Are your hanging baskets looking leggy? Have they suffered from the extreme heat of our summer? Mine have. They look awful and it’s gotten to the point where I think I should ditch them into the compost and start over. However, at this time of the season, it’s not easy to find affordable, robust replacement baskets.

Problem solved! I remembered what my neighbor, Suzette, said to me when I told her I was working on my next book, “Secrets of the Lazy Urban Gardener.” She said, “Lazy? I’ve been known to use fake flowers out front.” I never knew they we not real. From a distance they looked great. Had she not told me, I would have never known.

With that tidbit of information, I will no longer be beat down by our hot summers that for 21 years, have caused a struggled with the heat and our southwest exposure on the front of our home. By July, (though, I have FAITHFULLY watered them) my hanging baskets always look dry and dreadful.

Now, I’ve “planted” simulated flora. It’s lovely and I think it will save me money in the long run. I scored a few of the flowers on clearance at a local craft store.

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I carefully removed the semi-live plants from the hanging baskets. I rehomed them in a free spot, in my raised bed. Because they now get partial shade there, they are already looking healthier.

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Then, I gathered all the supplies: simulated flora, empty baskets, kitty litter, Spanish moss, scissors, needle nose pliers and wire cutters.

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I had to plug the drain holes in the baskets so the kitty litter wouldn’t seep out. D&B Supply carries kitty litter. Of course you could use some green foam brick that florists use. I just had a bag a kitty litter in the garage that we use to soak up spills. The silk flowers and Spanish moss came from the craft store and the dollar store, respectively.

First, remove all the price tags. Nothing says, “these are fake” more than a price tag on a stem.

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Next, cut your stems so they will properly fit into the basket. I started out by cutting my stems, but leaving a little length. I trimmed from there. You can also use the needle nose pliers to bend the stems, if you like.

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Pour the kitty litter into the baskets. Arrange the stems and finish it off by gently placing the Spanish moss on top of the kitty litter. Voila! You now have a beautiful, heatproof, hanging basket.

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I’ll always get my beautiful, Spring hanging baskets from D&B. But, once their beauty has declined, I’ll reuse these stems for many years to come.

Postscript… I asked my daughter to water the planters. I went out front about 30-minutes later and noticed water dripping from the hanging baskets. Yep, fooled her.

I was actually worried that the kitty litter would clump, as I wanted to add a little more to the baskets. Fortunately, it hadn’t. I added a few more stems that I bought at 50% off at the craft store and now there is a color explosion.

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