Plant of the Month: Petunias

Petunias have been one of the most popular summer-flowering annuals for many years. Their popularity is due to their several desirable traits. They’re easy to grow, reliable bloomers and are available in a wide range of patterns and colours. With a flowering time from June all the way through to October, Petunias are guaranteed to liven up your garden all through the summer time. Their many varieties range from beautiful border varieties to stunning trailing hanging basket partners. Here are some of our favourites.

Petunias make excellent patio, bedding and border plants. Producing wonderfully bright flowers with beautiful markings and contrasting colours, these versatile flowers will make a showstopping display in any garden.

Petunia Duo Mixed

With rippling double blooms in shades of rosy-pink, coral, white and bi-coloured raspberry and white, these sweetly coloured Petunias are ideal for adding beautiful long-lasting clusters of colour to your borders and containers all summer long. UK-grown Garden Ready Plug plants supplied.

 

Petunia Crazytunia Moonstruck

This new versatile variety of Petunia produces vibrant bi-coloured flowers that will add an impact to any summer basket, border or container display. The large blooms have sunny yellow centres that gradually fade in to a deep purple edging around the outer petals. UK-grown 3cm diameter plug plants supplied.

Petunia Crazytunia Collection

Our beautiful collection of bi-coloured Petunias are the ideal plants for brightening up your summer garden.  The collection of 12 includes 3 each of Cosmic Purple (purple), Knight Rider (purple/cream), Maniac Lilac (white/lilac) and Cosmic Moonstruck (purple/yellow). UK-grown 3cm diameter plug plants supplied.

 

Bright, bold and bursting with life, these elegant trailing Petunias are the perfect partner for summer hanging baskets. These trailing varieties will reward you with masses of bright colour all summer long.

Petunia Tumbelina Anna

This unique trailing Petunia produces double, ruffled hot pink flowers with a thick pale pink band around the edge. These prolific flowering blooms also have a pretty deep pink veining and a beautiful fragrance, which makes this variety a delight in summer hanging baskets. UK-grown 3cm diameter jumbo plug plants supplied.

Petunia tumbelina double Mix

Petunia Tumbelina is a very distinctive variety. Their large, double ruffled blooms are a perfect solution for adding a dose of colour to your summer baskets. This highly fragrant trailing Petunia can even be planted in window boxes and containers for endless display possibilities. UK-grown 3cm jumbo plug plants supplied.

Petunia purple flash

Does a mass of magenta purple flowers sound like something for you? Petunia Purple Flash will add a splash of vibrancy to your summer displays with their distinctive star-shaped white marking at the centre of their purple petals. These hardy blooms are guaranteed for months of enjoyment. UK-grown 3cm jumbo plug plants supplied.

Planting

Here is our guide for planting these popular annual flowers.

Borders

  • Preferably plant in full sun, but partial shade will keep them refreshed in the heat of summer.
  • Use a light, fertile soil that provides good drainage.
  • Plant in a good-sized hole that can easily accommodate the plant.
  • Add a layer of organic matter (compost) to the base of the hole and fork it in.
  • Give the plants a weekly deep watering.
  • Use a liquid fertilizer every two to three weeks.

Hanging Baskets

  • Preferably plant in full sun, but partial shade will keep them refreshed in the heat of summer.
  • Use a sturdy container with at least one drainage hole.
  • Fill the container with a lightweight potting mix to promote healthy drainage.
  • Mix a slow-release fertilizer into the potting soil.
  • Water daily and deeply, then let the pot drain. (Water the soil and not the foliage.
  • Weekly, feed with a water-soluble fertilizer.

Video Tutorials

Petunia Frenzy

Complete Guide: How to Plant Fuchsias

 

Fuchsias, with their fairy-like blooms hanging from rich, green foliage have long been a popular staple in the British summer garden. In fact, the popularity of the Fuchsia is such that there is even a national society for them, The British Fuchsia Society. They are easy to grow and maintain, plus they provide brightly coloured summer to autumn displays in hanging baskets, containers or patio pots.

