|Bedding plants are ideal in sunny or lightly shaded but sheltered areas. Generally lasting only one season, they are short-lived but they grow incredibly fast and provide excellent value for money.
Whilst they can be grown from seed most bedding plants are bought in pots or trays as young plants from your local garden centre for spring, summer or early autumn colour which will transform a dull border very rapidly.
Summer colour plants tend to die after the first frost; as soon as this happens dig them up and add them to your compost heap. There are some plants which can be used that will look good during the autumn and winter months to provide colour such as pansies, polyanthus, primula, viola and wallflowers.
How to Use Bedding Plants
- Planting a whole bed for colour.
- Filling in gaps between young plants and shrubs in borders.
- Hanging baskets, containers and window boxes.
Choosing Your Bedding Plants
- Decide your colour scheme and the effect you want to achieve, instant patches of colour or the whole bed.
- You also need to consider how big the plants grow, the patterns and contrasting colours.
- When buying plants, buy from a reputable garden centre or nursery and always choose ones which look bushy and healthy and avoid the withered or droopy ones in dry compost.
Planting summer bedding plants should only be considered when the danger of frost has passed. From middle to end of May is usually considered safe.
How to Plant Bedding Plants
- Don’t plant them in extreme heat or dry periods and water the new plants thoroughly while still in their pots before planting into beds or containers.
- Ensure the planting area is weed free and forked over the area thoroughly.
- Dig a hole larger than the root ball of the plant and water the hole. Ease the plant out its pot or tray disturbing the roots as little as possible then gently push the plant into the hole and firm the surrounding soil.
- Place tall plants to the rear and compact or edging plants at the front of your bed but be careful not to overcrowd them – some can grow quite large.
- If your bedding plants come in pots made from peat then the pot should be planted as well because the roots will grow through them.
- After planting, sprinkle a little general fertiliser lightly round the plants and water in well.
- Bedding plants in pots, containers, hanging baskets and wall-mounted trays should be filled with good quality potting compost containing water-retentive gels and slow-release fertiliser.
Looking After Your Bedding Plants
- To help bedding plants bloom over a long period, pick off any dead blooms to encourage new flowers.
- Feed every week or so with a liquid fertiliser,
- Keep the area between the plants free from weeds which steal nutrients and water and can smother bedding plants.
- Watering is best carried out in the evening to allow the plants and soil to absorb the moisture before the sun burns it off.
- During hot weather hanging baskets require watering more than once a day.
- If bedding plants become infected with greenfly or other pests, spray with an insecticide following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Slugs and snails can be controlled with pellets or remedies available from your garden centre.