How to plant bacopa

Bacopa is a very cute perennial plant that has the advantage of growing and blooming very well in the shade.

Basic Bacopa facts

Name – Sutera cordata
Previous names – Bacopa cordata,
Sutera diffusa, Chaenostoma cordata
Family – Scrophulariaceae

Type – perennial
Height – 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm)
Exposure – part sun and shade

Soil – ordinary
Flowering – May to October
Care – easy

Easy to care for, here are the tips for beautiful and long-lasting blooming.

Planting bacopa

It is recommended to plant your bacopa in spring in a blend of garden soil and flower plant soil mix.

  • Favor part sun, but ensure that the sweltering noontime sunrays aren’t directed to the plant.
  • For a hanging pot, select special hanging pot soil mix.
  • Set each plant at least 12 inches (30 cm) apart to give the bacopa space to grow.
  • Water regularly after planting and in case of prolonged dry spell (especially potted and hanging specimens).

Caring for bacopa

Bacopa requires practically no care at all and offers marvelous small flowers during the entire summer season.

Deadheading bacopa Sutera

To boost flower-bearing, if you wish, remove wilted flowers regularly.

If you don’t do it, however, it will still bloom profusely.

Deadheading is mostly for young plants that don’t yet bear so many blooms.

Watering bacopa

For bacopa grown in pots, containers or garden boxes, water regularly as soon as the soil has dried up.

Avoid having water stagnate in the saucer because roots detest excess moisture.

In summer, feel free to mulch the ground to keep the soil cool and save on water.

Propagating bacopa

Preparing cuttings is the best and easiest way to propagate your bacopa, followed closely by sowing its seeds.

  • You can try either water cuttings or start them directly in a pot with seedling soil mix.
  • Cut stems that are about 5 inches long (10-15 cm). Ideally, stems that haven’t bloomed.
  • Remove lower leaves.
  • Either place your stems upright in a glass of water (rainwater is best but tap water is fine), or wedge them in a pencil-hole in the soil mix.
  • Wait until roots develop, changing the water regularly for the glass or ensuring the soil mix stays moist.
  • Plant to a pot when roots seem stronger, about an inch.

You can also start seeds by sowing in a tray.

Diseases that affect Bacopa Sutera

In some cases, powdery mildew will infest your bacopa flower.

Bacopa and powdery mildew

If small white spots appear on leaves of the plant, it’s probably powdery mildew. It looks like white dust or flour. Leaves are quickly covered and turn yellow and die. This goes especially fast for new bacopa plants sprouted from seed or cuttings.

  • since it usually starts on bottom leaves, you can still collect tips and start healthy cuttings.
  • young leaves and leaves near the ground are the first to be infected.

Here are more detailed steps on how to cure a plant from powdery mildew.

For bacopa, specifically, you can do the following on top of the treatment tips shared on that page:

  • Remove infected leaves – pick each infected leaf, disinfecting your fingers with methylated spirits or rubbing alcohol after every leaf. Simply dip your fingers in the alcohol between picking leaves. Pull out severely infected stems or sprouts that are more than half covered. Burn leaves or discard them in the trash, not the compost.

  • Reduce watering – during the infection, it’s better for the soil to be drier. Water less and less often. Water in the morning, not in the evening.
  • Don’t wet the leaves – apart from treatments, don’t get the leaves wet. Stick a funnel in the soil to water but keep the soil surface dry. For hanging bacopa suspensions, use a long-spout watering can.
  • Increase air circulation – set up a fan to gently ventilate sprouts and dry them up. Place your plants where there’s more wind or drafts, such as near an open window.
  • Increase soil drainage – add sand to the planting mix, or more seedling potting soil. Try not to use clay or loam to start seedlings.

Other Bacopa diseases and pests

  • Whitefly is occasionally encountered.

Bacopa varieties

Read also:

  • Medicinal bacopa, Bacopa monnieri – this is the species used for its health benefits in traditional Ayurveda medicine (see Bacopa benefits for health).

