Spring: Tips to bring colour your gar­den

Lesotho Times - - Property -

PLANT­ING petu­nias and bel­lis is very re­ward­ing, and these at­trac­tive bloomers are ideal com­pan­ions for busy home­own­ers as they need lit­tle care and main­te­nance.

Petu­nias are renowned for three rea­sons — they’ve been around for­ever — known since the mid 1700s at least, they’re gen­er­ous bloomers and there’s a petu­nia to suit ev­ery sea­son.

Bel­lis, on the other hand, may sound more at­trac­tive and less com­mon, but are pre­cisely that, an at­trac­tive and com­mon daisy species.

These com­pan­ions reap rel­a­tively ef­fort­less re­wards, are per­fect for low-main­te­nance gardeners who are too busy or im­pa­tient for the more ‘up­pity’ plants of the flo­ral king­dom.

The petu­nia’s trum­pet-shaped blooms have a spicy scent and come in a va­ri­ety of colours, in­clud­ing bi-coloured and dou­ble va­ri­eties.

Although bel­lis’ colours are lim­ited to white, red and var­i­ous shades of pink, their sin­gle-- stemmed blooms vary from the more com­mon look­ing daisy with a sin­gle layer of elon­gated petals to the multi-lay­ered pom­pom-look­ing va­ri­ety. The larger flow­er­ing bel­lis form more pom-pom like flow­ers of about 2cm in di­am­e­ter, with­out much of a yel­low centre.

The Bed­ding Plant Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion shares tips on how to grow petu­nias and bel­lis…

Petu­nias There’s al­ways a petu­nia to suit your needs. For ex­am­ple, gran­di­flora have larger blooms, spread well and are best planted in au­tumn and win­ter in sum­mer rain­fall ar­eas.

Mul­ti­flora, on the other hand, have masses of smaller flow­ers and are suited for plant­ing in spring and sum­mer in sum­mer rain­fall ar­eas.

Their smaller flow­ers are more tol­er­ant of rain­fall, and the same goes for mil­liflo­ras (thou­sand flow­ers), which have small but pro­lific blooms.

Lo­ca­tion Petu­nias be­have best in full sun, need­ing at least six hours of full sun daily. This makes them per­fect for those hot­ter ar­eas of your gar­den, es­pe­cially along a north-fac­ing wall.

Petu­nias must have well-drain­ing soil, par­tic­u­larly in a con­tainer. Avoid re­plant­ing them in the same bed as pre­vi­ous petu­nias to give the soil time to re­cover.

Wa­ter­ing and care tips Once es­tab­lished, the trick with petu­nias is to let the soil dry out be­tween wa­ter­ing. Too much wa­ter makes plants leggy, with too many leaves and few flow­ers. These flow­ers hate soggy soil.

An ini­tial dose of fer­tiliser will be re­warded, as will a fo­lia feed high in po­tash.

If the plants be­come too leggy, just nip the plant back to en­cour­age more branch­ing and a neater shape. Dead­head fad­ing blooms to en­cour­age more flower growth and a longer bloom­ing pe­riod.

Bel­lis His­tor­i­cally known as bruise­wort for its heal­ing abil­i­ties in treat­ing mi­nor in­juries like cuts, bruises and joint pain, bel­lis is not just a pretty face. Its spoon-shaped leaves pro­vide a lovely bed of green ground cover from which their bright disc-like blooms stand out singly and proudly.

Lo­ca­tion Bel­lis need full sun and well-drain­ing soil. An ini­tial boost of com­post and slow re­leas­ing fer­tiliser is all the pam­per­ing they’ll need.

Wa­ter­ing and care tips Wa­ter once a day un­til es­tab­lished and less fre­quently there­after. Some dead­head­ing will be re­quired and you will want to re­move the lower leaves which die off pe­ri­od­i­cally.

African daisy This is a low grow­ing ever­green shrub with daisy-like blooms that come in a va­ri­ety of colours, the hardi­est of which have a deep pur­ple or blueish centre fad­ing to white petals.

Wa­ter­ing and care tips Os­teosper­mum, bet­ter known as the Cape or African daisy, is a won­der­ful and indige­nous plant re­quir­ing lots of sun and min­i­mal wa­ter­ing. — Prop­erty24

Os­teosper­mum, bet­ter known as the Cape or African daisy, is a won­der­ful and indige­nous plant re­quir­ing lots of sun and min­i­mal wa­ter­ing.

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