Making Burle Baskets
Looking for new ideas for summer containers? In mid-May, the Arboretum will be putting out lush hanging baskets of tropicals. Named “Burle basket” after the renowned Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, these baskets are a creative way to make an impressive, three-dimensional impact with tropical plants.
The base of the structure is a wire frame, in either a half sphere or conical shape. The frame is then filled with sphagnum moss, which effectively retains the moisture for the plants. Next, a good quality, moisture retaining soil is added. When placing the plants, it is best to start at the bottom of the basket and work your way up towards the top.
There are limitless possibilities for arrangements. We used different types of Begonias, Xanthosoma (elephant ears), Peperomia, ferns such as Nephrolepis exaltata and various kinds of bromeliads, which add accent color. To maximize the beautiful cascading qualities of these tropical baskets, we recommend using trailing plants such as Cissus or Tradescantia. One of my favorite ornamental plants, Cyperus alternifolia, is also great for adding height and texture.
The Unusual Tropicals plant sale May 21-22 will feature an array of bromeliads, elephant ears, succulents, ferns, vines, begonias, cannas, and other rare finds — an inspiring selection for creating your own bountiful Burle Basket.