For over twenty years, Sutera cordata varieties have been bred and sold by garden stores. Ever since the first cultivar was mistakenly called “bacopa”, all flowers of that family have been sold under the horticultural name “Bacopa”. There are now dozens of ornamental bacopa varieties

  • Recent Bacopa varieties are more resistant to disease

Older Bacopa Sutera varieties, now patent-free

Read also: What is a plant patent?

  • ‘Blizzard’ – large white flowers
  • ‘Inuit’ – lavender-white, trailing
  • ‘Flic-Flac’ – pale violet flowers

Soon to be patent-free (end of 2019 or during 2020):

  • ‘Lavender Storm’ – lavender-colored blooms
  • ‘Candy Floss Blue’ (Yasflos) – bushy cascading, blue flowers
  • ‘Olympic Gold’ – yellow and green variegated foliage, white flowers

Newer Sutera varieties, easily found in garden centers (protected by patents)

  • ‘Everwhite’ – white flowers, continuous blooming
  • ‘Novasnow’ – white flowers, among the largest in the species… at half an inch (1.5 cm)!
  • ‘Bacoble’ – lavender flowers, generously mounding
  • ‘Snowstorm Blue’ – blue flowers, early blooming

These include the Scopia and its Gulliver sub-series bred by Gabriel Danziger and his team:

  • ‘Scopia Great Violet Magic’, ‘Scopia Great Blue’, ‘Scopia Great Deep Violet’, ‘Scopia Dark Pink’…
  • ‘Gulliver Dynamic White’, ‘Gulliver Blue Sensation’, ‘Gulliver Lavender’…

Graham Brown also worked towards developing Australian bacopa Sutera varieties:

  • Bacopa Showers series, among which the ‘Bacoble’ mentioned above.

Landscaping with Bacopa Sutera

Since it grows into mounds and easily develops long, trailing stems, Bacopa is perfect for hanging suspensions and wall-mounted planters.

Such a care-free plant also does great as ground cover.

It is very similar to the cute bellflower plant. Bellflower has similar, small blossoms, but doesn’t trail and hang as much. Along rock walls and edges, they can be used interchangeably.

Learn more about bacopa

This little perennial is native to South Africa, India and South-East Asia. It has very beautiful flowers, most often white but from time to time pink, violet and blue hues are seen.

It is often prepped up in hanging pots because its flowers and leaves tend to cascade downwards, which is absolutely striking.

Easy to care for, bacopa will appeal to you with the multitude of small flowers it bears during summer. Each tiny flower lasts up to a week!

This ornamental species is different from medicinal bacopa. Indeed, Bacopa monnieri enhances memory and reduces neurological disorders. It has properties that help focus concentration and boost intellectual capacity.

Smart tip about bacopa

Cuttings are simple to prepare in spring, and it is actually preferable to propagate your bacopa that way instead of sowing.

Indeed, cuttings preserve characteristics of the cultivar. Seeds tend to grow with random, unforeseeable properties due to cross-pollination.

Watering must be regular but amounts must stay moderate during the entire blooming season.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Bacopa Taifun, white flower by Serres Fortier under © CC BY 2.0
Bacopa Calypso flower, violet by Serres Fortier under © CC BY 2.0
Bacopa Gulliver Lilac flower by Ernest McGray, Jr. under © CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’ve ever taken a vacation in a Disney park, or visited a summer resort, or walked down main street of the most charming small towns in America… you’ve probably been awed by some pretty amazing hanging basket planters. And let’s face it – you tried to reproduce said baskets, and failed miserably, right? We. Have. Been There. But then we learned these 5 success secrets for hanging baskets that make the pros “in the know”, and can make you the envy of your block. Yep, you really can have those lush, full, awe inspiring hanging flower baskets in your own garden with these tips and tricks!

Hanging Flower Baskets

How to Make a Hanging Basket

The first thing that you have to remember is that if you want those professional looking, lush hanging baskets, all of these secrets are equally important and work together. If one part of the “system” fails, chances are good that none of the other secrets are gonna save you. But no worries, none of these are tough, fellow gardeners! Photo of this shade hanging basket of asparagus fern, ivy and coral bells by ‘Gardeners Supply‘. Yes, we get there are no flowers in this hanging baskets idea. Just goes to show how versatile you can be! Texture and foliage color add interest here.

