Bedding plants are right for you if you want an instant garden of beautiful blooms, or if you don't have time, space, or inclination to start your own annuals from seed. Started flats and packs of almost any type of flowering annual can be purchased at local garden centers. Most of these plants should be planted after the last frost in your area. These transplants can give you a jump on summer color and transform your flower beds almost overnight from dull to sensational.
After you've started annuals from transplants, learn how to combine them in a pretty flower border.
You'll get a lot of enjoyment from your annual investment in bedding plants. Professionally grown, they will be larger and easier to handle, will give you at least an extra month of color, and will be better established before midsummer's heat and drought have a chance to wilt and kill them.
1. When you shop for bedding plants, look for compact, bright green, healthy plants. The label will tell you about the variety, color, and height. Don't reject those that aren't in bloom; all-green plants often do better in the long run.
2. If you can't plant right away, keep your new flowers moist. Remove the plants from the pack by holding them with one hand while inverting the pack. If they don't fall out easily, tap the bottom with a trowel.
3. If the plants are not in individual cells, separate them gently by hand or with a knife just before planting; don't allow roots to dry out. Soil in the planting bed should be tilled, enriched, and watered before planting.
4. If roots seem compacted, loosen them gently before planting. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball, and set the plant in place at the same level it grew before. Firm soil around the roots.
5. Water well right after planting. Water frequently until plants become established and new growth has started. Once that happens, plants fill in quickly.