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Get Colour Crazy

Our most popular pansy - Yellow FaceIt's time to colour in for the new seasons ahead. By planting in mid autumn your Pansies, Primulas and more will have an advantage over later planted ones because the warmer weather will help them to grow bigger and then produce more flowers. Pansies are our most popular in South Africa for instant colour but don't forget things like Dianthus or Calendulas for just as pretty a display.

Did you know that one Pansy plant will have well over 600 flowers? No wonder we love them so much. Some new hybrids get over 800 flowers per plant over its lifetime.

Bedding plants need a lot less attention in winter provided they get planted into soil that is well prepared. Compost is the basis of any good planting regime and should be added liberally. Compost improves the aeration of the soil encourages earthworms and also helps to retain moisture, important as we head into drier winter months.

Added to the planting a handful of BioGanic organic fertiliser. After planting mulch the soil with a bit more compost and you're ready to go!

One often hears about the three P's for winter gardens. They are the most popular and rewarding winter bedding plants but by no means all there is to choose from.

Poppies tower above the rest of the bedding plants Who can resist Pansies?

 

In full sun spots towering above the rest grow some poppies. Poppies are special because they attract bees to the garden. The same as we help feed the birds in winter it is important to consider planting to encourage bees. More and more reports are coming out on the plight of bees and we are all becoming more aware of the importance of bees in the environment as part of our food production.

Plant poppies in the most sun you can. They will grow in a bit of shade but flowering is best when they get sun. Once in, nip out the first couple of flowers so that the strength goes into the plant and it grows stronger. Once the poppies start to flower keep more flowers coming by dead-heading them as much as possible. This will keep them in full flower longer. Poppies are also great cut flowers. To make them last longer in the vase dip the newly cut stem in a bit of boiling water and then straight into the vase.

Pansies grow the best in full day sunPansies and Violas are a must in the winter and spring garden flowering for months on end. Planted anytime from autumn through to spring they will be in flower well into October and even early November making them incredible value for money. Pansies through winter want full sun to most of the day sun to perform at their best. If you give then to much shade they will produce fewer flowers through the coldest months and only provide a mass show at the end of spring.
TIP: Keep your winter pansies slightly on the dry side and keep dead-heading them to produce more flowers.

Violas look just like pansies but have a smaller flower. Violas are for semi-shade and have the added fun element that their flowers are often fragrant and make a pretty addition to salads and on top of cupcakes for lazy winter afternoon high teas.

Primulas and Primroses are our recommendation for shady garden beds or containers. The Primulas are available in white and shades of purple and last for months in well prepared soil. It is especially important to prepare the soil well for Primulas if you are planting them under trees. The past summer would have had the trees take all the extra food out the soil. Plant them with BioGanic and Bone Meal and then keep them well watered. Feed them with Multifeed Classic regularly to get the best show over the next few months.

Fairy Primulas are great for full shade English Primroses are perfect for containers

Primroses look like giant buttons and grow flat. Plant them in light shade where you can look at them from close up. Perfect for a shady patio container or along a pathway you use every day.

Choosing winter bedding plants is so much more fun than for summer as there are so many more to choose from and there are more colours and mixes to in each variety. If you don't have much space winter plantings are fun to mix up and experiment with, so this year plant some combos in the pots and around the garden for a cheerful uplifting display.

Idea: Under plant your bedding plants with Bulbs. That way you get a layered display of colour that changes as spring get here.