Focus on summer bedding plants

There are wonderfully colourful bedding plants suitable for all aspects of the garden. Generally, most prefer plenty of sunshine, but there are many which will be quite happy in more shaded areas, especially in the heat of the summer.

Geraniums benefit most from the sunniest summers. With their fleshy stems, they are less prone to wilting between waterings. Ivy leaf geraniums are the trailing varieties which are ideal for window boxes, hanging baskets and raised troughs. Gazania are like mini-sunflowers so will also be happy in hot conditions. These are ideal if you are not able to water regularly or they are in a difficult-to-reach position. Petunias and surfinia love the sun, but are more temperamental if they are not watered frequently, almost daily. Who can resist nemesia with their heady scent? They look delicate but will give 2 to 3 months of colour if they are given enough space.

Many other bedding plants will benefit from and thrive in very bright conditions, such as osteospermum, nicotiana, and lobelia. The latter is the most popular addition to hanging baskets with its plentiful waterfalls of colour during the summer. Fuchsias will also dazzle in their trailing varieties and will even look stunning growing in a basket en masse without other plants.

For shade, bedding begonias, which are small and bushy, together with their larger cousins the non-stop large-headed begonias will reward you for the less sunny position. Bedding busy lizzie and the enormous New Guinea Impatiens are also happier without the scorching sun, so are ideal for a North-facing wall or garden.

As ever, regular liquid feeding and dead-heading will hugely improve results.

David Hogg

Buckland Nurseries

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