Hanging baskets can add a beautiful pop of color to any backyard or patio and are common during the summer and spring. However, they can look faded and worse for wear when the temperatures start falling. When should you bring hanging baskets inside?
You should bring hanging baskets inside when the temperature is just above freezing. An exception is if you have cold-weather plants. You should also protect hanging baskets from extreme summer temperatures (above 90°F/32°C), severe winds, heavy rains, hailstones, and sudden temperature changes.
In this article, I’ll discuss the temperature at which hanging baskets can survive outside. I’ll also discuss if they can survive indoors and how to care for your hanging plant baskets. Let’s get started!
At What Temperature Can Hanging Baskets Survive Outside?
When you have hanging baskets, the outdoor temperature will be the main deciding factor in whether or not to bring them inside. If it’s springtime, and you have some new and colorful hanging baskets, at what temperature can they survive outside?
Hanging baskets can survive outside when the temperature is consistently above 50°F (10°C) but not beyond 90°F (32°C). In winter, most hanging baskets can remain outside if the temperatures don’t fall below 32°F(0°C). However, some plants, like winter pansies, tolerate lower temperatures.
Hanging baskets are easier to maintain if the outdoor temperatures are ideal. However, you need to consider the plants in your hanging baskets and what they need to thrive. The temperature will determine where to place your hanging baskets and when to bring them inside.
Here is some more information about how temperature affects hanging baskets outside:
- The average daily temperature affects when your hanging flowers start to flower and the number of blooms. Hanging baskets in regions with a higher daily temperature (average of 75°F/24°C) will bloom earlier and have more flowers than baskets in an area with an average daily temperature of 65°F/18°C.
- The difference between day and night temperatures affects how much hanging baskets elongate. If the day and night temperatures remain the same or have a difference of 5°F/-15°C, they will elongate and fill up faster than hanging baskets exposed to extreme night and day temperature variations.
- Hanging baskets perform best when the day and night temperatures are 65°F – 70°F(18° – 21°C) and 60°F – 65°F (15.5°C-18°C), respectively. This is the temperature in the greenhouses of most nurseries that prepare hanging baskets.
When To Bring Hanging Baskets Inside
Hanging baskets are a delight to see. Whether you have them hanging in your gazebo, patio, or garden, you need to be aware of conditions that may wreak havoc on them so that you can protect them.
The following factors can influence whether or not to bring your hanging baskets inside:
Extremely Low Temperatures
Hanging baskets require a lot of water and nutrients to support their colorful blooms. Unfortunately, when temperatures fall very low, flowing water stops being accessible to plants. The roots may also freeze when temperatures fall below 20°F/-6.7°C.
Most hanging flower baskets, especially those made up of petunias, will survive outside as long as the temperatures don’t fall below 39°F/3.8°C. You should bring your plants indoors whenever you suspect that the temperatures will fall below this range.
However, hanging baskets with cool-season flowers can remain outdoors for longer, especially if your region experiences mild winters. Some hardy flowers can stay outdoors a little longer, even as the temperatures drop. I’ve written a complete guide on how to maintain your baskets during the cold seasons: Here’s What To Do With Hanging Baskets After Summer
Here’s a helpful table explaining more about hanging basket flowers and the temperatures at which they can be outside:
|Cool-season Flowers||USDA Zone||Features|
|Winter pansies||Zones 3 – 9||Blooms in fall, winter, and spring.|
They start to wilt when temperatures fall below 25°F/-4°C.
White, red, yellow, and primrose flowers darken during winter.
|Winter violets||Zones 4 – 10||Can remain outside until temperatures fall below 32°F/0°C. |
Flowers wilt at freezing temperatures, but the roots survive for longer.
|Primroses||Zones 3a – 8b||Goes dormant when exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period.|
Start to decline when temperatures fall below 23°F/-5°C.
|Cyclamen||Zone 5 – 9||Purple, red, white, and pink flowers. |
Cannot tolerate temperatures below 40°F/4°C.
