What you need

• Hanging baskets with a minimum diameter of 50cm (approximately 2ft)
• A selection of bougainvilleas
• Searles Peat 80 Plus potting mix
• Searles Flourish Soluble Plant Food
Bougainvilleas produce some of the most dazzling colours in the garden, but did you know they are stunning when grown in hanging baskets?

The Searle family has been doing this for many years and has some brilliant displays, from bright gold through to mauve, purple, scarlet, magenta, yellow and sunset orange - they even come in white!

When purchasing your bougainvilleas, choose specimens which are not pot bound and select a range of colours for variety. Some bougainvilleas produce variegated foliage, which is a pleasing contrast to the vibrant flowering bracts. Plants sold in 15cm (6in) pots the ideal size for hanging baskets because their rootball can be easily accommodated in the basket.

Small hanging baskets dry out quickly in hot weather so to minimise this risk larger sizes are recommended. We suggest baskets with a minimum diameter of 50cm (2ft) wide are ideal. There are many different types of hanging baskets from which to choose, made of a variety of materials including terracotta, plastic, and wire lined with coconut fibre. Once your bougainvillea is potted up and watered it will be heavy, so bear in mind that a light container is best. Wire baskets with a ready-made coconut fibre lining are not only lightweight, but hold the water and soil in well.

As previously mentioned, hanging baskets dry out rapidly in hot weather, so it is essential to use a top quality, water retentive potting mix, such as Searles Peat 80 Plus Potting Mix each time. When planting your bougainvillea it's important to keep the soil at the same level it was when you bought it in the pot. Place enough potting mix in the bottom to enable the rootball to sit with its neck level with the top of the basket. Gently remove the plant from the pot and position it in the centre of the basket. Lightly pack potting mix around the sides, smoothing the uppermost surface so it disguises the old potting mix around the rootball.

When positioning your hanging basket it is important to select a site which receives full sun all day, a prerequisite if bougainvilleas are to flower at their best. Hang them in direct sunlight but away from strong winds and well clear of any areas where people may knock their heads on them. To ensure even growth and flowering, rotate your baskets every two to three weeks.

Container-grown plants require more frequent watering than those grown in garden beds and as a result, nutrients leach out quickly. To produce stunning flowers, fertilise fortnightly with Searles Flourish Soluble Plant Food to ensure that your plants receive all the food they need for a healthy and productive life.

Bougainvilleas are rampant growers, so prune vigorously to the shape of your choice. They are very hardy plants and respond well to heavy pruning, in fact they demand it! Stop pruning when flower buds begin to form and begin again when flowering has finished.

Happy Gardening with Searles from the Searle family.

Copyright 2002 JC & AT Searle Pty Ltd
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