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Summer stunners


by Adam Pasco

Summer may have started late following the June drenching, but it hasn't been a complete washout. One star performer in my garden has been a wonderful new osteospermum.


Osteospermum Sunny PhilipSummer may have started late following the June drenching, but it hasn't been a complete washout. One star performer in my garden has been a wonderful new osteospermum. I haven't grown them for a few years, but Osteospermum Sunny Philip caught my eye at a local plant centre, its spoon-shaped petals infused with steely blue crying out for closer inspection. Three plants were soon at home in a large terracotta pot, positioned in a hot spot on my patio. Since June they've bloomed non-stop, producing these beautiful floral discs continually - new ones opening as quickly as faded ones are snipped away.

Like most tender perennial summer bedding plants these osteospermums have three requirements. First they need regular water, and soon tell you when they're going short of moisture on hot days by starting to droop. Secondly they need food, and I mix in a liquid feed at least once a week to top up reserves in the compost. And thirdly you must deadhead. This can be viewed as a chore, but the reward is instant - a neat, tidy display revealing the full beauty of the blooms without the distraction of dead flowers.

Now I'm contemplating propagation, so need to delve down to try and find some healthy non-flowering shoots to use as cuttings. Is it really worth propagating what are relatively cheap bedding plants, and keeping these protected over winter to plant up next summer? I'm always in two minds. Pelargoniums, fuchsias and a host of others really need to be propagated now, too, if cuttings are going to be rooted strongly enough to survive winter.

Looks like I'm going to have a busy weekend ahead, but an enjoyable one.



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Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:29

The osteospermum in the picture looks like one I grew years ago called Whirlygig, could they be the same? Loveley flower, shame about the not so sweet scent!