Time to get planting bedding plants
Get planting bedding plants now and you’ll be certain of a great show this summer!
What are bedding plants?
Bedding plants are usually annuals.
They are grown from seed each year and can be bought in pots or trays. They add an immediate splash of colour to your garden, doorstep or balcony. Planting a swathe of bedding plants gives instant drama to your garden!
You can use bedding plants to fill the gaps between perennials and shrubs in mixed borders. Or perhaps plant up a whole flower beds for that immediate wow factor!
Bedding plants are also essential for a great show in containers, hanging baskets, pots or window boxes.
Because they are temporary you can change your displays every season.
Remember that bedding plants can provide much of your winter colour too. More on that here.
They provide some of the most prolific and colourful flowers available. And they grow very rapidly too! In addition they have dependable growth patterns and flower over a very long period.
Finally they are great value for money!
If you get planting bedding plants now you’ll have a great show of colour in next to no time.
Choosing bedding plants
The range of bedding plants is huge.
The most common are pansies, primroses, busy lizzies (Impatiens), marigolds, geraniums and begonias.
Plants that are perennial in warmer climates can be grown as annuals in colder climates.
Half hardy annuals are those that can handle frost, but can’t survive extremely cold winter weather, such as Osteospermum, snapdragons (Antirrhinum) and even Pelargonium. Incidentally Pelargonium is what we often call geranium and it’s a top favourite for pots and containers. You can get planting bedding plants of this type right away.
There are several hardy annuals that tolerate frost. The most familiar ones are winter pansies and violas. These are great for your flower-boxes and containers.
How are bedding plants grown
Most bedding plants are relatively easy to grow from seed. In most garden centres and online you will find a wide range of seeds. You’ll also be able to buy what you need to grow bedding plants there too. You’ll probably need pots, trays, compost, dibbers and labels.
You don’t necessarily need a greenhouse or propagator to germinate most annual seeds. Simply covering a seed tray or pot with a polythene bag and placing it on a window-ledge is a good method.
But some of the smaller seeds can be hard to grow. Also not everyone has the time to sow their own so buying bedding plants as seedlings or plug plants is popular.
Seedlings come with only a couple of leaves whereas plug plants are more mature.
Both need potting on before planting outside.
You can buy baby bedding plants as plug plants and I’ve written about them here. And more on plug plants here too. The company Kinder Garden Plants probably has the best range of plants.
Trays of older plants and individual plants in pots come in many different sizes. These can be used straight away to plant into a border or container.
These more mature plants are often already in flower. The advantage with these is that you can see exactly what you are buying and can create an immediate show.
Hardening off bedding plants
Plant summer flowering bedding plants in the spring but after all danger of frost has passed.
Bear in mind that they will be on sale before frost-free weather can be guaranteed. If bought early then they will need to be kept in a cool, light and airy place until the weather is right for planting them out.
Pot plug plants into individual pots so that they are bigger before they are planted outside. Always water them first and try not to touch the stems as you do this. Bruising the stems can cause damage.
Keep them in a greenhouse or cool, light room for a while. Do water them regularly. When these are bigger harden them off outside or in a cold frame. This acclimatization or hardening off period will take a couple of weeks before it’s safe to plant out.
Bedding plants are almost maintenance free. Just dead-head [remove spent blooms] regularly before seeds form. This will encourage a longer blooming cycle.
When plants become straggly and untidy cut them back or pinch out the tips to encourage new, bushy growth.
To get the largest blooms with the brightest colours keep plants well fed and watered. This is especially important for those planted in containers.
I hope that this has inspired you to get planting bedding plants for a great display in your garden this summer!