Hanging flower basket with petunias from ‘State by State Gardening‘.

Secret #1 – Choose Your Hanging Pot, Basket or Container.

This is a lot more important than just style choice. If you want simple cascading pots, choose regular hanging pots. If you want those amazing living flower globes that hang from the streets in those awe inspiring European hamlets, then you want a container that is either wire with a fiber liner, or a pot with holes throughout its body made specifically for this purpose. This allows you to place plants all through the sides and bottom of the container, which gives that full living globe look. This photo from ‘Fine Gardening‘ shows how to cut holes in the fiber liner and place plants all around the container. There are also several commercial planter systems for growing full “flower globes”, such as the Flower Pouch.

Learn how to make a succulent sphere for a really unique hanging basket from YouTube channel ‘Garden Answer‘.

Hanging Flower Basket Secret #2 – Choose Your Soil

Using a high quality potting mix is vital to successful hanging baskets. Choose a lightweight mix that commercial growers in your area recommend, and then add water holding polymer crystals available in any garden center. (Many potting soils come with them already in the mix.) Do NOT buy generic or budget potting soil. One of our favorite soils is called ‘Black Magic’.

Secret #3 – Feed and Water Hanging Flower Pots Well

Hanging baskets get watered so often, they tend to leach all the nutrients out of the soil much faster than regular containers. Add a slow release granular fertilizer to the potting mix when you plant, then use a liquid fertilizer at half strength once a week, such as Miracle Grow for Flowers. Use both, your plants will thank you with lush growth and many blooms! The town of Victoria on Vancouver Island, B.C. is famous for their hanging flower pots, below. They water their baskets every night, and include the liquid fertilizer at every feeding. Photo courtesy ‘Vancouver Island Now‘.

Hanging flower baskets require a lot more water than even other container plants, especially the ones with fiber liners. Do NOT let your planters dry out. Once you do, the root systems will be damaged, and while you may be able to bring them back, they will never reach their full potential. Once you get used to how heavy your planters are when fully watered, you can just lift up on the bottom and tell if they are getting light, then they are getting dry. They like to be evenly moist. Consider taking them down weekly to do a full and deep soaking, allow to drain, then rehang. In the most intense heat of the summer, some flower baskets may need water as often as twice a day.

Secret #4 – Best Plants for Hanging Baskets

Just like when planting in your garden, you have to choose the right plants for the right spot. Not only do you need to pay attention to whether your basket will hang in sun or shade, also note if it will be subject to drying winds, heavy rains, or excessive heat. Then choose trailing plants for the sides and bottom of the container, and more upright varieties for the middle of the container. Lastly, decide on type and variety. Do you want a single color and type to make a mass statement? Or do you want 3-5 different varieties with different textures, colors and bloom shapes for more close up interest? Bolder colors will draw the eye more from the street, while more subdued choices allow the basket to add to the gardenscape, instead of becoming a focal point. All these choices should be made before you buy the very first plant! Some good hanging basket plant choices are below.

Photo is example of a single color flower basket using Supertunia “Raspberry Blast” courtesy of ‘Wojos’.

Sun Plants for Hanging Flower Baskets

Alyssum
Browallia
Calibrachoa
Diascia
Ivy geranium
Lantana
Nemesia
Osteospermum
Petunias, especially the newer supertunias and Wave type
Scaevola
Verbena
Bacopa
Creeping Charlie
Licorice plant (Helichrysum petiolare, especially ‘Limelight’)
Lotus vine
Sweet potato vine, especially ‘Marguerite’
Trailing lobelia
Trailing petunia

Photo of two hanging flower baskets of “Snow Princess” Alyssum courtesy of ‘Proven Winners’.

Shade Plants for Hanging Baskets

Begonia
Coleus
Dracaena
Fuchsia
Impatiens
Lamium
Mimulus
Polka-dot plant
Bacopa
Creeping Jenny
Lobelia

Photo courtesy of ‘Proven Winners‘. These hanging flowers are blue lobelia, red ivy geranium and annuals.

