bedding plants

Prepare your beds

Feb 10, 2017
LSU AgCenter

When it comes to preparing beds for flowers, vegetables, or shrubs, you must do it properly to ensure success.

Before planting, do a thorough job of removing any weeds that may have grown in the bed. If it's a new bed, remove any existing turf. Be sure to be thorough about this as well. Turn the soil to a depth of eight inches and then spread a two to four inch layer of organic matter, such as compost, over the turned soil. Organic matter loosens the soil and helps with drainage.


LSU AgCenter

Flower beds in our landscapes can stay colorful and attractive here. We put up with a ridiculously long and hot summer season, but we're compensated for this with a relatively mild winter.

Because our winters are so mild, we can plant colorful blooming bedding plants that will bloom from fall, through the winter, and into spring.


A termite.
LSU AgCenter

The next several months are a popular time for adding new beds of shrubs, ground covers, and flowers to the landscape. It's also a popular time for reworking and replanting existing beds you may have.

When you're dealing with beds right next to your house, this work can affect your home's termite protection.

Houses are typically protected from subterranean termite damage with chemical barriers in the soil. To protect the structure, the soil immediately next to the slab or piers is treated with a long-lasting liquid termiticide. The presence of this chemical in the soil provides a protective seal that prevents termites from tunneling through the soil and entering your home.

This protective treated soil should never be disturbed or altered. Also be careful with mulch, as mulch can provide a bridge past the treated soil which termites can use to enter your home.


Pansies blooming in Shreveport, La.
Will-travel

Every year, Louisiana gardeners see amazingly beautiful beds of pansies, violas, dianthus, snapdragons, and many others, whose peak blooming season is around April. Wanting to create the same beauty in their gardens, they go out to the nurseries in April and purchase these plants and plant them in their gardens.

Invariably, they're disappointed when their plants never achieve the spectacular results they saw in others people's gardens.

There's a reason for this. The most spectacular mid-to-late season displays of cool season bedding plants were planted in the fall. Cool season bedding plants planted in April can not and never will achieve the beauty of those planted earlier.

They key to outstanding beds of these plants is early planting. And know what? It's not too late!


LSU AgCenter

Now is the perfect time to plant cool season bedding plants that will brighten our flower gardens and landscapes for the next five or six months-- well into the next spring.

Gardeners often overlook the fact that some of these cool season bedding plants are wonderfully fragrant. Color always seems to be the dominant factor in selecting these plants.


LSU AgCenter

Plantings of Caladiums are generally past their prime by the time we reach the early part of October, or they will be soon, and it's time to decide what you want to do with them. Your choices are: pull them up and throw them away; leave the tubers in the ground; or dig them up, store the tubers over the winter, and plant them again next year.


Serres Fortier/Flickr

The Coleus is a popular bedding plant here in Baton Rouge.

Known for their amazing diversity, the colorful foliage of Coleuses brightens flower beds and containers through the long summer season.


Columbine “Swan Blue white” – Bicolored columbines grace landscapes in April with their stately flower stalks arising above the plant foliage.
LSU Ag Center

Tender perennials have a lot of stamina -- they may actually look great in November when it's time to put the cool season bedding plants in -- but it's best to pull them out.


eXtension.org / Flickr

Forlorn flower beds past their prime and overrun with weeds are an all too familiar sight this time of year. But it's not too hot to freshen up your garden with some new bedding plants.


Pansies blooming in Shreveport, La.
Will-travel

Cool season bedding plants thrive in the mild days and chilly nights during the fall, winter, and spring in Louisiana.