This is a hectic time for gardeners as we all have a huge list of things to be done, but we also have to consider what plants we would like in the greenhouse apart from tomatoes and cucumbers.
It’s good to have the tomatoes on one side of the greenhouse with a bench for colourful plants on the opposite side. Have a look at gloxinia seeds, the flowers are gorgeous supported by deeply-veined, attractive leaves and they are very easy to grow in any potting compost. If the seeds are sown now they will be in bloom in July.
Another great favourite are the hot water plants, so called because they don’t like being watered with very cold water. The name to look for is achimenes, but they are difficult to find at garden centres these days because people don’t buy them any more. What a shame. If you grow them you already know how beautiful they are and you might like to give a gardening friend a few tubers. If you can’t find them at your garden centre, go online and you will be surprised at how many different varieties are available.
Primula obconica is a lovely plant but some people are allergic to the hairs on the backs of the leaves, but primula malacoides doesn’t have this problem and the seeds can be sown this week.
Primulas need light to germinate well so after scattering the seeds on to the seed tray, lightly cover the seeds with vermiculite and germination should take place within three weeks. To prevent them damping off, use copper fungicide dissolved in clean water. This is made by Vitax and is at garden centres in green drums. Use two level teaspoons in a litre of water and put the solution in a bowl. Place the seed tray into the bowl and allow the compost to absorb the solution.
After 10 minutes, the seed tray’s surface will be glistening. This means the compost is saturated and can then be placed where the seeds will germinate.
Fuchsias are the best plants for flowers all summer in the greenhouse and there are thousands of different varieties at affordable prices – about £1 for a rooted cutting.
Simply pot the cuttings into a three-inch diameter pot and nip out the tip to encourage them to produce side shoots. For a mass display of flowers, take out the tips of the shoots after three pairs of leaves mature and pot the plants into four-and-a-half inch pots in any potting compost. Feed the plants after a month with a weak solution of liquid tomato feed and by the end of July, the flowers will emerge. If the dead ones are picked off daily the plants will flower until the really cold weather sets in.
A good tip, if you are just starting growing plants in a greenhouse, is to choose varieties of fuchsia with small flowers. The plants will be smothered in blooms whereas if the large types are chosen, there will be fewer flowers.
TIP OF THE WEEK
Daffodil and tulip leaves are a nuisance when planting out summer flowers – and you aren’t the only one to pick them off!
Please don’t. The quickest way to get spring bulb foliage to die down naturally is to remove the dead flowers and seed head. The stem then dies naturally and the goodness returns to the bulb.