Forum home Plants

Something to fill out flowerbeds

Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 196
Hi all,

For a few years now we've had 2 skimmias, 2 jeponicas and a hebe in our long flowerbed, none of which seem to have taken off to any great extent. Is it worth keeping these going or should we switch them to something else?

They seem relatively healthy, if a little leggy. As you can see some sunflowers are growing quite happily in the full sun spot we have (typically we get 6-7 hours of full sun on this bed).

On the other side of the garden we've tried filling the small bed next to the fence panels with wildflower seedbombs, none of which have really done anything - we seem to have the most success with bulbs in that area.

I've done a soil test and found we have a neutral pH.

Any ideas please?


  • BeefleyBeefley Posts: 52
    Hi, re the bottom two pictures, the plants look a little anaemic - our Skimmia and Pieris (I think that's what is in your second photo?) all grow in acid soil in part shade, although the Pieris can cope better with the sun.  I think the problem may be your soil, which is probably not acidic enough.   From what I can see the Hebe looks OK, maybe try giving it a feed and make sure it's well watered in this dry spell.  Some Hebes remain quite small so it may be that it's just not a very big variety!
  • Shoxt3rShoxt3r Posts: 196
    Hi Beefley,

    The plants in the second photo are actually a male and female skimmia pair - the male is from a cutting and seems to have grown well and spurred the female skimmia on but not to any great extent. Perhaps it's worth giving up with them then and planting something else instead. Any ideas what we could go for?

    Thanks for the tips on the hebe - will give that a go. We have some compost from our composter which is ready to go - so you think this would help?

    Also what do you recommend for the juponicas please?

    Any thoughts what we could do with the small area next to the fence panels?

    Many thanks!
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,829
    I think they may be hungry and possibly thirsty.  The soil doesn't look in great nick, the bed is very narrow and it's up against a fence which may be providing a rain shadow.

    I would start by giving each plant a long, slow drink of 10 to 15 litres of water and repeat weekly.  You could add a weak solution of tomato feed if you have any.

    Come the autumn when temperatures are cooler and there's been some decent rain, give the entire bed a mulch of well-rotted compost or a soil improver bought from the GC or DIY store.  make it a couple of inches thick and leave it there for the worms and soil organisms to work in for you.  Repeat every autumn.

    In spring, give each plant a handful of BF&B or pelleted chicken manure lightly forked in around the base and keep them watered if we have another dry spring.  repeat each spring.

    If the foliage looks a bit anaemic and yellow, give them a drink of something for ericaceous plants - sequestered or chelated iron - and maybe a foliar feed of 15ml of Epsom salts diluted in 5 litres of water to provide magnesium as deficiency is common in ericaceous plants and makes leave chlorotic - yellow.  
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • My lamium maculatum is pretty bulletproof in a very shady spot and even flowers. Its low growing, spreads but isnt crazy and is excellent to fill gaps. You can take bits off and put them in other places once established. Youll need taller things too but its a good start. Geraniums (the hardy kind) are also easy and many flower well - with a vast difference in flowering months. Or even begonias (not that tall but flower fantastically) not hardy though so youll need to dig them up or buy new ones every year. Or if you can water it a lot im loving my astilbes this year. 

    In the sunny spot id throw in salvias - they dont need good soil, flower for ever and come in loads of colours from orange and yellow to hot pink and dark purple. Plus not expensive and easy to take cuttings from. Cosmos can be grown from seed in the bed (will need better soil but if i can anyone can). And some climbers - annuals like thunbergia are great. Lavenders are great too. 

    Depends what you are looking for but assuming dependable and not requiring loads of work? 
Sign In or Register to comment.