Make a splash!

Flower filled pots add pops of colour in otherwise wintery gardens. Plant them up now, then sit back and enjoy your handiwork for the rest of winter.

Even if you don’t have time to smell the roses, put aside a morning to plant up some winter flowering containers. They’ll cheer you up on cold, grey days and are a quick fix  for time-pressed gardeners.

Container gardening offers a host of benefits. You only need a few flower-filled containers to add colour or change the look of your garden. By choosing  quick growing plants with extra flower-power, you’ll need fewer plants for maximum impact.  Best of all, containers are easy to move around for the best growing position, whether its sun or shade. If they aren’t happy, move them to a new position. It’s as simple as that.

Container gardening is actually easier in winter than in summer. The planting mix doesn’t dry out as quickly so less water is needed. Plants don’t grow as fast and keep their shape. However, it’s a good idea to feed with a liquid feed once  month. Although growth is slower they still need nutrition to flower and remain healthy to resist the cold.

Some tips:

  • Do place containers where they will receive plenty of sunshine
  • Don’t place them where they will be exposed to cold draughts or wind
  • Do water during the warmest time of the day, and not at night.
  • Don’t worry if a bad frost burns some of the blooms. Most winter flowers are frost hardy. Cut off the frosted blooms when the weather warms up.

Try these winter stalwarts

Marcada™  is a strong growing interspecific geranium that flowers prolifically and drops its dead flowers so there is no need to deadhead. It is semi-trailing with a spread of 45 cm, making it suitable for medium sized containers as well as hanging baskets. Give it full sun in winter and water regularly and thoroughly, but let the soil dry out in-between watering. Feed with a liquid fertiliser once a month. It tolerates heat and will flower into summer but should be moved into a position that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.

Nemesia ‘Nesia’ is a fragrant hybrid of the delicate indigenous nemesia. It pairs well with other perfumed spring annuals like pansies and alyssum in a mixed container or hanging basket. The Nesia range includes two-tone flowers; ‘Banana Swirl’ (yellow/pink) and ‘Fantasy Pink (dark/light pink) as well as Nesia Burgundy which has bold, wine-red flowers.  Plants are light and airy, with a mass of large blooms above shiny green leaves. They grow best in full sun and pots need regular watering and feeding to encourage continuous blooms.

Diascia Diamond is a hybrid of our indigenous diascia. It is a vigorous, compact plant that grows easily with masses of  delicate flowers in various shades of pink, as well as orange and apricot, red and white. Diascia works particularly well in pots and hanging baskets, in sun or partial shade.  Plants  tolerate light frost, are easy to grow and are disease resistant. Water regularly even though they can tolerate periods of drought. Regular watering will prevent flower drop and untidy growth.

Petchoa ‘BeautiCal’ combines the best features of petunias (large flowers) and calibrachoa ( weather resistant and free flowering). Plants are compact and quickly fill a container or hanging basket. There is a large range of colours, including cinnamon, caramel yellow, yellow sun, French vanilla, sunray pink and Bordeaux. Plants stay compact, 30cm high and 45cm wide, and perform best in full sun. Feed once a month with a liquid fertiliser.

Lobularia ‘Easy Breezy’ is a very compact variety that grows into a mounded plant that is particularly suitable for containers and baskets because it doesn’t fall open in the middle. The profusion of flowers are sweetly scented and combine well with fragrant blue pansies or violas in a container. ‘Easy Breezy’ flowers continuously through winter and attracts butterflies and bees.

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