Gardening Q&A with Dave Overend

I obviously can’t buy bedding plants from shops. Is it a good idea to buy them online? I won’t be able to see what condition they are in – or how big they are – until they arrive.

Tiny begonia bedding plants.

You are in the same boat as many thousands of people. But there are many plant plugs out there with most big seed companies offering to supply them. You pay your money and you take your chance.

I bought a load last month, from Thompson and Morgan – wax begonias, which can bloom from June until the first autumn frosts.

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These tender plants can have single or double, white, pink or red flowers and they can transform beds, borders and planters like no other flower. Plus, they take virtually no looking-after. The tiny plugs from T and M have been pricked out and potted up in fresh compost and they have responded well.

Wax begonias like a rich, well-drained garden soil beefed up with generous amounts of compost or other organic matter. Alternatively, just use a good compost and, if you’re feeling generous, add a handful of slow-release fertilizer granules.

These little begonias like plenty of sun but they will also flower relatively well in a shady spot. Water them regularly and even if you don’t dead-head, they should continue to produce plenty of new blooms.