Background:

Although widely used in British gardens, the Fuchsia is native to South and Central America as well as other countries with tropical and sub-tropical climates like New Zealand and Tahiti. Renowned French botanist Charles Plumier is recognised for first coming across the much-loved Fuchsia plant during an exhibition to the Caribbean in the late 1690’s, Plumier named it Fuchsia after German Physician and botanist, Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566). Fuchs is credited as creating the first medicinal botanical garden in Germany which he used for teaching his medical students.

Why choose Fuchsia:

Fuchsia have a great many attributes, the greatest among them being that once planted and established they can thrive in the British climate for years with minimal amount of care, here are a few more reasons why the Fuchsia is so popular:

  • Approximately 2,000 varieties of Fuchsia in the UK which come in a range of sizes and colour combinations
  • You don’t need many plug plants to achieve a fulsome and vibrant display
  • They are prolific flowering and will bloom from summer through to autumn in partially shaded locations or in full sun
  • Their pendulous blooms are perfect in trailing hanging baskets, containers and in patio pots
  • Climbing Fuchsias can cover arches and trellis’s easily, they can even be used to disguise unsightly fences or sheds

Types of Fuchsia:

Fuchsia are usually grouped into three categories: hardy, upright or trailing. A common trait to all types of Fuchsia is how the pendulous flower-heads will bloom with the outer petal peeling back to reveal the inner petals, formed in a bell-like shape. Often the colour or shade of the outer petals will be different the inner ones; giving the blooms their fairy-like appearance. Fuchsia come in a range of sizes and colours: pinks, purples, whites red and oranges in all manner of shades and combinations.

Hardy:

A range of bushy and, as implied, hardy varieties. Once established they can be left to the British weather all year round. However, it worth considering which part of the UK you are based in. Sub-tropical Cornwall’s Fuchsias will certainly have no issues, but it may well be worth covering up or taking more Northern based Fuchsia’s inside during frosty spells. Pinch the new shoots to encourage bushy and profuse flowering.

Upright:

Upright, Bush or climbing Fuchsias can be trained into wonderful shapes. They look particularly effective when trained over an archway. The beautiful, often pendant-shaped flowers are a delight coming in in shades of pink, white and purple. Our bedding range of Fuchsia plants includes upright varieties that are ideal for pots, containers and the summer border as well as some amazing climbing Fuchsias.

Trailing:

This variety of Fuchsia is perfect for hanging basket displays and in potted displays, trailing elegantly over hanging the edges. This type is more sensitive to frosts and should be brought in during cold weather snaps. You can even get a giant variety of trailing Fuchsia which look especially effective with their ample, larger sized pendulous flower-heads.

Climbing:

These vigorous hardy climbing Fuchsias produce abundant flowers along upright climbing stems throughout the summer through to October. With a little support they will rapidly climb up arches, fences and trellis and are ideal for large pots or containers on the patio.

Click here to shop our full range of Fuchsia

How to plant Fuchsia:

  1. Plant your Hardy Fuchsias in spring or autumn. Other varieties should be planted once all danger of frosts has passed in early to mid spring.
  2. We recommended using John Innes No2 compost when planting up your Fuchsia, avoid composts that are too peaty. In pots or baskets, three plugs will give an ample and effective display. The compost doesn’t need to be tightly compacted in your chosen container, Fuchsia do well with good drainage. If planting in a border display, space 30-40 cm apart.
  3. Once planted, water once a week. Take care to keep them moist but not waterlogged. Start by feeding them once a week. To encourage more blooms on your Fuchsia, feed with a high potash liquid feed and dead head fading flowers regularly.
  4. Fuchsia can be placed in a partially shaded or sunny location; however, they will appreciate partial shade during in the heat of the day during the summer months.
  5. It’s worth checking your Fuchsias over for pests and insects. The Fuchsia gall mite is one to keep an eye out for. Although the pest is not frequently or widely reported in the UK, the past ten years has seen this Fuchsia munching pest in gardens along the south coast and in some northern counties too. A little vigilance goes a long way in deterring the mite and harsh chemical treatments are not necessary. Simply check over your Fuchsia, remove and burn any damaged shoots, especially if they appear a yellowish-green or swollen and distorted.
  6. Prune back in spring just before new growths appear. With Hardy Fuchsia it’s best to prune back to ground level.

