to HOME page
    QUICK FACTS Ornamental


Planning your bedding scheme
Soil conditions and some solutions
Integrated garden management (IGM)
Common pests and diseases

Bedding plants

Bedding plants includes annuals and perennial plant species that provide seasonal colour in your garden. They can be planted in a bed or in a border, in a hanging basket, or in containers.

If you want to plant up a bed, you need to consider the height of plants – tallest in the centre and shortest on the edge. Similarly, in a border, plant the tallest ones at the back and the shortest ones at the edge.

Planning your bedding scheme

Allow plenty of time to plan your scheme ahead. It is a good idea to decide on a colour theme for your bedding display. You can use a colour wheel to help you work out what colours mix well together. You also need to consider the size of the area. Again consider the height of plants.

Things to consider:

Aim to have two displays a year.

  • Spring beds (plant out in mid March-early April)
  • Summer beds (plant out in late October-early November)

The season will dictate what you can plant.

Summer bed
Spring bed
Geranium Salvia Polyanthus Forget-me-not
Begonia Nicotiana Primula Rananculus
Dahlia Impatiens Pansy Tulips
Marigold Lobelia Viola Narcissus
Zinna Phlox Wallflower  
Petunia Verbena Iceland poppy  

The site will also influence what plants will do well in that area:

Hot, dry, sunny beds Summer bedding: choose plants such as gazania and geranium
Spring bedding: choose wallflowers, stocks and pansy
Cold damp shady beds Summer bedding: choose begonia and lobelia
Spring bedding: choose kale, polyanthus, pansy and viola

Note: Bedding plants on the whole do best in well-drained soils with a high content of humus.

to top of page

Soil conditions and some solutions


  • If the soil has a hard pan (impermeable layer below the soil level) you may need to dig the area twice to break up the pan
  • If the soil has a high clay content and is very heavy, work sand and organic matter (compost) into the soil to help improve the drainage
  • Gypsum is a good product to add to heavy soils. Digging in gypsum helps to break up the soil structure without altering the pH of the soil.

to top of page

Integrated Garden Management (IGM) strategies for growing bedding plants

Integrated Garden Management (IGM) is a set of techniques used to control pest and disease without harming the environment or causing risks to human health.

So what does IGM mean for bedding plants grown in the home garden?

  • A good rule to go by is to try to prevent pests and diseases and to deal with them quickly if you do observe them
  • To minimise pests and diseases make sure the bed or border is cleared of all plant rubbish (fallen leaves may be infected with rust, etc.) before cultivating the soil
  • Choose plants that are suitable for the soil and location
  • Buy only healthy plants, or if sowing your own seed make sure the seed is good quality. Plant out at the right time and the right way. Fertilising and watering plants correctly will help to produce healthy plants

to top of page

Common pests and diseases


Pest or disease Symptoms Control
Slugs and snails Irregular holes in plants and slime trails visible. Damage is worst in shady, poorly drained areas. Keep the area clean and cultivated. Scatter slug pellets around plants.
Leaf roller Young leaves rolled or stuck together and large
caterpillars irregular holes in the foliage.
Pick off caterpillars if this is practical. If widespread spray with an insecticide, e.g. derris dust.
Aphids Young growth is distorted and weak. Leaves may be covered with a sticky honeydew. Several species of aphids infest bedding plants in warm settled weather. Keep the plants well watered and spray them with pyrethrum as soon as colonies of aphids start to appear.
Rust Leaves have red and yellow pustules. Very common on hollyhock, geranium, and antirrhinum. Pick off and burn diseased leaves. Chemical control is not practical.
Grass grub Small roots eaten off Diazanon pills.
Club root Roots are swollen and distorted. Above ground, the plants are small and die off earlier than usual, e.g. wallflower, stock. Avoid growing stock and wallflower in the same spot each year. Apply lime to the soil for wallflower as it prefers an alkaline soil.

to top of page