12 Best Bedding Plants for a Colourful Garden

By   | Last Updated :   March 28, 2022 | Filed In :   Garden Style Ideas

Bedding plants can cheer up any garden, be it winter-wrecked, shady or dry as a desert. Most bedding plants are a breeze to grow and care for. Some, like annual petunias and sweet peas, die in winter. Others, like geraniums and begonias, are perennials that bounce back to life every spring.

You can grow blocks of similar-hued bedding plants in clusters or mix and match different plants for colour, texture, and pattern. Whatever you decide, bedding plants are sure to enliven your garden.

Read on to discover 12 of the best bedding plants to add to your garden.

1. Geraniums

close up of woman potting geranium flowers

Credit: Shutterstock

Pink, red, orange, purple, cream, lilac, burgundy and apricot, geraniums wear many colours. Give them plenty of sunlight, water them well, and they will bloom beautifully from spring to autumn.

Geraniums come in trailing, climbing, and upright varieties. You can easily plant them in your flower beds and borders. Geraniums also look great in patio containers, rail planters, and hanging baskets. So go ahead and plant some!

2. Sweet peas

sweet peas bedding plant

Photo by Eugenia Romanova on Unsplash

Sweet peas can make your garden look and smell like a dream. They like to climb so grow them up pillars, wigwams, or netting. They will add bright pops of colour wherever they wander.

Choose dwarf varieties for flower beds and borders. You can snip the blooms to make colourful bouquets that smell like honey and orange blossom.

3. Snapdragons

snapdragons january

Image credit: @floramereflowers

Antirrhinums, or snapdragons, are a popular garden perennial with long stalks and mouth-like blooms. They have a long flowering period and will add vertical interest to your garden.

Snapdragons flourish in full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade. Their bright colours and sweet smell are sure to attract birds and bees to your garden.

Tip: When planted from seeds, snapdragons are slow-growing. If you want an instant splash of colour in your garden, opt for nursery seedlings instead.

4. Begonias

a rectangular planter filled with begonia flowers

This summer bedding plant has large, showy blooms in vibrant colours. Begonias have a non-stop blooming season from summer until the first frost and they thrive in both sun and shade.

You can choose between trailing and upright varieties of begonias. Plant them in flower beds, hanging pots or window boxes. Store the bulbs over the winter months and you can expect even bigger and brighter blooms next year.

5. Marigolds

marigold bedding plant

Photo by Samantha Fortney on Unsplash

With their bright yellow and orange flowers, marigolds will look like a pool of sunshine in your garden. They are a no-fuss bedding plant, flowering from late spring until autumn.

Plant marigolds in spring. You can sow them directly in your garden once the soil has warmed. Give them full sun and well-draining soil and deadhead them to keep fresh blooms coming. Both the petals and tender leaves of marigolds are edible so you can use them to brighten up salads and decorate your culinary creations.

6. Petunias

basket filled with vibrant petunias

Credit: Shutterstock

Our list of the best bedding plants would be incomplete without petunias. These trumpet-like flowers come in bright colours and patterns. They are super easy to grow and care for, too.

Grow petunias in your flower beds and train them up trellises and arches or let them cascade down hanging baskets and window boxes. The flowers will create the perfect summer landscape, even in gardens that don’t get much sunlight.

7. Fuchsias

Hardy Fuchsia

Credit: Pixabay

Fuchsias look like tiny ballerinas twirling in your garden. A popular bedding plant, fuchsias make showy, single or double flowers all through summer.

Fuchsias love cool temperatures and moist soil. They’re perfect to bring cheer to a shadowy garden patch. Avoid planting fuchsias in full sun, or they may wilt and dry in a week or two.

8. Bacopas

bacopas bedding plant

Image credit: @nannys_garden_world_

Trailing bacopa plants are a versatile choice for your garden. Plant them in beds and borders as a sprawling ground cover, add them as fillers in window boxes or let them flow over like a waterfall in hanging baskets.

Bacopa plants are happy in sunny sites and they will also grow in shady spots. Plant them outdoors in late spring and they’ll produce dainty white, red, lavender, blue, or pink blossoms until late autumn.

9. Lobelia

lobelia january flower

Image credit: @athomewithpaml

Lobelia comes in shades of blue, violet, and white. Grow it in your flower beds and it will complement your other warm-coloured bedding plants, too.

Lobelia can thrive in partial shade and is perfect for brightening up dull garden patches. The plant blooms heavily from spring to autumn, with a lull during summer.

Tip: There are over a hundred varieties of lobelia. Grow tender varieties like Alba, Lilac Fountain, and Rosamund in full sun. Hardy varieties like Cardinal Flower and Great Lobelia can grow even in marshy conditions.

10. Cosmos

cosmos bedding plant

Image credit: @thegardeningsoul

Easy-to-grow, quick-blooming, and colourful, cosmos is everything and more you need in a bedding plant. It will attract masses of bees, birds, and butterflies to your summer garden.

Plant yellow, pink, white, and orange cosmos in your flower beds to create a blooming meadow. They also make excellent cut flowers.

11. Busy Lizzies

busy lizzies bedding plant

Image credit: @misheleneous

Busy Lizzies, or impatiens, are a summer bedding plant. They produce large flowers in fruity colours, from bright red to pink, purple, and white.

Plant busy Lizzies in your flower beds in spring. They won’t stop flowering until the first frosts in autumn. But make sure to plant them in dappled sunlight. They don’t do well in full sun.

12. Verbena

verbena

Verbena bonariensis by Belgianchocolate

Verbena produces long-lasting blooms and will thrive on the hottest of summer days. Its vibrant colours will attract pollinators to your garden.

If dryness is an issue in your garden, don’t worry. Verbena grows best in dry and sunny areas. Spread the plants across your flower beds for bright shades of red, white, purple, blue, and pink.

Tip: Verbena is generally a happy-go-lucky plant but be careful with the watering can. Too much water can make its lush foliage dry and crisp like breakfast cereal.

Best bedding plants FAQs

Most bedding plants are easy to get started with, whether you’re a gardening newbie or a seasoned gardener. But if you still have some lingering questions, the answers below may help.

Which are the longest flowering bedding plants?

Some of the longest flowering bedding plants include begonias, snapdragons, verbenas, and geraniums. They start blooming from early spring until late autumn.

These plants are also easy to care for and you can create a colourful bed of flowers without toiling in the dirt for hours.

When should I grow my bedding plants?

If you’re growing bedding plants directly from nursery-bought seedlings, plant them in your flower beds in late spring, once the nights are frost-free.

If you’re starting your bedding plants from seed, sow them indoors in winter. That way, they’ll be ready for the flower beds by spring.

Can I grow bedding plants in pots?

Yes, you can grow bedding plants in pots. Most bedding plants, like geraniums, sweet peas, cosmos, begonias, fuchsias, and snapdragons, are easy to grow in containers.

Make sure to use a good soil mix and fulfil their sunlight and water needs. Your bedding plants will thrive in window boxes, hanging baskets, patio pots, and wall planters.

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