We are on the cusp of summer so let’s take a look at some of the best summer bedding plants. If you want to add some instant colour to your beds, hanging baskets, and containers, the following plants are an excellent choice!
Geraniums are very popular summer bedding plants and come in a range of bright colours. A well looked after geranium will last for many years, at the end of the flowering season, before the first frost, you can lift your plants and bring them indoors for some TLC. If you are planting your geraniums outdoors, they like full sunshine and sandy, well-drained soil.
Marigolds are a wonderful touch of bright sunshine in a garden. Marigolds flower from late spring until the first frost of the autumn. There are many different types, but all have flowers ranging from yellow, red-gold to copper/brass colours. The have a fragrance and can help keep blackfly off veg plants. Marigolds love the full sun, but they don’t mind some shade. Water regularly in hot weather and if your marigolds are planted in containers.
There are over 2,000 species of begonias! Generally you will only find half a dozen on offer in garden centres. Wax begonias are the most common bedding plants, and these will happily grow in containers, hanging baskets, and beds. Look for a location with partial shade, as begonias don’t like full sun and too much heat, although some are more tolerant of the sun than others. Trim back your begonias as they begin to yellow and die. The tubers can be stored in a dry place over winter once lifted from the soil. Non-stop begonias have beautiful large blooms and flower all summer and look great in containers and baskets.
Petunias come in lots of different pastel shades and are an attractive addition to hanging baskets, containers, and window boxes as they grow up, out, and down. Plant petunias in a sunny location, as they like lots of sunlight, and full sun means your plants will produce more flowers. Feed and water petunias weekly, but if yours are planted in a hanging basket or container, they will need more water, especially during hot weather. Deadhead petunias as they grow, but make sure you remove the dead flowers at the base, so no seeds are left behind. Otherwise, the plant will stop producing flowers. Petunia flowers are thin and don’t stand up well to lots of rain so they can look a bit sad if we have a prolonged wet period.
Cosmos plants are really easy to grow and their lovely textural foliage adds an extra dimension to flower beds. They range from 60-100cm tall, taller varieties of cosmos are best planted at the back of flower beds and they may need staking to avoid collapsing in wet and windy weather. Use your summer cosmos as a screen to hide an unsightly fence or old shed. They also don’t mind hot, dry weather.
The popular name for Antirrhinums is snapdragons. These plants are easy to grow and suit a cottage garden vibe. Bees love them, so consider adding them to your plant choice. They will certainly brighten it up! Snapdragons like a sunny location and well-drained soil. To ensure your Antirrhinums keep on flowering all summer long, keep them well watered and feed weekly with a fertiliser rich in potash. Make sure you remove dead flowers regularly, too.
Fuchsias add a touch of vibrant colour to hanging baskets, and containers. Fuchsias like a sunny location, but they will still thrive in partial shade. Plant your fuchsias in early summer and they will produce blooms until the first frost. If you plant fuchsias in containers, use a loam-based compost or peat-free multi-purpose compost. Water your plants regularly until they are established. Thereafter, they won’t need much water unless it’s really hot. An occasional feed will perk up plants that are not growing as well as you hoped.
Surfinias are a type of hanging petunias. They are ideal for hanging baskets and produce an array of small bell-shaped flowers. Surfinias are ideal if you have window boxes, balconies, and raised decks, as in full bloom they produce a trailing cascade of beautiful flowers. The can trail down a metre or more. They prefer a sunny location and rich soil. Use a light soil mix in hanging baskets. Be sure to remove dead and dying flowers regularly, as this promotes further blooms. The spread well and make quite a lot of root so don’t plant too many in each basket or container. Usually 4 is enough for the average basket.
Trailing bacopa is a very attractive summer flowing plant, that is excellent for providing groundcover. It is happy in sunny locations or partial shade, and the low growing species of bacopa will cover walls and areas beneath taller plants quickly. Bacopa plants produce flowers in a range of shades, including; white, red, lavender, pink, and blue. White is generally the most popular and is a good addition to a hanging bracket with blue and pink.
Lobelia is easy to grow and will produce pretty small flowers all summer. The most common colour is a vibrant violet-blue, but there are some varieties of lobelia that produce pink, red, and white flowers. Lobelia plants like full sun but will cope with partial shade, and also rich soil. Water them frequently in hot, dry weather.
We have a fine selection of bedding plants at Carpenter’s Nursery, so come and take a look! If you need any advice on which plants will suit a particular location, ask one of the team. We are always happy to help.