Hanging flower baskets that are just one plant choice can make a statement. Photo by ‘Power Flowers‘. These are “Wave Pansies” which are made for trailing.

Secret #5 – Pack ‘Em In!

Our last little trick from the pros is pretty important… You have to pack the plants in to these containers to get the full and lush look you want. Hanging baskets have a short amount of time to get to their full intended size, so you may need more plants than you usually would use. This is also why these baskets need more water and fertilizer – there is a lot of root competition in there!

Start them as early in spring as you can, weather permitting, for the best result by mid summer. Photo of hanging basket courtesy of ‘Proven Winners‘ of their Superbells calibrachoa and 2 types of verbena.

Where to Buy Supplies to Make Hanging Flower Baskets

Your choices for hanging planters and other supplies for making your flower baskets might be limited where you live. We found a few picks that might help you plant exactly the kind of hanging basket that you are dreaming about!

This “AquaSave Hanging Basket” is all ready for your plants, and will help keep them from drying out. It has a recycled plastic layer that holds in moisture. Perfect to solve the biggest problem in making hanging flower baskets thrive… lack of water!

If you want to be able to not worry about watering your hanging baskets every single day, then try the 11″ “Self Watering Hanging Basket“. Not only does it come in fun colors (white, too!) it has a quart and a half water reservoir that keeps the soil in the planter moist.

This “Weave Self Watering Planter” has a great texture that makes it look like high end pottery, but is is lightweight.

Last, we love, love, love the look of this “Galvanized Hanging Planter!” Yes, it isn’t like a traditional hanging basket, but can you imagine the charm if you filled these with trailing flowers?

So now you have the secrets to planting those ah-mazing hanging flower baskets for your home and garden. Don’t mess it up this time, ok? 🙂 We think you will also love our post on How to Plant Fantastic Flower Beds!

Image Credits: Wojos, Gardeners Supply, State by State Gardening, Garden Answer, Vancouver Island Now, Proven Winners, Proven Winners, Power Flowers, Proven Winners


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Hanging plant baskets bring an unmatched elegance to an area, be it outdoors or indoors. Flowering plants look especially chic when planted in hanging baskets.

Below is a list of top ten flowering plants you can select for your hanging baskets.

1. Petunia

These colourful blossoms bring joy wherever they are. These sun-loving plants are perfect to bring a pop of bold colour to any area. These plants are relatively easy to maintain and only require occasional watering along with general care.

Petunia

2. Portulaca

Portulaca or sun rose is a great plant variety to grow if you live in a hot and dry region. These tiny flowers come in a variety of colours and are super easy to maintain. All they need is direct sunlight and occasional watering in order to thrive.

Portulaca

3. Geranium

These low-maintenance plants are perfect for any hanging basket. Found in an array of different colours, they can fit any kind of space with grace. All they need is moderate amounts of sunlight, deep watering and well-drained soil.

Geranium

4. Fuschia

Everyone needs a bit of fuschia in their home, and what better way that to grow some! These delicate looking flowers add elegance like no other. These plants are easily infected by bugs, so make sure you keep them safe. They require moderate amounts of sun and water.

Fuchsia

5. Impatiens

These flowers look adorable in a hanging basket, and are perfect if you are looking to hang your baskets indoors. Found in reds, pinks, yellows, purples and whites, these summer blossoms are a great addition of colour to any living space. They require minimal care, just place then in an area that receives moderate sunlight and keep soil moist at all times.

Impatiens

6. Lantana

Lantanas are lovely to have as they blossom for a very long time. Extremely easy to maintain, lantanas thrive in almost all conditions. The best conditions are full sun and well-drained acidic soil.

Lantana

7. Begonia

These waxy blooms add an interesting aspect to your garden. These annuals give many blooms in their lifetime, as long as proper care is provided. Make sure the soil remains moist, but not wet; this is an important part in their care. Place them in a sunny spot to get the best blooms.

Begonia

8. Sweet alyssum

These busy flowers are great to fill an empty void in your living space and will leave your space with a lingering sweet fragrance. These are very prone to pests and diseases, so take proper care of that. Water regularly and provide partial amounts of sunlight.

