The Eco Garden

Lining hanging baskets on a budget

You don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive hanging basket liners. With a little creativity, you can save a money and create and impressive display in your garden.

After an exhaustive visit to all of my local garden centres and DIY stores, I decided that for the amount of hanging baskets that I’m planning for this year, buying liners just wasn’t within budget. I have 15 baskets to line and at a cost of £2 per liner, this is far too expensive a project for a frugal gardener like myself.

The ultimate eco liner

I remembered a conversation I had with a gardener friend about using alternative  methods to keeping the compost in the basket. She suggested packing the sides out with plenty of straw, pressing it firmly into place before loading the composts. This got me thinking…why should I spend lots of money on liner, when inexpensive and eco-friendly alternatives are all around me. After a little digging, I have discovered that there are many ways to these ends, including using grass clippings, leaves, twigs…this list goes on.

Unfortunately, I’m currently fresh out of straw and twigs, and I’ll have to wait another month or so before I can cut my lawn and produce enough clippings. I have 30 sweet pea ‘Sugar n Spice’ plugs in my new greenhouse to plant up as I want to get a head start on for this summer. So, what have I got plenty of in my garden…well, I have just cut my pampas back and have a huge pile of sharp grassy leaves to deal with.

I know what you are thinking, pampas is hardly the easiest grass to handle, but armed with a pair of gloves and scissors in hand I have just created several experimental baskets.

Eco hanging basket liner made from Pampas grass

How to

  • Pack clippings: The key is to pack plenty of your clippings into the empty basket. Once is it full to the brim, with both hands to divide a hollow area in the centre of the basket, pushing and firming to the outer edges. Don’t worry about the baskets appearance at this point.
  • Polythene: Get a square of perforated polyethene, large enough to fill the basket and press it into the hollow. I used old rubble sack for my polyethene.
  • Compost: Now pack in the compost. You might want to place a few stones or a small saucer at the bottom of the basket to help with drainage.
  • Trim: Try off excess polyethene and clippings until the basket looks neat and tidy.
  • The fun bit: Plant up your basket.

If you have any cheap/free and eco methods for lining hanging baskets, I’d love to hear about them.

By James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

4 replies on “Lining hanging baskets on a budget”

You might also want to try old woollen jumpers! In fact, if you can knit, try and make your old liners out of re-used wool. You can also use old carpets cuts and corrugated cardboard.

There are plenty of materials you can use – moss scrapings from your lawn, but beware of weed seeds! Dry bracken is also worth a go, but wear gloves as bracken is considered to be a carcengeon.

I should just underline – although I have used pampas this year to line my hanging baskets, it’s not the best material to use…I just had plenty of it. If you are considering using pampas, make sure you are wearing gloves. It’s grassy leaves can inflict a nasty cut or two!

I have to add this – I have found the perfect use for the pampas lined hanging basket: strawberries!

Makes perfect sense. I have my hanging baskets in close proximity to other taller plants – some of which will inevitably touch the bottom of the basket – making a bridge for slimey critters. What slug or snail in it’s right mind will go near the barbed cutting blade of pampas grass? It also looks great – a bit like strawberries in straw!

I used baking paper to stat with but the weight of the soil came through so next I tried a mix of bracken and old leaves with careful placing this did the trick!

Yes, paper will eventually become part of the compost. Bracken and old leaves are a superb choice for linging hanging baskets, but make sure you wear gloves as bracken is thought to be a cacinogen! Also, ensure that there are no weed seeds in amongst the leaves. You can use practically anything if you inner line your baskets with polythene. I used old rubble sacks and worn out eco-bags…just don’t forget to make holes to let out the water.

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