Bedding besties – Cineraria
Cineraria (or the common ragwort) is typical cool weather flowering annual for supplying rich colour in the shady winter garden, on balconies, patios and even as instant colour indoors in a spot with indirect sunlight.
This plant (which is available as seedlings in punnets, or as potted colour in bud and bloom at your favourite GCA Garden Centre) truly beats the winter blues! Between its large, dark green, luscious leaves sprout a gazillion slender stalks, supporting very pretty single or bi-colour daisy flowers in shades of burgundy, pink, blue, dark purple and even white. It requires morning sun and afternoon shade and ever moist, compost-enriched soil. Cinerarias are easy to grow and not bothered by pests, except snails and aphids.
Top tip: To deter snails, oven dry and crush some egg shells and place them around the base of your plants.