A favourite for three reasons – it is, quickly after bedding out and bears blooms which are multicoloured. Grow it in containers and window boxes as well as in beds and borders – any sunny corner can be brightened by these foot-high plants with their clusters of funnel-shaped flowers. Pinch out the tips of to induce bushiness and water in dry weather. Cut back once the first flush of flowering is over
VARIETIES: N. strumosa has given rise to many garden varieties and hybrids. You can buy single colours, such as ‘Blue Gem’ and ‘Fire King’, but most people buy a mixture. ‘Carnival’ and ‘Funfair’ are assortments of reds, creams and yellows – ‘Sparklers’ is a mixture which contains many bi- and tri-colours.
SITE AND SOIL: Any reasonable garden soil will do – thrives best in sun or light shade and lime-free land.
PLANT DETAILS: Height 9 in.-1.5 ft.
Spacing: 6 in.
Flowering period: June-September.
PROPAGATION: Follow the Half Hardy Annual technique. Alternatively in mild areasoutdoors in April.