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Flowers : Spring Bedding

UsesPlant raising | Planting | Aftercare for spring bedding

Uses

Spring bedding plants can be used in the same ways as summer bedding, namely, in flower beds, in containers, as ‘spots’ of colour between shrubs and border perennials, and even as pot plants, for example, polyanthus and bachelors buttons.

Spring bedding used in hanging baskets is prone to damage by severe winter weather. The baskets should be hung in a sheltered position, or left on the ground in a bright spot until spring.

Plant raising

The seeds are sown in late May or early June in seed trays of good compost, or outdoors in a good seedbed. Water the seed-bed, if necessary, in dry weather. When the seedlings are about 5 centimetres high, lift them, and carefully transplant them to a nursery bed, at a spacing of 20 centimetres each way. Water them if they show any signs of wilting. Protect wallflowers and stocks from cabbage root fly.

Planting

In October or November, when summer bedding has been removed, dig over the ground, incorporating some organic material. Rake in some general fertiliser at 70 grams per square metre. Plant spring bedding at a spacing of about 30 – 40 centimetres apart.

Spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils are planted when the other plants are in place. They are planted from 15 – 30 centimetres apart. Ground for spring bedding must not get waterlogged – the organic material will help drainage.

Aftercare for spring bedding

Remove any weeds that appear. Firm the plants if they are loosened by the wind. After flowering finishes, in late May, spring bedding is usually discarded to make way for summer bedding plants.

Polyanthus and bachelors buttons can be lifted and planted elsewhere until planting time again. Daffodils and tulips can be lifted and lined out in shallow – 10 centimetres deep –trenches until the foliage dies off when they can be lifted and stored in brown paper bags or boxes until autumn.

If only a few brompton stocks or pansies were planted intermittently for ‘spot’ colour, these can be left to give some flower into the summer. Even wallflowers can be treated as a small shrubby plant, left in position for a few years – only trim off the seed-heads.

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