When There Is a Heat Wave
When temperatures rise above 90°F/32°C, your hanging baskets will likely show signs of heat stress. The leaves and flowers may become scorched, and the plant may be dehydrated.
Even if you water the baskets multiple times a day, it may not be enough to save the flowers from heat stress, and the best solution would be to bring them inside or move them to the shade.
Unlike indoor plants, hanging baskets are exposed to wind, which can dry them out rapidly, and swing them from side to side, putting the hook at risk of snapping and the hanging basket falling.
However, you should be more worried about extreme winds.
While high winds can dehydrate hanging baskets faster, they do more damage because they may cause them to fall.
If you have a hurricane or high winds warning, it’s best to bring your hanging baskets inside. Wind chimes are extremely helpful at gauging wind speed and help to determine if it’s getting stronger. They also have the benefit of adding decorative value to your backyard or patio.
I usually take my indoor plants outside whenever it rains because they benefit from the water. They always look great when they absorb the nutrients in rainwater. However, there are limits to the benefits of rain on plants.
Your hanging baskets will enjoy a little bit of rain. However, there are risks when it there is too much rainfall:
- Too much rainwater will suffocate your hanging basket’s roots. This will limit oxygen and nutrient uptake and may cause root rot.
- The hanging baskets will take in too much water and may become too heavy, causing them to snap and fall.
So, unless you’re certain there will be only light showers, it’s best to bring your hanging baskets inside. You can still collect and water your plants with rainwater if you want them to benefit from the micronutrients in rainwater.
Every gardener dreads hailstones. They rip plant leaves and flowers apart, and it takes a while for the plants to recover from the trauma. Since hailstones are solid ice, they can lower the soil’s temperature and shock the roots.
The same will happen to your hanging baskets if you leave them out.
Sudden Temperature Changes
Seasonal changes are usually quite predictable. However, sometimes things don’t go as expected. Sudden temperature changes are not new in the US.
For example, Saranac Lake in upstate New York saw extreme temperature changes in January 2018, where temperatures were -34°F/-32°C on January 1. The temperatures then rose to 55°F/12°C on January 12 and down to -30°F/-34°C on January 14.
Oklahoma experiences some of the most turbulent temperature crashes. For example, it has experienced flash flood emergencies and extreme temperature changes across different areas. The autumn season sometimes feels like a battle between winter and summer.
These extreme temperature changes can wreak havoc on your hanging baskets. If you expect sudden temperature changes, bring your hanging basket inside until the external temperature stabilizes.
Can Hanging Baskets Survive Indoors?
Nurseries and garden centers create hanging baskets so customers can use them outside. They make perfect patio and balcony additions and are easy to maintain. Since you can move them around, you can enjoy the flexibility of changing your outdoor space’s appearance by adding a flair of colorful blooms.
Hanging baskets can survive indoors if you continue watering them regularly, fertilize, and place them in a spot where they receive sufficient sunlight. You should also ensure they are securely attached to the wall or ceiling. If the hanging baskets are too heavy, don’t hang them up.
Hanging baskets may look different after you move them inside. You’ll need to mimic the environment they are used to inside by moving the basket around until you find the perfect spot.
If you notice your basket doesn’t look as beautiful as it did before, don’t worry. I’ve written a comprehensive list of things you can do to revive your basket: What to Do When Your Hanging Baskets Look Terrible
This video provides tips on caring for hanging baskets in winter.
How To Care for Hanging Baskets Indoors
When you bring your hanging baskets indoors, whether during winter or for other reasons, you still need to care for them. The care may be similar, but you may need to make adjustments depending on the conditions in your house.
Here are some helpful tips:
- When bringing your hanging baskets indoors, decide if you want to hang them up. Confirm that the structure can hold the hanging basket if you want to hang them. For example, you should use a ceiling joist instead of sinking hooks into the drywall.
- Change the pot to a lighter planter if you’re concerned about the weight. Most hanging baskets are made of plastic or coco fiber. However, hanging baskets made of clay are heavier. You should also consider the weight of the hanging basket when you have just watered it because that’s when it’s heaviest.
