How to Grow Your Own Hanging Baskets from Seed

Are hanging baskets a main focal point of your summer gardens? Do you want to customize your own hanging baskets? You can easily grow your baskets from seed right from your own home. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago will walk you through the simple steps of how to grow your own hanging baskets from seed.

A vibrant display of cascading flowers fills the foreground. Lush, healthy blooms in shades of purple and white tumble from overflowing hanging pots, their delicate petals contrasting against the greenery.


Hanging baskets are a lovely accent to summer gardens. A few baskets hung in the perfect space can make all of the difference. Baskets are beautiful when they are hung next to your front door, under a covered porch, or on a stand anywhere in your garden. 

You can easily find hanging baskets at your local garden center, but starting your plants from seed is more rewarding and less costly. You also get to select exactly what you want to grow in your baskets. Hanging baskets do not need to be limited to flowering plants. Edibles such as vegetables, fruits, or herbs make beautiful hanging baskets, too.  

In this article, we will go over steps on how to start your hanging baskets from seed, including suggestions as well as how to maintain the seeds! Let’s dig in!

Our Favorites:

Sweet Pea

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Little Sweetheart Sweet Pea Seeds

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

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Single Blend Trailing Nasturtium Seeds


 Step 1: Find a Basket You Love

A close-up reveals a vibrant cascade of white and blue blooms spilling from a woven coco fiber basket. Delicate, star-shaped flowers with slender stems fill the basket, creating a tapestry of color and texture.
Choose from various basket styles online, from local stores, or reuse vessels from prior seasons.

There are many different types of hanging baskets on the market. Shop your local garden centers or one of many online retailers to help you narrow down your search.

  • If you have a hanging basket from last season that was filled with annuals, this is a great way to repurpose that plastic hanger rather than throwing it away. 
  • Coco liner baskets are attractive, and the liner can be replaced each year while you hang on to the metal basket. 
  • Self-watering baskets are excellent for hard-to-reach areas. Just keep in mind that while you are growing your seeds, you will need to tend to the watering yourself. 

At the end of the day, one option is not better than another. Choose the basket that suits your needs and that you love the most, and you will have the perfect hanging basket. 

Step 2: Choose Your Seeds

Many hanging basket favorites can be grown from seed. Whether you choose traditional petunias, bright coleus, an herb collection, or a vibrant combination of flowers, growing from seed will allow you to start your own basket from scratch.

Two overflowing  baskets, brimming with vibrant purple surfina petunias, steal the show in this close-up. Suspended by sturdy chains, they bask in the sunlight amidst a lush backdrop of diverse greenery in various shapes and sizes.
Selecting seeds offers flexibility with no wrong choices.

When it comes to selecting your seeds, have fun! There is no wrong choice here. Some plants will trail out of your baskets better than others, and those are what I have listed here.

However, if you plan to hang your basket a bit lower, you don’t need to worry about the trailing. Here are some options to try, whether alone or mixed and matched with other favorite plants:

‘Little Sweetheart’ Sweet Peas

A vibrant bouquet of sweet pea flowers, their delicate petals in shades of white and pink. Long, vine-like stems gracefully curve, showcasing the blooms' intricate details against a soft, blurred background hinting at a nearby house.
These sweet peas offer multicolored blossoms in pink, red, and purple with a light scent.
botanical-name botanical name Lathyrus odoratus ‘Little Sweetheart’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 8-14 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

This dwarf variety of sweet pea only grows 14 inches long. The ‘Little Sweetheart’ seed blend is multicolored, featuring blossoms in hues of pink, red, and purple. As a smaller variety than the tall sweet peas we know and love, they fill the basket with blooms that lightly trail over the sides.

The flowers are lightly scented. The foliage is ovate and a soft shade of green. The combination of the luxurious flowers and foliage makes for one beautiful hanging basket plant

Black-Eyed Susan Vine

This close-up features a cluster of vibrant orange Black-Eyed Susan vine flowers in full bloom. The petals are thick and papery with a rich orange hue, contrasting sharply with the dark, almost black, centers. Lush green, heart-shaped leaves and slender vines weave through the frame.
These flowering vines brighten baskets with yellow, orange, or white flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Thunbergia alata
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 3-8 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Black-eyed Susan vine is a brightly colored flowering vine that spills out of baskets as nicely as it will climb up a trellis or fence. The leaves are deep green and heart-shaped.

