How to Choose the Perfect Hanging Basket


Spring is finally in the air, and that means it’s time to choose the perfect hanging basket.

Trying to figure out which hanging basket is the right one for your gardening space can make you literally want to pull your hair out.

The number of plant and colour combinations out there is dizzying, never mind when you add in sizes and hanging apparatuses.

Let’s slow down the merry-go-round and talk about how to figure out which is the right hanging basket for you!

In this blog, we’ll talk about:

  • Three Things to Know Before Choosing a Hanging Basket
  • Hanging Basket Ideas for Sun and Partial Sun Conditions
  • Hanging Basket Recommendations for Shade
  • Hanging Baskets that work well in Sunny and Windy Locations 

Three Things to Know Before Choosing a Hanging Basket

Hanging Baskets add beauty and colour in any growing environment.

Choosing the right plant for the right place is the key to gardening success.

Before you even step into a garden center to find your hanging basket, let’s talk about three things to know so you are fully prepared to find the right one.

1. Know Where the Hanging Basket is Going to Live

Deciding where you want to display a hanging basket is the first step.

Having a plan and being prepared is the first step to finding the right hanging basket for your location. Know why you want a hanging basket and where you’d like to put it.  

For many, answering these questions is easy and barely even a step in the game.  But for others who are new to gardening, these are good questions to ask. 

Is this basket going to be at your main entry?  Will it be on the backyard patio? Would you like to have a series of hanging baskets next to the pillars on your porch?

Have a snack any day with a Strawberry basket!

Along with “where”, know your “why”.

Dream about what you would like from your hanging basket.

Would you like your hanging basket to brighten up a shady garden space?  Would you like to accent your front door? Would you like fragrant flowers?  Would you like to grow kitchen herbs?  

Once you know the answer to your hanging basket “why” and where, you are ready to answer question 2.

2. Figure out How Many Hours of Direct Sunshine the Hanging Basket Location Receives

Not all plants enjoy the same growing environment, so get to know your growing space.

All plants have specific environmental needs, especially concerning their need for sunlight.  Each plant has its unique genetics, and this diversity is what makes our plant world work.  

Plant requirements for sunlight lands on a continuum.  Some plants will grow well in both full shade and partial shade, tolerating both indirect sunlight or a little bit of direct light.  Other plants grow well in partial and full sun locations.  Some plants, but not many, will grow well in all sun conditions.

All this is to say, get acquainted with the location you have chosen for your hanging basket and watch how many hours the sun shines on it.

It’s better that you measure the hours of sun of a location than to know what direction the area faces or points, like north, south, east, or west.  

Thunbergia (Black Eyed Susan) loves the sun.

Directional Orientation vs Hours of Sunshine Explained:

The hanging basket spot may look southward in relation to your home and when you think of a southern exposure, automatically, you’d think, ‘Oh, that’s a hot, sunny spot.’  

But when you look at hours of sun exposure, the sun starts shining on that spot at 11 am and a huge Ash tree shades it from noon to 6 pm.  

That changes everything. 

Now we’ve gone from thinking we have a hot, dry, full-sun location to a partial sun location and will need different plant options.

Be on the lookout for items that block sunlight and know how long they create shade for the hanging basket.

Structures like neighbouring houses, garages, buildings, support posts, roof overhangs, fences, trees, and shrubs are candidates for obstructing sunshine.

3. Know How much Wind Flows Through the Area

Portulaca can handle the sun and the wind.

We have had more wind over the last few years, so knowing the wind pattern in your hanging basket location is another factor to consider when selecting a hanging basket.

Wind tunnels or patterns develop between buildings and some areas experience a constant, prevailing breeze throughout the summer.

Take some time to assess how wind moves through your garden and how it may affect your hanging basket.  Not all plants love wind, and plants with large leaves like Cannas tend to shred in windy spaces. 

A Guide to Hanging Basket Location Recommendations

The following lists are recommendations for hanging baskets in various locations. 

You will note that some suggestions will appear in more than one category because some plants will tolerate a variety of sun exposures. 

The plants in these lists are the focus or main plants in the hanging basket, be sure to check that the hanging basket has basket stuffers or trailing plants that match the sun and wind exposure.

An example of a plant that will grow in different locations is Solenia (Sun) Begonias.  Solenia is a new type of begonia that tolerates sun and will do well in partly sunny and full shady locations.  

Check out my free downloadable chart at the bottom of this blog for your reference.

Hanging Baskets for Full Sun or Part Sun Locations:

Direct sun exposure hours:

Full Sun:  more than 8 hours 

Part Sun:  6-8 hours 

Recommended types of Hanging Baskets for Full Sun or Part Sun:

Hanging Baskets for Shady and Deep Shade Locations:

Coleus and Ipomoea (Sweet Potato Vine) love a calm, shady place.

Direct sun exposure hours:

Shady: less than 4 hours

Deep Shade: no hours of direct sun

Recommended Types of Hanging Baskets for Shady Locations: 

 * All of the plants in this list are wind adverse; their leaves are delicate and will shred in windy locations.

  • Begonias:  Bossa Nova, Dragon Wing, Solenia, Tuberous
  • Mixed Foliage
  • Impatiens
  • Double Impatiens
  • Fuchsia

Hanging Baskets for Sunny & Windy Locations:

Geraniums are a gardeners go-to for hot, sunny locations.

Direct sun exposure hours:

Full Sun:  > 8 hours

Part Sun: 6-8 hours

Recommended Types of Hanging Baskets for Sunny & Windy Locations:

  • Ivy Geranium, single or mixed
  • Upright Geranium, single or mixed
  • Calliope Geraniums
  • Caliente Geraniums

Basket Stuffers That Tolerate Wind:

Scaevola (Purple Fan Flower) grows in both sun & shade, and tolerates wind.
  • Bidens
  • Dahlberg Daisy
  • Erigeron (Spanish Daisy)
  • Lotus Vine
  • Muehlenbeckia
  • Portulaca
  • Scaevola (Purple Fan Flower)
  • Trailing Verbena

Wondering How to Care for Your Hanging Baskets? Check out my blog called ‘How to Keep Hanging Baskets & Flower Containers Thriving All Season’  


Once you know where you’re going to put your hanging basket, how many hours of sun it gets, and how wind impacts your location, you will be unstoppable in finding the perfect basket for your conditions.

The next problem is to figure out the colour combo – have fun!

©Sharon Wallish Murphy ©Gardening with Sharon

Be the first to know when I post a new blog!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

follow her on
Instagram and Facebook

Hot Topics

Wait, I have something for you!

Be the first to know about new blogs and get access to one-of-a-kind content by signing up for my newsletter!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.