Loved by beginners and experts alike because of their superb flowering potential with minimal effort required! Hippeastrum or Amaryllis bulbs are very easy to plant and will flower indoors during the winter months, producing spectacular showy flowers in a huge range of colours and shapes.
Indoor flowering Amaryllis make excellent pot plants for indoors and are available in two different bulb sizes – the standard 26cm+ bulbs which will produce two stems per bulb, however for our giant 34cm+ Amaryllis bulb are the largest on the market and will produce three stems per flower bulb.
How to plant – A Visual Guide
Follow our simple step by step guide here or click on the link below to watch our garden expert Jeff Turner in our video tutorial on planting these winter flowering winter treats!
Peonies really are a must have perennial garden plant. The enormous and gorgeous blooms are a real sight when in flower and they are so versatile that they can be grown almost anywhere.
The beloved Peony has been around for years of course, but their relevance and place within any modern garden is never in question. Grown for their giant majestic flowers, they look amazing as part of a late spring or early summer border and are accommodating enough to compliment various other perennial plants such as Heleniums, Lupins, Digitalis, Salvia and Poppies.
The staying power of these perennials is amazing and can offer endless pleasure for many years after planting (with stories of lasting over 40 years in parts of America).
We are now entering late autumn and the weather is a little cold outside but no frosts have arrived yet in what we all must agree has been a relatively mild autumn this year. Temperatures are still in double figures in some parts of the country and conditions are perfect for planting Peonies. In fact autumn and spring are ideal times for planting, in preparation of a great show in late spring and throughout the summer months. Loose rooted plants are great for planting now and with three or four growth buds you normally find they are more reliable and establish quicker than pot grown Peonies.
Planting Peonies from loose bare roots is quite an easy task and is suitable for gardeners of all skill levels, and is actually a great introducing to growing perennials for a beginner. They will tolerate neutral to slightly acidic soil, provided good drainage is present and the soil is well drained. It is often best to start them in autumn in pots, then transplant into their final position in the border once they have been established in late winter or early spring.
Unpack the rooted plants on arrival and prepare the soil by adding some organic matter. Alternatively you can use multi-purpose compost (such as John Innes) which will have an added feed that will be beneficial to encouraging the foliage to grow quicker.
Add a couple of crocs to the bottom of the pot. This will allow the moisture to drain away regularly during the growing period.
Add compost or soil to approximately one third the height of the pot. Place the roots with the buds facing upwards.
Mix some fish and bone meal with the remaining compost and fill firmly around the roots, right up to top of the pot. The fish and bone meal will act as a feed, encouraging vibrant and healthy foliage.
As the roots supplied are hardy field grown, the pots should be moved outside and not kept indoors or in a warm greenhouse. They are used to the cold weather so will easily survive outdoors
Plant outdoors in sheltered areas as they don’t like windy locations too much, although choose sunny location if possible. Choose a place where you know you are unlikely to move them again such as near larger shrubs, trees or a fence.
Top Tip : Peonies hate being disturbed! To avoid this make sure that once the foliage is well establish and ready to plant outdoors into their final location, gently remove the entire contents of the pot and replant into a hole the same depth of the pot (replant all in one go, no division of roots from soil). This essentially tricks the plants into thinking they haven’t been disturbed and won’t result in a slowdown of growth.
Peonies are relatively easy to care for and provided you don’t move them too much you will find they offer little problems. Because of the large sized heads they produce, you may find that you will need to offer the plants some support and staking the stems can be beneficial. Water lightly on a regularly basis during the early periods but they are drought resistant once established, provided the soil is getting enough moisture.
You can provide a liquid feed in spring to encourage more vibrant and colourful flowers, however provided the soil is relatively fertile, this doesn’t need to be more than once or twice a season. Once flowers begin to fade you can deadhead blooms and cut back to a strong leaf and at the end of the flowering season it’s probably best to cut right back to ground level after flowering has finished. This will help to avoid any overwintering diseases that may occur, while also looking neater and tidier on the whole.
You can apply a light winter mulch in the first year if very cold frosts exist to avoid the new roots from heaving out of the soil during frozen periods. The roots are field grown and very hardy so a mulch is not a requirement but can be extra protection if you feel it is needed. After the plant has become fully establish and survived a full calendar period, then there is no need to mulch at all.
If you find that your garden has limited access to natural light then fear not, there are still many plants available for growing in partial or even fully shaded areas.
Highly shaded areas need not be a deterrent to getting active in the garden and are in fact increasing becoming more popular as gardeners in many urban areas are finding ways of making the most of every possible little piece of space. Be creative and you will easily find something that can fill almost every little corner of the garden.
Creating your own border when light is restricted can actually be an easy process and doesn’t differ too much from planning a sunny border.
Two essential considerations when selecting shade loving plants….
Make sure the soil receives a good level of nutrients
During the wetter periods of the year and in particular when little light is present to absorb the extra moisture on the surface, good drainage will help maintain a good growing environment and provide the best chance possible for the roots. Because the sun is restricted then you can help the plants in shaded areas by adding a natural organic substance or fertiliser to the soil to help enrich the soil. This will help replace the nutrients that may be missing and hopefully help avoid the soil from drying out.