- Consider adding perlite to your potting mix. A potting mix with peat as the primary ingredient is usually heavy because it retains water, and adding perlite improves drainage. However, this also means you’ll need to water your hanging basket more frequently.
- Protect your floors and furniture by placing the hanging basket in a pot without drainage holes or repotting it in a planter with the tray attached. Outdoor hanging baskets sometimes have coconut fiber liners. These allow water to pass through but keep soil from escaping.
- When using a pot within a pot to keep water from pouring out, you may need to empty the water from the outer pot more often. Otherwise, the pot may suffer from root rot.
- Hanging baskets won’t lose water as fast as they did when they were outside. Confirm the state of the soil using the finger test or a moisture meter before watering.
- Keep fertilizing the hanging baskets at least once a week. Do this when watering your plants. You can add slow-release fertilizer before watering the plants. You can also add some liquid fertilizer to the water you intend to use on your plants.
- If the plants start getting leggy, they need more sunlight. Move them to a spot with better lighting. Alternatively, you can use grow lights.
How To Protect Hanging Baskets From Frost
Annuals are the preferred flowers for hanging baskets because they don’t come back in the next growing season. However, some hanging baskets have perennials, which, when winterized, can survive the frost and bounce back in spring.
Here’s how you can protect hanging baskets from frost:
- Move the plants to the ground. Even if you can’t hang all your baskets indoors, you should at least put them on the ground because ground temperatures are slightly warmer than in the air.
- Cover the baskets with a garbage bag in the evening if you experience short cold snaps. The garbage bag will help keep the soil warm and prevent the roots from freezing.
- Use commercial breathable plant covers. They keep the plants warm but allow air movement to prevent extreme condensation, which may cause plant disease.
- Dig a large hole in the garden and bury the pots. You should cover them with soil and mulch heavily to trap heat and protect the roots from frost damage. You can also do this for individual pots if you like.
- Using a plastic tarp, burlap, fleece, or an old blanket, you can protect the plant’s roots. However, when using non-porous material, like a plastic tarp, you should remove it when it stops snowing to allow the plant to breathe and keep fungal diseases from attacking the flowers.
- Check the drainage holes and make sure they’re not blocked. You’ll still need to water the hanging baskets to ensure the plants get the necessary nourishment. It’s good to remember that it’s easier for wet soil to retain heat.
Where To Place Your Hanging Baskets
When you bring your hanging baskets inside, there is more to consider than protecting them from frost. If the placement of the hanging basket is wrong, your hanging baskets may still die, even if it is not frost that does it.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Replace the chain on the basket with a longer one. Alternatively, you can get an adjustable rope. The chains on most hanging baskets are 14 inches (35.56 cm) above the pot. This height may have worked outdoors, but if you hang the basket on your ceiling, it will be too close to the ceiling. Hanging baskets should be at or slightly below your eye level, but chest level is best.
- Place the hanging basket away from household traffic. Positioning the hanging basket where people are expected to keep ducking to keep from hitting the basket will most likely result in an accident, where a member of your household may be injured, or the plant will be knocked over.
- Avoid placing the hanging baskets under or close to the air conditioning vents. The warm and dry air will dehydrate the plants and weaken the leaves and flowers.
- Use heavy-duty hooks. You can buy hooks from a DIY store or any other online store. Confirm the weight limit of the hook before purchasing it.
They are also rust-free, have a smooth finish, and come with screw plugs. The sharp eye points make it easy for them to penetrate wood, walls, and ceilings.
The survival of your hanging baskets depends on how you care for them. However, annuals can only last so long, even if you keep watering and fertilizing them. They have a lifespan of a year, while perennials last for 3 – 5 years.
Although most hanging baskets are made up of annuals because of their colorful, lasting blooms, they can last through fall and winter if you take care of them. Bringing them indoors when exposed to elements that are likely to damage them will extend the life of your hanging basket.