The flowers bloom in shades of yellow, orange, and even white. No matter what color the flowers are, they are all accented by a very dark center, resembling the perennial black-eyed Susan. 


A close-up view reveals two weathered wooden hanging baskets, their rustic charm contrasting with the vibrant cascade of orange nasturtium flowers within. The unique, round leaves boast intricate veins spreading outwards, like spokes on a wheel.
Ideal for beginners, nasturtiums feature round leaves and vibrant orange, red, and yellow flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Tropaeolum majus 
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade 
height height 1-10 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-11

If you have never grown a flowering plant from seed, nasturtium is the perfect starting place. These plants produce striking round leaves, which are coupled with bright orange, red, and yellow flowers.

This plant is often grown for its beauty, but it is also edible. The flowers can be used as garnish or added to salads.  


A close-up of a hanging basket overflowing with red and purple impatiens flowers. Sunlight filters through the lush green foliage, casting a warm glow on the delicate petals. The impatiens spill over the rim of the plastic planter, creating a cascading display of color and life.
This popular bedding annual is ideal for baskets in shady spots.
botanical-name botanical name Impatiens walleriana
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial to full shade 
height height 6 inches- 3 feet
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Impatiens are well known as bedding annuals, but these flowering beauties can be grown in hanging baskets as well. Varieties like Midnight Blend, will offer you a mix of colors that will create the perfect basket without much effort on your part.

Impatiens come in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, white, coral, and more. If your hanging basket will be hanging in the shade, impatiens are perfect for you!


A close-up explosion of color fills the frame, showcasing a vibrant coleus plant overflowing from a hanging basket. Lush, textured leaves in shades of magenta, dark purple, and green create a mesmerizing tapestry, their intricate patterns stealing the focus.
Primarily a bedding annual, coleus offers looks stunning in a hanging basket.
botanical-name botanical name Plectranthus scutellarioides
sun-requirements sun requirements Partial shade 
height height 1-3 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 10-11

Coleus is typically used as a bedding annual or to fill out containers. This annual comes in many colors, as well as bicolored varieties. They also make excellent hanging basket plants, either tucked in as a filler in a mixed basket or all on their own. They are also delightfully easy to grow from seed!

Coleus is grown primarily for its foliage. Be sure to deadhead any blossoms to encourage further foliar growth. 


A set of colorful hanging baskets holds a collection of aromatic herbs.
Maximize space with herbs in hanging baskets.
botanical-name botanical name Origanum vulgare
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 1-2 feet 
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

If your edible garden is getting low on space, why not add some herbs to a hanging basket? Oregano is perfect for this. This herb is highly aromatic, easy to grow, and easy to add to your dishes. Some ornamental oregano varieties on the market are not edible. Choose your seeds wisely!

Other lovely options are mint, anise hyssop, and creeping rosemary. A hanging basket full of tumbling herbs will fill your space with delicious fragrance and make for convenient harvesting!

Step 3: Timing is Everything

Close-up of gloved hands carefully planting a young plant in a hanging basket lined with brown fiber. Rich, dark soil fills the basket as vibrant potted plants peek from the background, creating a flourishing garden scene.
The last frost date in your area should be taken into consideration when planting seeds.

Once you have selected the seeds you are going to plant, it is time to determine the best time to plant those seeds. This may seem like a small factor, but timing can make all of the difference when it comes to the success rate of your plants.

Seed packets come with a lot of important information listed on them, and it should not be ignored. Typically, on a packet, you will find information on when to sow seeds indoors and when to sow seeds outdoors. Next, you will need to determine the last frost date for your area. On average, seeds being started indoors should be started around 10-12 weeks before your last frost date. 

Ignoring planting times can cause issues with growth. If you plant too early, your seedlings can run into issues with frost, and the seedlings may appear leggy. The good news about planting too early is that you will likely have time to plant another round of seedlings. 

Planting too late has issues of its own. Your plants may need help to reach maturity. If your plants aren’t spilling over the brim of the basket with flowers, then you have missed the boat. 