Click here to shop our full range of Fuchsia

Gardening Jobs for May

Summer bedding plants

Mid-to-late May is the best time to plant out summer bedding plants. Prepare the soil and use some organic compost to fertilize the soil ready for the new bedding. You do need to keep an eye on the long term weather forecast when doing this, as a late strong frost can put pay to your hard work. You can keep plants in the greenhouse until the weather improves and move them out towards the end of the month. Just make sure they’re well watered and the greenhouse is well aired, vented and shaded during the day so that these plants don’t over heat in warm weather. The same rules apply for hanging baskets. You can plant these from April onwards, but until the last sign of frost has passed you may want to protect them in the greenhouse. If you don’t have one, hold off planting until the end of May. Line your basket well and add a fertilizer rich compost soil. There are plenty of varieties to choose from but trailing plants work well for covering the sides of your basket. Water well, add fertilizer weekly and keep any eye out for pests!

Tidy up

You may find you need to clip any hedging and topiary now to keep its shape neat and tidy. The warmer weather will also mean regular mowing of the lawn will be a necessity now and through the summer months. Once a week should be sufficient, keep on top this and your garden will look tidy all summer!

Deal with weeds

As the temperatures rise your prized plants will spring to life, but unfortunately so will any unwanted weeds! Pull up any seedlings and dig out perennial weeds with a fork to try and get rid of any roots. Time and effort spent on these perennial weeds will benefit not only your borders but also your lawn, as May is the ideal time to identify those nasty dandelions and deal with them.

Pond

If you have a pond, pond weed is equally important to deal with and should be removed regularly before it becomes too difficult to manage and harmful to pond life. Make sure you leave any weeds by the side of the pond for a good while before removing just in case any pond life is hiding there!May is a great time to begin stocking ponds with fish, just make sure any aquatic plants have established first.

Keep an eye on growth

Many growing plants may need your attention this month, add plenty of feed to keep them happy. Tall perennials may need trellis and support as they start to grow to keep them straight and upright.It is also important to tie up your clematis to control their climbing in the direction you would like them to grow. For rambling roses, try and tie as horizontal as possible as this will restrict the flow of sap and increase side shoots, thus causing more flowers. Spring flowered Montana type clematis need pruning after flowering to keep them tidy.

Click here to view the full May Gardening Job List!

Planting Begonias: Summer Containers & Baskets

With March having arrived and with the weather finally beginning to warm up a little, it is now time to begin putting our gardening plans into action for the summer. Bluebells have sprung in abundance, Snowdrops are as reliably present as ever and the sight of the beloved Daffodil in the past few weeks has offered much encouragement to us gardeners (in a year were we have seen unusually high levels of rainfall earlier this year).

Spring is always one of our favourite seasons and equally one of the busiest, let’s get planting and let’s get preparing!
Each year in our own garden we love to test and trial new varieties and introductions, it keeps things new and interesting for us, but our garden is never without one of our most popular and best-selling summer flowering plants of all time – Begonias. The versatility, vibrancy of colour and relative inexpensiveness of Begonias, especially when grown for tubers, make them a must for the garden this summer and for many years to come. Whether grown for hanging baskets where they can trail beautifully or for containers and troughs where upright varieties will provide character and charm, please consider these perennial plants, we hope you will agree that once tried that you will find them difficult to ignore in the future.

A reliable, star attraction

Non Stop Begonia
Non Stop Begonia

Begonias, part of the Begoniacea family. have been around for many years and although some varieties can be grown indoors, typically here in Britain they have become one of our most commonly grown summer flowering perennials outdoors. Begonias, named by the famous botanist Charles Plumier, are well worthy if their place in the garden, flowering continuously through the summer months, often right up until the first frosts of autumn.

