Bedding plants

by Adam Pasco

More gardeners choose pansies and violas as their favourite bedding plant than any other flower.

Adam Pasco with bedding plantsMore gardeners choose pansies and violas as their favourite bedding plant than any other flower.

These brightly coloured flowers with their cheerful faces brave the very worst of our weather to put on displays during winter and spring, and voting in the Gardeners' World Awards 2010 has highlighted their popularity.

The category for 'Best Plant for Bedding' was won by pansy and viola with a very respectable 20 per cent of the vote. They beat summer favourites like pelargonium with 17 per cent of votes and petunia with 12 per cent.

Yes, the result did surprise me, as although I do grow winter pansies I probably wouldn't have put them at the top of my list. Having said that, if I'd been allowed to vote for the best winter bedding plant then I don't think pansies and violas would have had much competition.

For summer bedding then probably petunias would have got my vote. In addition my displays always contain pelargoniums for pots in the sun and New Guinea impatiens for shady sites.

Verbena took fourth place in our awards with 10 per cent of votes, and this is one of my favourites too. The tender bedding varieties are good, but 'Homestead Purple' is almost hardy, so survives most winters outside. It got through last winter in my midlands garden, so that proves it's a survivor.

Man cannot live by flower alone, and several foliage plants are included in my favourites. Coleus have looked stunning this year, and I love the trailing foliage of Ipomoea 'Sweet Caroline' varieties.

What would your favourite be?

The Gardeners' World Awards 2010 provide an interesting insight into gardening today, highlighting favourite plants and flowers, popular crops and the way we grow them. Full results can be found in the November issue, on sale now.

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Talkback: Bedding plants
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Gardeners' World Web User 01/11/2010 at 12:52

I have just been to our local authority's nursery "leftover " sale of winter bedding plants and yes the pansies and violas were selling like hotcakes but the cyclamen were not even getting to reach the polytunnels before they were snapped up. It was like, as one lady put it, letting a horde of children loose in a sweet shop! Seeing the massed effect of so many cheerful- faced pansies was a sight for sore eyes even at eight o'clock in the morning. All I need now is a week of good weather so I can give my haul their winter quarters.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/11/2010 at 21:16

I have a plant growing in my dahlia container. it has leaves but no flowers at the moment, can anyone help me identify it please. how do I add a phot to my message Fred Mason

Gardeners' World Web User 02/11/2010 at 05:55

I have found that Chrysanthemums are probably my favorite flowers of all time. I do, however, did enjoy this post and what other people voted on what they thought was their favorite flowers for the various seasons. It's not unlike parts of this website, I've read recently, Gardening Made Easy, which has several wonderful tips and an easy-to-read ebook. Keep up the good work!

Gardeners' World Web User 02/11/2010 at 11:45

What a great idea to save money by buying spare plants in a sale at the local parks department. I haven't heard of these before. And freedfred87, try sending a photo by email attachment to Gardeners' World Magazine at, and we'll try and identify the plant for you. And like Ryan, my hardy chrysanths are coming into flower again. Aren't they reliable! Great value too.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/11/2010 at 12:34

My locak parks department (Kings Park Glasgow)has a great nursery dept which sells plants and at the end of spring they leave all the dug up tulips aside for the public to help themselves to them. My chrysanths are still trying to flower too!

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