Colourful plants for your garden

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09 Jan 2013

There are a variety of ways to brighten up your garden. The most obvious way is to plant a selection of colourful, thriving plants.

Vincas are flowers that thrive in drought conditions and can brighten up your garden when planted as ground cover or in pots.

In this heat, Vincas will thrive wonderfully. It is the perfect plant for an African summer garden. Particularly well suited to the Cape summers, this bright and bold annual will stand tall where most others will wilt from the heat.

Catharanthus roseus or Vincas be used as a perennial, however, in the frost regions it is grown and used as an annual as it does not appreciate cold temperatures and will succumb to frost. Growing to a height of 30 to 35cm with a spread of about the same,the flowers have five petals and look similar to the blades of an electrical fan.They are usually a varied colour of pink and rose, although you will find lavender, purple, orange, red and white.Many of the flowers have an “eye” that is a contrasting colour to the petals. The most common Vinca is Peppermint or Bright Eye and has white petals with a red eye.

Vincas are versatile and can be used in the flowerbed as edging or a taller ground cover. They are also good for containers and baskets due to their drought tolerance. When planting your Vincas, make sure they are in full sun and in well draining soil. Soil that is too fertile may inhibit flowering.

New Guinea impatiens prefer to grow in sheltered or partly shaded areas but can survive in full sun or shade. The flowers are eye catching and cheerful and can be mixed and matched or grown in clumps of colour.

Pinch the tip of the seedling to encourage side shoots, which will give you a fuller, sturdier plant. It is important not to overwater this plant as they prefer drought conditions. On particularly hot, dry days the leaves may curl, but they will return to normal when the evening temperatures drop. Vincas are low maintenance and you will only have to feed them once every 8 to 10 weeks.

The New Guinea impatiens have a good balance between luscious foliage and abundant blooms. These plants offer uniform colour and if kept free from frost will last for several years. They prefer a sheltered and partly shaded position, but will tolerate both full sun and shade.

The vibrant colours of these flowers look great mixed and matched, or grown in a mass display of single colours.If they are planted outside in clumps, they set roots quickly to provide early season colour. There are more than 20 different shades to choose from.

For more gardening tips and tricks and information on the flowers in this article, go to Life is a garden.

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