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Pat Sullivan: Rejuvenating hanging baskets

By cutting back your plants, then stimulating more growth by fertilizing the plant, you essentially get a second season from that plant.

INDIANAPOLIS — Pat Sullivan from Sullivan Hardware and Garden believes we need a "national cut-back weekend" after the Fourth of July to remind us to trim the dead and wilting growth on our hanging baskets.

On 13Sunrise, Sullivan said that by the middle of summer, many plants have lost their blooming spring beauty. 

"Don't despair," he said, "because I'm going to show you how you can get a second season out of those plants."


Start by cutting off the ends and exterior flowers from the plant. "When you cut back, that stimulates the growth," Sullivan said. "It 'thickens' the plant." Only cut back to edge of the basket or pot, no further.


As soon as you finish cutting, you need to help stimulate the regrowth by fertilizing the plant. Sullivan used dry "shake and feed" granules on the dirt inside the basket, then followed up with a liquid fertilizer mix to reach the roots. But you will need to hit the plant with a liquid fertilizer once a week after you trim or you will not see rapid re-growth.

"You should be doing all your plants, every week," said Sullivan, "especially if they are in containers, because when we water, that leeches the nutrients right out."

After two or three weeks, you should see the plant flowering again and bright green color return to its stems and leaves and that should last into fall.

Watch Pat demonstrate the steps in the video player.

Pat's Pro Tip

If you see leaves in a basket plant or pot turning yellow, try applying a fertilizer with iron.

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