Unwins Seeds

How to Grow Spring Flowering Bedding

Spring-flowering bedding plants are perfect for planting in patio pots, hanging baskets and for filling spaces in borders. They often flower before Christmas, providing a little splash of colour when it’s needed most. Come the spring, they produce even more flowers as soon as the weather warms, brightening up the garden early in the season.

Spring Flowering Bedding


Receiving your medium-sized plug plants when they arrive in autumn
Remove the cardboard packaging and water the plants on arrival.
They can be safely left in the tray for a few days but do not allow plants to dry out.
Keep out of direct sunlight to protect the young plants from scorch or drying out.
Potting your medium-sized plugs plants up & then growing them on in the ground outdoors
Use a dibber or pencil to push the plants out through the base of the plant tray to avoid damaging the plant.

Pot up into trays or individual pots - our Potting On Kit is perfect for the job. Pot each plug into 7.5cm (3in) pots using a good multi-purpose compost or a container compost. When potting up the plugs handle the plants carefully by the root ball (the plug-plant soil) to try and avoid damage to the stems. Fill the pots or trays with good compost with a little slow-release fertiliser mixed in.
Grow on for a few weeks in a light, frost-free place, but try to avoid direct sunlight. Keep them moist but do not over-water.

Some varieties, especially pansies and violas, naturally grow tall and leggy at first. They can be encouraged to ‘bush-out’ by pinching out the growing tip.This is done by literally pinching off the top of the plant just above a branching point.
When plants have grown and formed a good root system within their pots they can be planted straight outside.

Most bedding plants need to be spaced at 20-30cm/9-12in apart, depending on their overall size.
Check 'Variety Information' table below for plant spacing details.

Receiving your large-sized plug plants when they arrive in autumn

Remove the plants from the packing straight away and sit them in a tray of shallow water, allowing the plugs to fully soak.
Once the plugs have soaked, remove them from the tray of water, allow to drain and position them outside, out of direct sunlight.

One of the best things about our large-sized plug plants is that it isn’t necessary to pot them up and grow them on before planting outside, if you are short of time. It isn't necessary but it is recommended we recommend that you do for best results.

Growing them straight after in the ground outdoors

If planting straight outside without potting on first, make sure they are in a sheltered or protected position. Sometimes plugs are vulnerable in exposed sites or where there are pests or pets.
Before planting your large plugs, thoroughly dig and add some granular fertiliser to the soil first. Doing this provides an easier environment for the young plants to establish their roots.
Dig an individual hole for each plug, deep and wide enough for the entire root ball. Water each planting hole and allow the water to soak away.
Use a dibber or pencil to push the plants out through the base of the plant tray to avoid damaging the plant.

Place the rootball in the hole, backfill the soil and gently firm down the area around the plant.
Potting your large-sized plug plants up
We recommend that you pot-on your large plugs as soon as they arrive for best results. Potting them on first allows them time to develop a strong, healthy root system. Our Shuttle Trays with 9cm (4 in) pots are ideal.
Use a dibber or pencil to push the plants out through the base of the plant tray to avoid damaging the plant.

Handle each plant by the plug root ball, rather than the stem to avoid damage.
Pot each plug into a 9cm (3in) pot using a good multi-purpose compost or a container compost.
Water after planting to settle to roots and leave to grow-on in a light, sunny place until the roots have established in the pot before planting outside oncle the plants have established and lots more roots have formed. (following the same instructions as above)


Water well at first, especially if the weather is still warm, paying particular attention to containers and baskets. Once autumn falls and the weather cools significantly, watering isn't as necessary, as be sure not to waterlog soil.

Do not overwater young plug plants

If young seedlings or young plants have rotted, more or often than not it’s down to over-watering.
Prevent this from happening;
• When young, water from above when soil feels dry until roots are emerging from the bottom of the pot.
• Never stand pots in water for a length of time. Roots need to breathe and get sufficient oxygen; if you keep them standing in water they drown.

A good tip for established plants is to stand them in a tray of water overnight, if the soil is dry. In the morning tip out the excess water from the tray. Only ‘flood’ the tray again when soil surface feels dry to the finger tip. Again, make sure you re-visit after a few hours or overnight to tip out excess water. 

Avoid watering if the ground is frozen as it can cause frost pockets to sit around the roots.
Dead-head plants regularly to encourage more flowers.
Feed regularly during flowering – Nutri Flower Booster is ideal. Alternatively use slow release granules, which can be incorporated into the compost or soil at planting time.

Plant spacings table:

Plant Spacings Table


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