Cool Season Bedding Plants

Just because winter is upon us we don't need to roll over and play dead in our gardens.

Cool season bedding plants will provide us with spectacular and beautiful color until the summer heat arrives. Bedding plants that we suggest can be planted in January or February It is best to use transplants, not that using seeds isn't the way to go, but because the soil that you are planting in may not be warm enough to cause germination and seed development. All transplants do best if the soil that they are planted in has additives.

ASTER - Planted in full sun in a prepared bed with lots of acidifying materials such as pine bark mulch and peat moss, this sprawling perennial will bear blue, white, pink, and purple blossoms 4 inches across on plants 12 to 18 inches tall.

CALENDULA - Easy to grow, this annual produces orange and yellow daisy-like flowers on 8 to 18 inch tall plants. Plant the transplants 12 to 18 inches apart in full sun.

CORNFLOWER (Bachelor's Button) - This spring blooming, hardy annual can be planted by seed in early fall and again in spring after the soil warms. An old-fashioned flower, cornflower is easy to grow, tending to reseed itself and come back year after year. Plant 6 to 8 inches apart. Bears blue, purple, pink and white flowers on 18 to 36 inch plants.

DIANTHUS - This early spring blooming biennial blooms in various shades of white, pink, and red flowers on plants that range 6 to 15 inches. Plant seeds in the fall about 10 to 15 inches apart.

PANSY - This particular plant, an annual, is the staple for winter color. Space 4 to 6 inches apart in full sun to partial shade. Pansies produce large multi-color or solid blooms on plants that vary between 4 and 6 inches tall. They seem to be able to take the cold weather we have here.

POPPIES - Iceland poppies have 2 to 3 inch cup-shaped flowers that are on 1 to 2 foot stems in pastel colors of yellow, white, pink, and orange. Plant in well prepared soil now for spring blooms.

SHASTA DAISY - This sturdy perennial performs well in sunny areas with lots of space. The large 2 to 4 foot plant produces 2 to 4 inch white flowers in mid-spring and again in the fall.

SNAPDRAGONS - This favorite annual reaches heights of 12 to 24 inches. It is available in many varieties that include dwarf, medium, and tall. They can fit into any flower garden. Space the transplants 6 to 12 inches apart in a sunny location.

STOCK - This annual is valued for its wonderful fragrance. The flowers of white, pink red, and purple have contrasting gray-green leaves. Transplant in full sun to partial shade. Space plants 8 to 12 inches apart.

SWEET PEAS - This spring blooming annual vine could have been planted by seed in October or November but can be transplanted now. Sweet peas grow very much like green peas in the vegetable garden, requiring staking or a trellis for support. There are also short bush varieties. All varieties bloom best in full sun.

Winters need not be dull and gray when you've got these colorful bedding plants to brighten up your home and landscape. See the certified nursery professionals at your locally owned nursery for more information.


Barry Bishop
December, 1995