During summer, flower beds will become a riot of colour whilst containers and hanging baskets should be overflowing with summer bedding. Summer bedding plants can instantly lift a dull spot in the garden but in order to get the best out of your plants they will need more care and maintenance than any other plant in your garden.
The most important things to remember when tending to your summer bedding plants are watering, feeding and deadheading.
Summer bedding plants cannot be allowed to dry out completely. A few hours in hot sunshine can be enough to wilt your plants beyond rescue so you will need to be vigilant and water regularly.
In the height of summer, bedding plants, especially those in pots will need to be watered every day. Water thoroughly and make sure the water is absorbed by the compost and doesn’t just drain away. Even after bouts of heavy rain, it will be surprising how little water will reach the compost as the foliage of your plants can act as an umbrella.
In order to guarantee the best results you will have to feed your plants regularly throughout summer. Most compost for bedding will already contain a limited amount of fertiliser. However, within a few weeks of planting the level of nutrients will have been depleted and your plants will be hungry. You will need to add more nutrients to improve your plants flowering and encourage strong growth. A fertiliser that contains high levels of potassium e.g. tomato feed is ideal and can be applied about once a week. Alternatively you can add a slow release fertiliser to your compost which will gradually dissolve and release feed into your compost gradually over several months.
As the flowers of bedding plants fade it is important to deadhead by pinching out the old flowers. A flowers purpose is for the eventual production of seeds for reproduction. Once the flower begins to set seed it will divert all its energy into seed production and will stop producing flowers. By deadheading the blooms as they fade, the plant will have to redirect its energy back into the production of flowers to once again try and produce seeds. This allows a gardener to enjoy a continuous display throughout summer. In addition to encouraging plants to produce more flowers, deadheading will also help to keep your garden looking neater and tidier as faded blooms look unattractive and messy.
Summer bedding plants work hard to produce magnificent displays of flowers and can easily wear themselves out after a short time if left to their own devices. By following these simple steps you will not only ensure your plants survival but you will keep them flowering right through till the end of summer and up to the first frosts.