Certain bedding plants stand out as top sellers each spring and remain favourites among some gardeners. Most nurseries consider these annual sales as the peak season for the greenhouse and flower industry. According to statistics available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a few specific bedding plants have topped the list consistently for the past five years.
Known as a staple item for local nurseries, begonias continue as a big seller among flower gardeners. Classified as annuals, begonias thrive in partial shade. The plant's popularity is, in part, due to the easy care required. Begonias usually don't succumb to diseases, and bugs ignore these brightly coloured flowering plants. Flower colours range from reds, roses and pinks, to white with red edges. Begonias grow to a height of 6 to 9 inches.
Grown in almost every colour, impatiens develop into pretty mounds to a height of around 12 to 24 inches high. The dark green leaves provide a nice contrast with the brightly coloured flowers. This annual plant grows easily in most soils, as long as the roots have plenty of water. Impatiens flourish in partial shade, but will bloom (though not as heavily) in full shade if kept moist.
Flowering from spring to fall, petunias give flower gardens lots of colour. These annuals enjoy the full sun and well-drained soil. Though the plant thrives in full sun, partial shade will do if the sun shines on the petunia for at least six hours. Petunias are available in a large variety of colours and types. Maintenance for this popular plant remains minimal, but the occasional "deadheading" (process of pinching off the dead flowers) is required. Expect most varieties of bedding petunias to grow to around 6 to 10 inches high.
Choosing a bedding plant for a very sunny area may frustrate the novice gardener. Consider the ever-popular marigold and the many varieties available. Marigolds love the full sun, and they come mainly in different shades of yellow, orange and gold. While some varieties (African marigolds) may grow 3 to 4 feet in height, smaller types (dwarf marigolds) only reach 6 to 12 inches high. Marigolds thrive in well-drained soil, but will endure periods of drought.
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