Beautiful burnt orange

Bidens are a group of hardy plants in the daisy family that can bring bright warm colours into the garden. In the Bidens range from Proven Winners the golden yellow varieties ‘Tweety’ and ‘Goldilocks Rocks’ are now joined by the rich burnt orange ‘Campfire’. Its flowers emerge deep orange red and mature to bicolour yellow and orange. ‘Campfire’ is a vigorous plant, growing to around 20 to 30 cm tall and is heat and dry tolerant. Cooler temperatures will help promote the burnt orange tones.

In warm areas, bidens can flower from winter through into spring and summer and in cool zones bidens look their best during the warmer months.

Bidens ‘Campfire’ loves a full sun spot in a garden bed and looks fantastic when planted along the edge of a retaining wall. ‘Campfire’ also looks stunning when grown in a pot and when combined with other ‘hot coloured’ flowers and foliage, makes a real statement.

Try Bidens ‘Campfire’ with yellow or orange petunias or calibrachoa and create a fireball of colour like the container recipe from Proven Winners ( called ‘Honeybelle’ or throw colour caution to the wind and go crazy by mixing ‘Campfire’ with purple or blue lobelia.

When planting Bidens ‘Campfire’ into pots or hanging baskets, start with a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix and feed each week with Yates Thrive Roses Flowers Liquid Plant Food. It’s boosted with extra potassium, the key nutrient that encourages flowering. Lightly trim your colourful creation regularly, which will promote a tidier look and new flushes of flowers.


Winter wonderland

Alyssum is commonly grown as a pretty little filler in amongst other flowers in pots and garden beds. It may not usually take center stage and is often taken for granted, however alyssum is a very worthy plant to grow and makes a gorgeous border plant even when grown on its own.

Yates Alyssum Carpet of Snow is a long lasting and hardy annual that is smothered in masses of tiny honey scented white flowers. In warm and temperate zones during June it’s as easy as scattering seed direct where they are to grow and only just covering with 2 mm of loose soil or Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix. Firm down and keep the soil moist while the seeds germinate (which takes around 2 weeks) and the seedlings establish. In cool zones look for seedlings of white alyssum in your local garden centre.

Yates Alyssum ‘Carpet of Snow’ grows to a petite 10 cm tall and will start flowering 2 months after sowing. Here are some beautiful combinations with white alyssum to tempt you:

  • Plant mauve violas together with alyssum in a trough or window box to create a compact and lovely pastel display.
  • Combine lemon yellow trailing pansies with alyssum in a hanging basket. The pansies will spill beautifully over the basket edge and the alyssum adds a soft fullness.
  • In a garden bed or large pot, plant purple salvias at the rear and a swathe of white alyssum at the front. Too pretty!
  • Plant white, purple and pink alyssum varieties together for a mass of colour.

Before sowing seed or transplanting seedlings, enrich the soil or potting mix beforehand by incorporating some Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. It adds valuable organic matter which benefits soil structure, encourages earthworms and beneficial soil microorganisms and helps hold moisture in the soil. It will also provide organic slow release nutrients to the alyssum as they establish.

Protect seedlings from damaging snails and slugs with a light sprinkling of Yates Blitzem Snail & Slug Bait, then feed the alyssum plants every week with Yates Thrive Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food.

It will encourage strong healthy plants and lots of snowy white flowers. Trim the plants back regularly to help keep them tidy and encourage new growth and flowers.

Did you know? Alyssum attracts beneficial insects into the garden, so it’s pretty and clever too!


Moth Orchids

Phalaenopsis orchids, more commonly known as ‘Moth’ orchids, are native to tropical Asia and are a stunning type of orchid that make a beautiful potted plant. The flowers are long lasting and moth orchids can live for many years, so they’re a worthwhile and very pretty investment. It’s like receiving a bunch of flowers every day for weeks!

The long, fragile looking flower spike can make moth orchids appear daunting to care for, however by using a few simple steps they can be an easy and rewarding plant to grow and can even re-flower for you.

  • Moth orchids naturally grow within the canopy of trees, attached to tree trunks. When grown in a pot, they need the same free draining environment so are planted into chunky, well drained orchid mix and often their roots will grow spider-like out and over the edge of the pot, similar to the way they would grow over and around tree trunks in the wild.
  • They love humidity and bright but indirect light. Don’t place moth orchids next to an air conditioner, heater or hot westerly facing window.
  • Every one to two weeks, water the orchid below the foliage, as moisture pooling in the crown or remaining on the leaves can encourage disease. A small watering can with a narrow spout is ideal. Overwatering can lead to the demise of your lovely orchid, so allow it to almost dry out between waterings. During particularly hot and dry weather, the overhanging roots can be misted with water every day.
  • You can sit your potted moth orchid on a saucer that’s filled with pebbles and regularly add water to the saucer. This creates a more humid environment around the plant but doesn’t allow the roots to be permanently sitting in water.
  • To keep moth orchids well-nourished and give them the best chance to re-bloom, they should be fed regularly with an orchid food like Yates Thrive Orchid Liquid Plant Food, which has been specially designed to promote beautiful flowers and healthy green leaves. Any excess diluted fertiliser can be used to feed other flowering plants.
  • Moth orchids are usually sold with their flower spike supported by a small stake. Keep this stake even after the flowers fade, as it can be used again for the next flowering season.
  • Cooler temperatures at night encourage the development of flower spikes so look out for newly developing flower spikes in autumn.
  • Monitor moth orchids for sap sucking insect pests like scale and mealybug, which can deplete plants, cause leaf yellowing and promote the growth of sooty mould fungus. Spraying the foliage with Yates Bug Oil Conqueror Oil Insect Spray Ready to Use or Yates Conqueror Spraying Oil will help keep these insect pests under control.

Klare’s Tips:
One of Yates’ fantastic horticulturists (and self-confessed orchid fanatic) shares this top moth orchid tip: after flowering, encourage more flowers by pruning the flower spike back to just above the second node from the base. A new branch will then emerge from that point, together with flower buds.

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