Growing Begonias from quality tubers helps improve results, they are very reliable and can easily be lifted and stored indoors over winter, then replanted the following spring for continued flowering.We only supply the best grade tubers possible to offer you the best results. They are simple to plant, care for and the high level of results they achieve make them an easy choice when growing Begonias.
Fill your hanging baskets with cascading Begonias

Begonia splendide geel/oranje
Begonia splendide Apricot

When looking to fill your summer hanging baskets we often look to traditional trailing plants such as Surfinia, Million Bells and trailing Geraniums. A superb way of mixing things up while still achieving excellent blooms is to try some trailing Begonias.Cascading or Pendula Begonias produce giant sized flowers through the summer months and are easy to plant on arrival. Ideal for hanging baskets mounted to the wall or for containers raised of ground level. For the largest blooms possible try growing on the Giant Exhibition sized 5/6cm tubers, guaranteed to produce up to 100% larger double flowers from each tuber. Chosen and used by the professionals at most garden shows and in large country homes, they are certainly worth that little extra money.

You can add a touch of fragrance to your trailing baskets with our range of Begonia Odorata tubers, which come in a range of colours. You can choose from ‘Odorata Red Glory’, ‘Odorata Pink Delight’ or the hard to ignore classic white ‘Odorata Angelique’. For the premium ‘Shower Bouquet’ effect we recommend the Balcony Begonia Collection, Gold and Pink ruffled edged petals, with a gentle cascading habit. Mix together for a wonderful blend as illustrated.

Try planting three 5/6cm tubers into an average hanging basket, in moist compost for a display that will cascade beautifully over the edges. Begonias are great lovers of moisture and during dry weather they should be watered in the early morning or the evening.

Give your patio pots and containers a splash of colour

Begonia Multiflora Melange
Begonia Multiflora

The versatility of Begonias makes them great for the patio as well as in flower beds. By growing in pots and containers around the garden you can easily add a dash of colour, while having the added benefit of being able to move them around if the need arises. You can choose more compact and upright varieties which can be grown in pots, such as Double Flowering Begonias or for larger blooms with serrated edges why not opt for Fimbriata Begonias, a perfect choice for troughs on a windowsill.Non stop Begonias are compact enough for this but also are quite vigorous growers, so can virtually flower constantly through the entire summer, non-stop as the name suggests. Reaching heights of only 20cm they are great for the front of a border, with some Dahlias or Gladioli towering over them.One of our favourite varieties to grow in pots are the often ignored, but impossible to forget once you grow them yourself, ‘Maxima Switzerland’. The truly sensational dark leaves contrast effectively with the scarlet red flowers. A real treat for the container! ‘Bertinii Skaugman’ will offer your some of the most surprisingly large sized plants possible from a single tuber. ‘Flamboyant’ produces small flowers, but more than makes up for that by the abundance in which they appear.

Begonia fimbriata mixed
Begonia fimbriata mixed

Some top tips for success with Begonias 1. Begonia tubers may be started into growth from February onwards. The easiest way is to put them into shallow boxes containing a mixture of loam, leaf mould and sand. Meanwhile, prepare the potting soil.
Good top soil mixed with one-sixth part of manure should form the basis. To this prepared soil add leaf mould in a proportion of 1 part leaf mould to 3 of loam and enough sand to make a fairly porous compost. Soot and bonemeal added to the compost will be appreciated. As soon as the shoots of the tubers are about 2cm long pot them up in 15cm pots and place them into larger pots as the roots reach the sides of the pot.

2. Plant in full sun or partial shaded areas. The more access to sun, the more vibrant the colours will be.

3. You can feed once every two weeks with a high potassium up until the blooms begin to fade.

4. Make sure they are watered regularly during the summer and that the soil is not allowed to dry out. Begonias love moisture and will use up quite a lot during the hotter spells in the summer.

5. Lift tubers after flowering has finished and the leaves have begun to turn yellow. Store in a dry, cool (but frost-free) location over the winter. Store in soil that is only a little moist and keep this a little moist over the winter (with irregular watering) to keep the tubers from drying out.