Sweet Alyssum

9. Verbena

These long lasting summer blooms will survive even in extreme heat. Select a spot that receives at least 10 hours of sunlight. Use well-draining soil to get the healthiest plants, water occasionally.

Verbena

10.Pansy

These peculiarly shaped plants will add some character to your living space or garden. These are easy to maintain, just remember to water them regularly and apply general fertiliser. Pansies only require moderate amounts of sunlight.

Pansy

Growing the Bacopa Plant in an Aquarium Environment

When planting the Bacopa in an aquarium environment, it should be taken into account that any stemmed plant will grow to a good height, meaning that regular trimming should take place to prevent the plants from getting out of control, which will considerably reduce its allure and prevent the free flow of light to the bottom of the tank.

On the upside these plants are simple and friendly to trim. Once you have a good and healthy growth of Bacopa plants in your aquarium, their continuation is guaranteed because they are one of the easiest plants to propagate. Although Bacopa in an aquarium will give the impression that it is a large single mass, in actual fact the plant grows in small masses which are easily separated for propagation.

Having the pleasure of Bacopa’s in your tank for company does not come without its levels of responsibility. It is very important to fertilize the plant regularly as well as to make sure that they receive sufficient dosages of Carbon Dixide (CO2). If the Bacopa plant is provided with enough of these staples, and is exposed to enough light, they will put on a show in your aquarium that will be very invigorating.

The lighting

Remember that lighting is a very important part of growing aquarium plants. If you only have a single florescent tube, which is standard in most aquarium covers and hoods, then you will be limited in the plants you can grow. Very few of the varieties of Bacopa’s will grow in a hooded tank with incandescent lighting fitted. To get the best from your plant, the aquarium will need stronger than average lighting.

The species

The Bacopa plant has originated from several points on the World map. Although there are around seven varietals available, there are three which are well known among the aquarist community and some details or their individual characteristics are listed below:

  • Bacopa australis, although it has only recently come to the fore as an aquarium plant, has gained tremendous popularity among aquarium owners and operators because the plant is easy to grow, control and propagate. The plant was first discovered in Brazil less than ten years ago, its reputation has spread very quickly and the plant can be found in aquariums all over the World.

    Remarkable for its intense green color, australis will form very rapidly into a bush like growth, and is less in need of a strong light than some of the other varieties of Bacopa as is the case with the supplementation of CO2 into the tank. Recommended to be situated in the middle and front of the aquarium, the rich green of the Bacopa australis will act as an excellent backdrop for more exotically colored plants and fish. Bacopa Australis reacts well in temperatures ranging from 15-32°C and has a tolerance to pH ranging between 6-8.

  • Another version of the Bacopa plant that has been around a lot longer than the Australis is the caroliniana. The caroliniana comes around in a few formats, either with a cascade of very small leaves or fewer larger ones. What characterizes the caroliniana in any form is the very strong yet pleasant aroma of lemon which it gives of. Originally emanating from the deep south of the United States of America, it first drew attention when discovered growing in the marshes there. Growers discovered that caroliniana would grow very well either fully immersed or above the surface of the water. A lot less active than the australis, and consequently less popular, caroliniana also requires stronger light although less dependant on CO2 and fertilization, although if treated will respond favorably. Bacopa caroliniana boasts a very interesting color combination, dependant on the level of phosphates in the water ranging from copper to pink to purple, dependent on the phosphate and light levels, and where the caroliniana is situated in the tank.

    In order for the caroliniana to perform at its best the substrate should be a mixture of sand and clay. Either in an open aquarium or even in a open pond caroliniana will grow fairly rapidly and if allowed to reach bloom, will send out some enchanting blue flowers.

    Bacopa caroliniana reacts well in temperatures ranging from 15-28°C and has a tolerance to pH ranging from acid to basic.

  • Bacopa monnieri, popularly known as “moneywort” in the aquarist community, is a plant that takes its origins from the tropical regions of the World. Also a veteran in the aquarium plant scene, monnieri, is popular due to its ease of growth, training and propagation.

