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When can I plant out bedding plants

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Sweet pea beautiful pink

The short answer is not yet!

With only a few exceptions, bedding plants are frost tender. (What does  hardy mean ?) This group of plants do not tolerate frost, which can blacken the foliage and flowers and if severe enough, kill the plant. You can, be ever vigilant and when frost threatens  cover the plants with a fleece and cloche  to protect from frost.

It's not always easy to remember to do this, and it's not practical. If the plants are in a bed, the fleece has to cover the whole bed and be secured. The difficulty is that it is just too easy to fail to notice a frost and then the plants are damaged, if not killed.

 For  more information visit the page "When to plant out summer bedding plants"

Many bedding plants originate from warmer areas of the world where they can  grow as perennials. For example, Geraniums, Latin name Pelargoniums, are found mostly in South Africa as are Petunias, Lobelia and Verbena from South America and tropics.  These plants are annuals in the UK because of the autumn and winter conditions. Some can be overwintered in the right conditions (see link) but essentially they are plants that like it warm. In the UK frost cannot ruled out until the end of May and even so our weather is unpredictable. 

It's not  just the frost but poor weather is not good for  bedding plants. Place a young, tender, warmth loving plant outside in spell of poor weather, even absent frost, and the chill can set it back, stop or slow growth and the plant may sulk for weeks. Whilst it is tempting to get the bedding out for better results in the long run hang on until the later in the month, and then only if the weather is improving and soil warming up.

To improve the summer display of bedding plant up pots and hanging baskets now and grow them on under glass, in the greenhouse or conservatory so they get well established in a controlled environment. When ready to plant out harden off first if the weather is still cool.

More advice on planting out bedding plants and in May calendar.

A question often asked can I plant out sweet peas now?

Sweet peas are half hardy annuals and so can be planted out now; but "can" and is it a good idea are not the same. It depends, as always on the weather and unless your garden lies in a sheltered spot in a mild area, I would plant during a mild spell to get them off to a good start. Harden plants off before planting out.  For all about growing sweet peas  and hints to how to get the best blooms follow the link 

Great Offers on Garden Ready Bedding Plants


Offer Thompson and Morgan  Garden Ready plants

There are some great offers on quality Garden Ready Plants from Thompson & Morgan - Garden Ready plants for summer colour, a large range, tough super-sized plants, despatched at the perfect time for planting out, enjoy a longer, stronger display of flowers, plant out in to the garden, containers or hanging baskets. Special Offer - Buy any 2 or more packs of 15 or 30 Garden Ready plants and take off £2.50 per pack! Includes varieties such as Begonia 'Non-Stop Mixed', Geranium 'Jackpot Mixed' F1 Hybrid and Petunia 'Easy Wave Ultimate Mixed'.

Just check that you plant out after the risk of frost has passed until when baskets and containers will be happy temporarily in porch, greenhouse, conservatory or lean to as long as there is frost protection. 





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