Again, there is a wide choice available and while it is possible to improvise by screwing or suspending plastic food containers and the like on the wall, much more of the receptacle can be seen than in the case of those which stand on the ground, and improvised ones can look rather shoddy so it is perhaps better not to spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar.
Containers suitable for walls can broadly be divided into four categories:
Window boxes. Originally, these were made of wood and if expertly made could be quite expensive unless you were the handy sort of do-it-yourself person who could knock one up. Sometimes ready-made ones are available at garden centres. An easy alternative is to use a substantial plastic trough. These can be found in a range of sizes and colours to suit more or less any window. Wrought-iron supporting brackets are also obtainable, which screw to the wall under the window, the top anchoring the front of the trough when fitted on to it. Another method of fixing is to screw strong gallows brackets to the wall and then firmly screw the box to the top arms of these brackets. This method would also be suitable for a wooden box.
Window boxes should never be placed on the window-ledge without securing them, either to the window frame, or to the window-ledge through the bottom of the box, or by running a strong piece of wood or metal across the window-opening directly in front of the box. If this is not done, when the box is fully planted and growing strongly, it will topple over and off the sill.
Hanging baskets. The most widely recognized basket is made of wire mesh, once galvanized, now more commonly plastic-coated, or all plastic, attached to chains which suspend it from a gallows or wrought-iron bracket. The baskets come in several sizes and, if possible, the bigger the better as plants grow more successfully in them and do not dry out as fast.
A modern version of this is the solid, all-plastic basket with a built-in drip tray which prevents it from dribbling after it has been watered – a consideration if it is placed at first-floor level, and a further advantage is that the solid sides stop it drying out as fast as the open-sided ones, but the container is more difficult to conceal than the mesh type which can have suitable plants growing through it.
Mesh and solid plastic baskets can also be obtained as half-forms, with a flat-sided back. These are designed for screwing against the wall through ‘eyes’ at the top. Obviously they cannot take as many plants as they are only half the size, but plants do quite well in them in their relatively more sheltered position against a wall.
If you want a hanging basket at a height which you cannot reach easily without a ladder, consider buying a bracket incorporating a pulley mechanism, or place a separate lowering device between the bracket and the basket, so it can easily be brought down to a convenient height for watering and servicing.
Mangers. These are like a giant version of the half-basket and were originally used for feeding horses, cattle, etc., with hay in a barn or stable. Until recently only second-hand ones were available, but several firms, realizing their horticultural potential, are now making new ones for garden purposes. Tbey are used against the wall in the same way as a half-basket, although because they are much bigger and deeper, a more spectacular planting can be achieved. It is advisable to cover the wall against which the manger is placed with water-proofing material (polythene, etc.) before filling it with compost.
Hanging pots. Recently, a whole new breed of pots suitable for hanging from a hook has appeared. Basically, these resemble a slightly up-market plastic flower pot with a built-in drip tray, and an incorporated plastic hanger to suspend it by. They come in several sizes, colours, and variations of design, but the principle is the same. They are intended to contain one plant only, the larger ones suitable for, say, a good-sized fuchsia, and the smaller ones capable of holding perhaps an ivy-leaved geranium.
Terracotta and ceramic pots are obtainable in hanging form, usually suspended by means of non-rotting thick string, and in half-pot form, for screwing to the wall.