Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What are some good summer bedding plants for this area?

There are numerous plant selections to use in outdoor beds. Based upon their performance at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the following is a short discussion of a few bedding plants which not only do well in St. Louis but are considered under utilized.

For summer flowering bedding plants, fibrous rooted begonias can't be beat. In the Garden's experience, the best begonia cultivar to grow in the St. Louis area is 'Pink Bingo'. It has deep bronze foliage and large pink blooms. Bronze leaf begonia varieties are able to withstand the high humidity and heat characteristic of Missouri summers. Two other excellent begonia cultivars are 'German Chocolate Red' and 'German Chocolate Pink', both have bronze foliage.

The Dahlberg daisy is a low growing gem which performs beautifully in the extreme climate of St. Louis. It has yellow flowers and finely divided foliage. It makes a good edging plant and will with stand dry conditions.

Petunias are the most popular annual bedding plant. The Garden advises planting the multiflora forms. These are smaller flowered than the better known grandifloras but more than compensate for this by being extremely floriferous and quicker to recover from pounding rains than their larger cousins. An excellent series is 'Madness'.

Zinnias are predispositioned to mildew but the species, Zinnia augustifolia, is remarkably free of this unsightly disease. In shades or orange or white they provide excellent color throughout the whole summer.

Another good choice is blue salvia. The cultivars 'Rhea', 'Victoria Blue', and 'Argent' are good.

Celosia plumosa 'New York' can be grown just for its deep and rich bronze foliage alone but combined with the deep red inflorescence this is a sure winner. This plant must have exposure to full sun and do not plant until the soil has warmed up.