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Now Available - Bedding Plants for Summer Colour
Saturday, 19 May 2012 7:15 pm

For glorious summer colour choose bedding plants! Bedding plants are ideal for the sunny or slightly shady garden and are best planted in an area sheltered from high wind. They are mainly short-lived, lasting only one season but grow fast and provide superb value for money.

Bedding plants can easily be grown from seed or are available as young plants from your Garden Centre. They can be bought for spring, summer or early autumn colour to transform a dull border in a virtually no time at all.

Plants for summer will usually die after the first frost. Dig them up as soon as this happens and, if you have a compost heap, recycle them. Many plants that can be used for bedding will look good during the autumn and winter months to provide colour on duller days, e.g., viola, pansies, myositis (forget-me-not), ornamental cabbage, pansies, polyanthus, primula,

Choosing Your Plants

First, decide your colour schemes and plant combinations you want to achieve, e.g., do you want to achieve instant patches of colour or a whole bed?

You will need to consider how big the plants will grow, think about the patterns and think about how you want to contrast the colours.

When buying plants you should choose ones which look bushy and healthy and avoid those that look withered, droopy or have dry compost.

Summer Colour

When planting summer bedding plants these should be planted when the danger of frost has passed which is usually from end of May.

Here are some popular varieties:

ANTIRRHINUM (snapdragon) : trumpet-like flowers in soft, pastel colours including shell pink, golden yellow, apricot, rose and peach. They form a long-flowering cloud of colour for bedding and containers, about 40cm.
DAHLIA : perfect for bedding and containers and often come in mixtures of bright, starry flowers in shades of reds, rose, pink, orange, yellow and white, about 45cm.
BEGONIA : flowers all summer from June to October with red, white and pink flowers, about 15-25cm.
BRACHYCOME (swan rover daisy) : daisy flowers in shades of white, blue and violet each with a striking yellow or black centre. Flowers all summer and very effective in containers and hanging baskets although are best in full sun, about 25-30cm.
CALLISTEPHUS (aster) : colours include yellows, whites, blues, pinks and purples and flower shaped. Best for bedding displays in borders, about 60cm.
CLARKIA : lilac-purple flowers, best sown in groups to achieve a dramatic display, about 40cm.
FUSCHIA : flowers July to early Oct in white, pink, red and purple and types of fuchsias include bush and trailing, 30-60cm.
IMPATIENS (busy Lizzie) : these provide a great splash of colour in baskets and containers or can be planted en masse in a border. The white, pink and red flowers keep going until the first frost and do best in part shade, about 25cm.
LOBELIA : flowers from June to October in blue, red, white and mauve and includes trailing and upright types, about 15cm.
MESEMBRYANTHEMUM (Livingstone daisy) : these vividly coloured flowers open with the sun and are an excellent spreading plant in borders, about 8cm.
MARIGOLD : orange and yellow and flowers all summer, 15-30cm.
NICOTIANA (tobacco plant) : red, pink, white, yellow and green flowers in June to October, 25-60cm.
PANSY : summer and winter varieties and can be planted to give year-round colour in a huge range of shades, 15-25cm.
PELARGONIUM (geranium) : come in many different flower colours and often scented leaves, 45 cm.
PETUNIA : fantastic colour range in every shade with striped, veined or double blooms on upright or trailing plants. They flower early in the season and are superb in the garden especially when deadheaded regularly. They look great in all types of containers and baskets, about 30cm.
VERBENA : very attractive summer bedding plants with dark leaves and rounded clusters of flower heads in shades of white, yellow, orange, pink, red and blue. Ideal for containers, beds, border edging or window boxes, 30 cm.
VIOLA : small pansy-like flowers in March-October in white, yellow, orange, pink, red, mauve and blue, 15-20cm.

How to Plant Them

  • Don’t plant when it’s too hot and make sure they are well soaked in their pots before planting to reduce stress.
  • Make sure there are no weeds in the planting are which could choke the bedding plants.
  • Fork over the planting area thoroughly.
  • Dig a hole bigger than the roots of the plant and pour in water. Tap the plant out its pot or tray disturbing the roots as little as possible, push the plant firmly into the hole and refill with the surrounding soil.
  • Place tall plants to the rear and compact plants at the front be careful to leave growing space around them.
  • After planting, sprinkle a general purpose fertiliser such as Growmore lightly round the plants and water well.
  • Bedding plants grown in containers like hanging baskets and wall-mounted pots should be filled with potting compost mixed with water-retentive gels and slow-release pellets.

Looking After Your Plants

  • Keep bedding plants blooming by picking off any dead blooms to encourage new flowers.
  • Feed every 10 days or so with liquid fertiliser.
  • Keep the area between plants free from weeds as they may smother the plants.
  • Water bedding plants in the evening to allow the plants to absorb moisture overnight.
  • Hanging baskets may require watering more than once a day during hot weather.
  • If bedding plants become infected with greenfly, spray with an insecticide. Slugs and snails can be controlled with pellets available at your garden centre.
Trade discount for professional gardners.

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