Why have my hanging baskets gone leggy? [Causes & Fixes]

Did you know that Petunias are the most common plants used in hanging baskets in the USA? For some reason, we Americans love this plant. It might be the way they fill out the hanging baskets or the vibrant color. Whatever it may be we love it and cannot seem to understand why they go leggy at times.

Why have my hanging baskets gone leggy? In most cases poor light, insufficient nutrients, and insufficient water cause hanging baskets to get leggy. When caring for hanging baskets it is important to have the soil adequately moist and fertilized. This way they will not go leggy.

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Why hanging baskets go leggy

Here are the most common reasons why hanging baskets go leggy?

Hanging baskets gone leggy due to improper watering

As we know it most hanging basket plants are tropical. These plants are designed to live in places that are moist and humid. So when you deprive these plants of these basic conditions they tend to become leggy and look dull and dehydrated. 

How to fix it?

The best thing when it comes to any plant used in hanging baskets is that you need to have a watering schedule. In summers it becomes necessary in most parts of the US to water hanging plants twice. Either that or you mist the plant often.

The best way to make sure the plant receives enough water is to check the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil to see if it is dry, soggy, or adequately moist.

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Read Why Jade Plant Leaves Falling Off [Causes & Fixes]

Hanging baskets gone leggy because of not deadheading

Most hanging baskets are filled with annuals. These plants are great as they are easy to maintain and look their absolute best in summer. The only thing though is that these plants need to be deadheaded from time to time.

This simply means that you need to get rid of the spent blooms as soon as they fade and start to wilt. This makes it easier for the plant to focus on new blooms.

How to fix it?

It is important to keep an eye on the plant and deadhead regularly. As the plants start to grow you will start to see brown nubs on the plant. It is better to remove these as well. Along with spent flowers plucking off dead or damaged leaves is a good idea. 

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Hanging baskets gone leggy due to lack of pruning

Pruning is the dreaded and time-consuming task that almost all home gardeners find unnecessary. But contrary to common belief if done regularly pruning has more benefits and no it will not make your plant look tiny and scanty and yes, leggy.

In fact, when it comes to hanging baskets it is necessary to prune regularly to make them look compact.

Plants that are not pruned tend to have long stems with scanty leaves and flowers growing out of nowhere. Pruning puts things in order, plants have a more uniform shape size and all there is to it.

How to fix it?

When it comes to annuals the more frequent the pruning sessions are the better the plant looks and grows. Hence you will need to prune every other week.

Remove the top ¼ to ½ of each stem of your plant. Yes, it is time-consuming but treat it as an extended therapy session trust me it’s relaxing.

Once you start pruning the plant regularly it will start to look less leggy and healthier. 

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Hanging baskets gone leggy due to improper sunlight

Too much or too little sunlight can cause more issues than u think. With hanging baskets, there is more exposure to the elements. When these places are in extremely hot and humid conditions they start to lose moisture and shrivel. This gives it a leggy and dull appearance.

The same is the case when the plant doesn’t receive enough sunlight. The plant in this case is not able to function well and turns leggy and lifeless.

How to fix it?

Fixing a leggy plant that receives either too much or too little sunlight is not a difficult take. Simply pay attention to the plant and its needs. You will then be able to pinpoint how much sunlight the plant requires. Compare it to what the plant receives and you can do the math. 

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Simply put – look for shade if you feel the plant is getting baked under the sun and look for a sunny spot if it’s abandoned in the shade.

Read How To Trim And Prune A Jade Plant

Hanging baskets gone leggy due to improper fertilization

Proper growing conditions are the most important factor when it comes to looking after hanging plants. No matter what plant or variant you are planting, feeding it becomes a prerequisite for good blooms.

It is seen that under fertilization can make the plant look dull and leggy. The same is the case with over-fertilization it tends to mess up the balance of nutrients in the soil. 

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How to fix it?

The best way to fix inconsistent or improper fertilization is to understand the needs of the plant. This coupled with the components of the soil or potting mix you use and other growing conditions will help understand how much you should fertilize the plant.

It will also give you a fair idea about the amount of fertilizer required and the number of times you need to fertilize in a month.

Have a fertilization schedule and get the soil tested if possible. This will reduce the hassle of guessing what needs to be done and become a more concrete task or decision.

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Hanging baskets are a great addition to the living room or any other room you decide to place it in. the best way to answer the question of why have my hanging plants gone leggy is to pay attention to the plant. Now you have a fair idea of what the possible causes are. All you need to do is look into your schedule and identify flaws. Once you have the cause it is easier to find the solution.