Caring for Summer Bedding
Summer bedding plants can really make your garden come alive during the summer months.
Normally bedding plants are annuals, which means you can refresh your garden with a new palette of colour every year and experiment with new planting combinations.
To get the best out of your summer bedding, we have written some easy care intructions to keep your hanging baskets and flower beds looking great all season.
1. THE RIGHT PLANT FOR THE RIGHT PLACE
When choosing your summer bedding, make sure you already have a spot in mind and do not plant until after the chance of frost has gone, as this can damage your bedding plants badly.
If you have a container in full sun with good drainage, this would be perfect for Proven Winners Supertunias, Superbells and Osteospermums etc. If you have a shadier spot keep this in mind and choose something that does well in shade, like a Proven Winners Shadowdancer Fuchsia. If you have got the right plant for the right place, you will already have a great head start.
Summer bedding plants normally work best in a sunny spot with good drainage, like in a raised flower bed, container, pot, or hanging basket.
Think about what colour scheme you would like to use, you can always try using a recipe from the Summer Livin' range if you need some inspiration.
When planting summer bedding for the first time, soak the root ball in water until the bubbles stop, and then allow it to drain before planting.
Ensure the area you are planting in is free from weeds.
Mix your compost with slow release fertiliser pellets and water retentive gels if using, otherwise you will need to water with a fertiliser once a week. If you're using slow release fertiliser make sure you check the packaging so that you know how long it will last for, and when you need to start fertilising again. Always follow the incorporation rates on the fertiliser packaging.
Dig a hole big enough for all of the roots to sit comfortably in, it needs to be slightly deeper and wider than the root ball, and then water the hole. Tap the plant out of its pot, being careful not to damage the roots. Place it in the hole, and press down the soil around the plant so that it's firm. Repeat until you have completed planting all of your plants, then give them another water.
3. WATER, WATER AND MORE WATER
Bedding plants, especially those in pots, could need watering every day in the heat of summer, and hanging baskets might even need quenching twice a day. The foliage of many bedding plants acts as an umbrella, so even after rain, always check the soil around the plant to see if it still needs watering.
Bedding needs regular feeding to help produce flowers and last longer. Most composts that you can buy for bedding have a limited amount of food in them, which means that your bedding plants will start to get hungry after a few weeks of planting. You need to add nutrients to the soil to keep the bedding at its best. You can water about once per week with a fertiliser, like tomato feed which contains lots of potassium, or you can add a slow release fertiliser to your compost when you plant the bedding.
Some bedding plants need deadheading, others take care of themselves and drop their own flowers. If they do require this, little and often deadheading will encourage new blooms, and stop your plants wasting energy producing seeds. Pinch off or use a sharp pair of secateurs to snip off dead flower heads and encourage new flushes of blooms.
Ensure you maintain the area around your bedding plants to keep it free from weeds.
Keep an eye out for pests that might attack your bedding, many anti pest sprays are available from local garden centres.
Slugs and snails often take a liking to summer bedding plants, and your local garden centre will sell many remedies to choose from.