Moss Basket Sneak Peek
Hey West Coast Gardeners! Have you ever wondered how our hanging moss baskets get made? Here’s a sneak peek at our home-grown approach to hanging moss basket propagation.
Although you don’t see our baskets in store until about May, we actually start the young plant process way back in the first and second week of January. For our hanging baskets we use a process called plant propagation, which is just the practice of creating new plants from a variety of sources like seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts. At West Coast Gardens we use small tip cuttings from large farms in El Salvador, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua that are shipped to us overnight and we propagate them into small cells or sections of soil here at our nursery. These small soil planters encourage plants to produce roots called a plug. This part of the process takes about 4 weeks. Once the baby plant, or plug, has a robust enough root base to where the plant has started to come on up through the soil — we share them to create branching. Once the plant plugs have multiple tips, we are able to take that plug and plant it in our moss hanging basic.
The basic structure of our baskets is made with a liner in a wire cage. It’s important to note that we don’t use real moss in our baskets and that’s for two main reasons: firstly, we don’t want to be taking lots of moss from its natural place in the forest, but secondly because the substitute material we use is actually much more effective in helping the basket grow. The only reason natural forest moss was ever used in gardening practice was to allow gardeners to plant into the side of baskets; but now, you can easily get the same effect with newer products that actually give you a better chance of growing. The liner we use is a environmentally-friendly biodegradable product called supa moss. Unlike natural forest moss, supa moss holds lots of moisture. This moisture retention gives you at home the best chance of your basket growing on through the summer — and really, who doesn’t want these beauties to last as long as they can?
To fill the basket we use an 80% peat 20% perlite mix. The peat, made up of decomposed forest moss, provides the perfect ph and is fluffy enough to let roots easily penetrate the soil. From there we also add a root shield product, which helps root growth as a robust root system is what will help the basket thrive. At first the small plants find themselves in a big pot that holds much more water that they can handle, this root shield product sits on the roots ensuring they don’t decay under the excess water.
After the young plant process in January, we start planting our baskets in mid February. Everything is planted over 4 weeks to stagger basket growth, allowing all customers to have a fresh, and new hanging basket to take home regardless of when you may stop by in May/June. Our professional planters work hard over those 4 weeks, ensuring that each of our 23+ varieties of hanging baskets are planted according to their carefully crafted menu. Our top selling baskets include: Foliage, which we like to call “the busy person basket” because it features no dead heading; the bold, beautiful, and bright West Coast Special; Cookies and Cream, which features beautiful white flowers and black foliage; and Citrus, a fiery orb of reds and yellows intended for full sun.
Baskets are then hung the first week of March, after having their first great haircut to promote more branching. We then hang our blooming beauties for 6 weeks, after which they get a second haircut for a shaping and final trim to account for anything that might have been missed. Lastly, after 6 more weeks these beautiful hanging moss baskets are ready for customers to take them home and enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed our behind-the-scenes sneak peek at how our hanging moss baskets are made! Are you getting excited for hanging basket season? Check out our 2017 hanging moss basket program guide for selection and pre-order yours today!