Step 4: Choose the Correct Growing Medium

A close-up captures a gloved hand carefully adding moist, brown potting soil to a hanging basket lined with coco fiber. A small garden shovel rests in the hand, poised to scoop another helping of soil.
To avoid seedling failure, choose the proper seed starting mix.

Selecting the right growing medium for seed starting is crucial. A mix that is too heavy may retain too much water, leading to the failure of any seedlings. There are many great seed starting mixes on the market, or you may choose to mix your own. 

Mixing your own seed starting medium is simple. The seed starting mix has a finer texture than other potting mediums. A general recipe for seed starting mix is two parts compost, two parts coconut coir, and 1 part perlite. You can also add worm castings for a boost of nutrition. 

If you are planning to start your seeds in your hanging basket, you will want to make sure the mix is not too sandy. This will benefit the seeds later in the summer when the plants are thirsty. 

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Step 5: Start Your Seeds

Close-up of hands carefully scooping rich, dark potting mix into a coco-lined hanging basket with a small shovel. Vibrant purple and white flowers peek from established plants in the background, hinting at the future beauty of the basket.
Once you’ve decided on trays or baskets, fill them with seed starting mix.

When you are ready to plant your seeds, the last thing you will need to decide is if you are going to start your seeds in a seed starting tray, or right in the basket itself. When you have selected your growing vessel, fill it with your seed starting mix. 

Next, check your seed packet for any special instructions. This could include cold treatment or soaking the seeds. Not all seeds will require any pre-treatment, but if your seeds do it is necessary for good results.  On the seed packet, you will also find a planting depth. Some seeds only need to be scattered on top of the soil, while others need to be planted at a specific depth. 

Finally, it is time to sow your seeds. Lightly moisten your soil and sow your seeds according to your package instructions. Set your tray or basket in bright light, and watch the magic happen. 

Step 6: Care for Your Seedlings 

A top-down view of a hanging basket filled with healthy growth. A young plant with small purple blooms sits nestled in moist brown soil rich in organic materials like rice hulls. Lush greenery surrounds the central plant, creating a vibrant composition within the coco fiber liner.
Adjustments are necessary as seedlings germinate: light, watering, transplantation, and hardening off.

Once your seedlings begin to germinate, you may need to make a few changes to their growing environment

  • Ensure your seedlings are getting sufficient light. You may want to employ the help of a grow light. This will ensure that all of your seedlings are getting enough light. 
  • Thin seedlings, or separate containers to make sure there is good airflow in between plants. You can also use a fan to keep the air circulating. Airflow is important for keeping fungus at bay, but it can also help to strengthen plants through gentle movement.
  • Water with care! Once your seedlings begin to germinate, overwatering can cause damping off. This is a fungal disease that lives at the soil line and will cause the seedlings to die. Only water when the soil is dry!

If you have grown your seedlings in a container other than your hanging basket, transplant them when their roots have filled the seed tray cell they are growing in. 

Before you hang your basket outdoors for the season, it is essential to harden off the seedlings. Allow the seedlings to spend some time outdoors for about a week. This will prevent any shock and will allow the seedlings to get used to the environment they will be living in all season long. 

Step 7: Maintenance

A cascade of colorful blooms. Lush pink, yellow, and purple petunias burst from black baskets, meticulously lined up in a vibrant nursery display. Flowers are in full bloom, their cheerful faces soaking up the sunshine.
Regularly check water levels, fertilize, and deadhead for optimal hanging basket care.

Once your seedlings are hardened off and your baskets are basking in the outdoor summer sun, it’s important to remember to continue to care for them.

  • Check the moisture level regularly. If you are using a self-watering hanger, ensure your water well is filled. 
  • Fertilize as needed. Foliar feeding is a great way to give your annuals the nutritional boost they need to flourish throughout the season. 
  • Deadhead! When your flowers begin to fade, snip them off. This will not only neaten the look of your plant but will also allow the plant to put energy into producing more flowers rather than seeds. 

Final Thoughts

Starting your hanging baskets from seed is a rewarding process. Typically, these baskets are quite pricey at garden centers. While they are beautiful, this would be a great way to save a few dollars on your gardening budget. Take the time to plan accordingly for the best results, and be patient!

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