Spring: Tips to bring colour your garden
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.