LIFESTYLE NEWS - There is not much to plant in the middle of winter, but there are hardy winter bloomers that can easily be popped into pots for a quick colour fix.
Think geraniums, calibrachoa (mini-petunia types), fragrant stocks or alyssum, and multi-coloured ranunculus.
All you need is to find a warm, sunny spot, as close as possible to the house, where you will be able to enjoy them while sipping that first cup of morning coffee.
Yellow – the happy colour
Colour experts say the yellow is the colour of confident, happy, lively people. This colour lightens the mood and signals energy. Two Calibrachoa varieties with vibrant yellow blooms are Cabaret and Mini-Famous (double blooms). They produce masses of tiny flowers, don’t like to be over watered or fussed over and are vigorous growers that quickly fill the container. Fertilise with a liquid fertiliser twice a month to maintain flower production or use a granular fertiliser (Vigorosa 5:1:5) three to four times during the season.
Pelargoniums are the most colourful and low maintenance fillers for hanging baskets and patio pots.. Marcada™ is a strong growing semi-trailing Interspecific geranium that is suitable for hanging baskets. It flowers prolifically but drops its dead flowers so there is no need to deadhead. ‘Villetta’ stands out for its striking bi-coloured single blooms that appear hand-painted. It is a compact grower that is well branched with results in more flowers. Both varieties do well with plenty of winter sun. Water regularly and thoroughly, but let the soil dry out in-between watering. Feed every two weeks to maintain a good crop of flowers.
A champion bloomer
This new bedding and pot pelargonium is in a league of its own. ‘Champion’ produces massive blooms on good looking plants that a grow 50cm high and wide. A great accent plant in a pot or as a colourful fillers in a low maintenance garden. Pants are hardy, drought tolerant, grow in ordinary soil that drains well and need very little care.
The best way to enjoy the fragrance of ‘Lavender Stream’ Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is in a hanging basket suspended at shoulder or eye level. That way you can appreciate both the fragrance and the beauty of the soft lavender flowers. It is a good filler for mixed containers too. Being a semi-trailing variety, it will spill over the edge of the container. It does best in full sun to partial shade and needs an evenly moist well-drained soil.
Magnificently fragrant with a sweet and spicy clove scent, Stocks ‘Cinderella’ is a dwarf variety with double blooms in a large range of colours. It grows well in pots as well as in garden borders and the blooms last well in the vase. They flower best if grown in full sun, in moist soil that drains well.