Creating your own border when light is limited can be an easy process. When choosing plants have a check to see if they will tolerate partial shade or full shade, then let your own preference be the guide. Have a look now at some of our suggested plants and bulbs, all suitable for planting now in preparation for flowering next year.
The range of perennial plants and shrubs available is quite extensive and there is sure to be something for everyone.
Designer Hostas are a popular choice because of the wonderful foliage they offer and can really add a touch of class to the border.
Ferns will prosper beautifully and come in such a variety of colours that they must be worth a try.
Tricyrtis (Toad Lilies) can also be used to add an unusual effect with their truly amazing spotted flowers in autumn.
The front of a border can benefit from the stunning foliage that Heuchera can bring, particularly since recent developments in breeding have introduced new colourful varieties such as ‘Autumn Leaves’ (bright ruby red foliage) and ‘Plum Royale’ (shiny purple foliage). These low-growing plants will easily fill gaps and spaces in the border that may be left between larger trees and shrubs.
If you would like to add little fragrance in spring then we suggest trying the very reliable Convallaria Bordeaux (Giant Lily of the Valley), great for planting in groups where the white flowers show themselves from the middle of spring on wards.
Monarda are a superb choice for fragrance in summer and autumn, where the spiky head flowers are complimented by a wonderful mint aroma.
A new improved version of the more common Bergenia. The hardiness of Bergenia makes it suitable for gardens all over the country, even in some of the colder parts of northeast Scotland.
Popular shrubs for a shade-loving border come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be grown as stand-alone items in a border, while all those listed below will work side-by-side with many perennials and shrubs to add a really varied showing.
Big leaf Hydrangea
The big leaf varieties will do well in shade. Our pick is Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Magical Revolution Blue,’ which will tolerate even fully shaded areas where almost no natural light gets in. This variety produces large headed blue flowers, which actually turn deep purple as the flowers mature.
Juniper Sky Rocket
A marvellous narrow conifer tree that can grow up to 3m, and because of its slender column shape it will not restrict light for other areas of the garden.
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia Creeper)
If you have a south-facing or a wall where light is obstructed then why not try growing a climber up the wall, with Virginia Creeper the ideal candidate because of its remarkable leaf colourings, especially in autumn.
Vinca major ‘Variegata’
A great variegated leafed evergreen shrub that will grow in almost any garden soil and location. Wonderful for growing underneath trees as well, where the blue flowers appearing in spring can last up until autumn.
For year around appeal you could also try the increasingly popular Pachysandra terminalis, which will save hours of intensive garden labour by suppressing weeds and acting as a ground cover shrub. The vivid green, succulent foliage is a real sight when planted in rows and can act as a low growing path boundary or screen.
A good way to make the most of shaded areas under trees and large shrubs is the introduction of naturalising bulbs, which left undisturbed over time will often multiply to create a beautiful woodland effect.
English grown Daffodils and Narcissi bulbs
Many varieties are suitable to grow is shaded areas and our favourites to give a try are ‘Cheerfulness’ (Showy double white variety), ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ (Lemon yellow blooms) and the original native UK Daffodil ‘Obvallaris’, fondly known as the Tenby Daffodil. (Illustrated in order mentioned from left to right).
Crocus and Miscellaneous bulbs
Great for planting en masse and leaving to multiply in highly shaded areas. The dwarf nature of these perennial bulbs make they great for adding a little bit of colour where needed. For some spring colour try planting Crocus ‘Prince Claus’ (colourful blend of white and blue) or the wonderful yellow Crocus ‘Fuscotinctus’. Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’ will offer an enchanting pale blue display or the popular Muscari armeniacum will create a sea of lavender blue/purple.
The perfect flower to round up our list. Coming across bluebells in the wild is a real treat and many people like to grow their own. They love being plantedunder trees and are a real delight in dappled shade. We also supply these ‘in the green’ for easy transplantation and reliable results. You will find them here but they will only be available when in season.
Echinacea are incredibly vibrant coloured cone flowers with giant heads on tall stems. Their bright colours will attract wildlife to your garden, as bees and butterflies love this plant as much as we do. The purpurea varieties are the only Echinacea grown from root stock, producing those thick stems that make them perfect for use as cut flowers. Echinacea are a tough plant, their eye catching colourful blooms that draw so much attention actually love to be ignored, a great hassle free choice for you garden.
The delightful shades of Echinacea purpurea are ideal for a summer border. The cheerful flowers look great mixed in with other plants and bulbs, or can be planted en-masse for a bold splash of colour. They will even do well in pots – plant in a deep container and position where they will get plenty of sunlight.
Echinacea are spectacular in a mixed border – as illustrated above. They partner really well with Rudbeckia varieties, as you can see above, the bright purples look particularly striking against the bright yellow of the Rudbeckia Goldsturm. We’ve highlighted a few more great companion plants in the gallery below.
Echinacea need to be grown in full sun, they won’t thrive at all in shade but will cope with a little. They are tolerant of a wide range of soils as long as it is well drained and they are drought tolerant once established. Deadhead to prolong flowering. You can propagate by division in spring and autumn but they prefer not to be disturbed and can become more bushy in habit but less floriferous.