It is a pity that many gardeners still regard Busy Lizzie solely as a house plant and ignore it as an outdoor plant. The modern F1 hybrids provide low-growing sheets of bright colour in damp and shady places which only the Bedding Begonia can rival amongst the annuals in such a situation. A fine choice for beds, pots and window boxes – the plants can be lifted and kept indoors during winter.

VARIETIES: The ‘Imp’ and ‘Elfin’ strains grow about 9 in. high, producing large flowers in white, pink, red, orange, mauve and other colours. For edging or the front of the border grow , ‘Florette’ (6 in.) – in window boxes plant the semi-pendulous ‘Futura’. ‘Grand Prix’ bears the largest flowers and the striped blooms of ‘Zig-Zag’ are the most eye-catching.

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained soil will do – thrives in sun or partial shade. Add peat or compost before planting.

PLANT DETAILS: Height 6 in-1 ft.

Spacing: 6-9 in.

Flowering period: June-October.

PROPAGATION: Follow the Half Hardy Annual technique . Usually bought as bedding plants – do not plant out until early June. ‘GrandPrix’

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