    To the experienced aquarist, monnieri is dream to work making very few demands. Basically all it needs to thrive is strong light, (no less than two watts per gallon) Access to CO2 will be welcome but not critical. Fertilization is a necessity with regular dosage of nitrate and phosphate in relatively small doses needed to spur on plant growth. To make the monnieri growing process even more successful an occasional dosage of micro elements, especially iron, will do the plant’s appearance some good.

    The monnieri varietal will gown vertically either immersed or above the water surface, and with its light green foliage lends itself very well to being a background or middle ground in the aquarium tapestry of color.

    Bacopa monnieri reacts well in temperatures ranging from 15-28°C and has a tolerance to pH ranging from acid to basic.

While there are other varieties of Bacopa available they have been found to less in demand in an aquarium setting as the varieties detailed. As further information emerges we will do our utmost to keep our readers informed.

Bacopa Plant Info: How To Grow A Bacopa Plant

The Bacopa plant is an attractive flowering groundcover. Its identification can be a bit confusing, as it shares a common name with a medicinal herb that is in fact a different plant altogether. Keep reading to learn more about this variety of Bacopa, and how to care for it.

Bacopa Plant Info

Growing Bacopa (Sutera cordata) is simple, and it has many uses in the sunny to part shade garden. Bacopa plant info indicates that the small plant reaches no more than 6-12 inches in maturity. The low-growing specimen spreads vigorously to cascade over a wall or quickly cover bare spots under taller plants.

The happy Bacopa trailing annual is often covered with tiny flowers from June through October. Flowers are in shades of white, pink, lavender, blue and even coral red. The cultivar ‘Giant Snowflake’ has larger, white flowers and reaches just 3 to 6 inches in height and is one of the original varieties of Bacopa trailing annual.

When growing Bacopa plants, experiment with different varieties of the hybrids. ‘Cabana’ is a newer white-flowering form of the plant that is more compact. ‘Olympic Gold’ also has white flowers with variegated leaves of gold and green that requires a more shaded spot. Bacopa plant info says white flowering varieties offer the most long-lasting bloom.

Also, when shopping for Bacopa plants, look for the name Sutera on plant labels.

How Do You Care for Bacopa?

Growing Bacopa plants is most easily done in containers. This allows for the consistent moisture necessary to avoid the interruption of flowering. Use Bacopa trailing annual as a filler plant in mixed containers and hanging baskets.

Grow Bacopa trailing annual in a full sun to part shade location. Bacopa plant info on how to grow a Bacopa plant advises growing the plant where afternoon shade is available in the hottest areas.

The tender annual is sometimes bothered by aphids, which can be dispersed with a strong blast of water from the sprayer. If aphids persist on new growth, treat them with a soapy spray or insecticidal soap. Neem oil is also beneficial.

Now that you’ve learned the basics of how do you care for Bacopa and the many uses for the diminutive, spreading plant, add some to your garden this year.

Plant of the week: Summer flower power with Bacopa

THIS effective trailing perennial, often grown as an annual in this country, combines well with almost any colour scheme, its tiny white flowers draped over window boxes or spilling out of containers and cascading over hanging baskets.

You can also grow mauve varieties and it spreads quite effectively in containers so is great as a fill-in. It will do well in sun or light shade in multi-purpose compost, but keep it well watered throughout the summer months, trim and feed it occasionally to keep it going. Good varieties include B. ‘Snowflake’ and B. ‘Snowtopia’.

WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK

:: Water hanging baskets and containers twice a day in extended hot weather

:: Take rose cuttings

:: Layer honeysuckle, wisteria and passion flower by bending the shoots down to the ground, slitting the stem, dusting with rooting powder and burying this end in the soil, holding it in place with a large stone

:: Water blue hydrangeas regularly with a colourant solution to ensure they remain blue next season

:: Support the new growth of dahlias

:: Sow lettuce weekly to continue the harvest throughout summer

:: Don’t let runner beans dry out and, as they ripen, pick them regularly to ensure they don’t become tough

:: Plant out leeks raised from seed once they are the thickness of a pencil

:: Top up your pond with a hosepipe as water evaporates in the heat

:: If grass is drying out, leave the box off your mower and allow the clippings to remain on the lawn, which will help conserve moisture.

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