they looked full by the last frost date.
This year I tried my hand at planting one for a client and quickly realized how much easier it was to have someone else do it. My main problem was that I was trying to cram four-inch Dragon Wing Begonias through holes that were only two inches wide. What I should have done is planted flowers that were in four or six cell packs, so that they would easily fit through the planting holes. Instead, I had to tease apart the root balls of the four-inch begonias and mash them through the holes, which put them under a lot of stress from the start. Initially, I was only going to plant the Dragon Wing Begonias in the basket and leave many of the planting holes empty (since they would be covered up as the begonias matured), but my client wanted more instant results, so I filled most of the remaining holes with small Dusty Miller. Next year, I will definitely start with smaller plants and plant them a little earlier, but hey, that’s what I love about gardening, there’s always something to learn.