IF you fancy a quality display of bedding for the summer, you should be starting to sow early annuals like begonia semperflorens
, sweet peas, and tobacco plants.
Alternatives include Begonia semperflorens
, reliable in sun or shade, with a tight tidy habit.
Think of the dainty and low growing Begonia semperflorens
and then think of it 10 times larger - that is about the sum of Begonia Big.
Most homes will have at least representative of the Genus, even if it is only a few Begonia semperflorens
planted up in a container for summer colour.
The hardwearing ceramic tile floor has four squares filled with sparkling white gravel which are a foil for dark-leaved Begonia semperflorens
These are the large-flowered varieties that grow from tubers, not to be confused with other types such as Begonia semperflorens
which have small red, pink and white flowers and fibrous roots, those with beautiful coloured and patterned leaves, like Begonia rex , or the tall, spotted-leaved Begonia coccinea , with delicate, cascading flowers.
That said, I'm always keen on saving what I can around the garden and if you're on a tight budget there's nothing wrong with potting up plants such as the begonia semperflorens
SOW a selection of annuals for flowering later in the year, cineraria, begonia semperflorens
, coleus and impatiens from around now in cold frames.
Small seed is hard to sow especially dust-like seeds such as begonia semperflorens
, at 70,000 seeds a gram, or lobelia at 25,000 a gramme.
For containers and flower beds or borders, my favourite plants are Ageratum (fluffy mauve-blue flowers on short stems), Antirrhinums (snap-dragons for children - dead head for the best performance), Begonia semperflorens
(summer long masses of red, white and pink flowers), Cleome (the spider flower to give height to a display), Dianthus (choose a good one to add scent to the display), Gaillardia (for those really hot, sunny patios), Bedding Pelargoniums (sold as Geraniums - superb flower colours), Lobelia (huge variety of flower colours to act as a background to other bolder plants, Bedding Nemesia (annuals that flower their heads off), Nicotiana (scented flowers in their thousands).
SOW Begonia semperflorens
, snapdragons, lobelia and African marigolds to provide plants for summer-flowering patio pots.
Their cousins, Begonia semperflorens
, the fibrous-rooted species with small, red, pink or white flowers and often bronze leaves are not as spectacular but make excellent carpet bedding.
The fibrous rooted Begonia semperflorens
has been a popular bedding plant for many years and, because it is unaffected by any pests or diseases, can flower all summer long, without anything other than good watering and feeding - it doesn't even need dead-heading
Depending on whether you can provide suitable warmth, sow tuberous begonias like the variety Non-Stop from December to February, and Begonia semperflorens
from January to March, for a display until the first autumn frosts.
, the type with numerous small flowers and fibrous roots, is treated like an annual - sown for flowering the same year, then discarded - because it is too tender to survive winter outdoors.