Move over marigolds.. bedding plants fly in the face of tradition

It’s time for those traditional bedding favourites such as marigolds, salvias and petunias to step aside. There are some new kids in town and they’re about to show they mean business.

Penstemon ‘Wedding Bells’ Mixed

Already a top-seller within weeks of the launch of Thompson & Morgan’s Spring Catalogue, Penstemon ‘Wedding Bells’ Mixed is rapidly becoming one of this summer’s must-have plants, thanks to its suggested new use as a ‘bedding penstemon’.

Although far from traditional, the idea of using penstemon in bedding schemes is bound to catch on. The long-flowering performance of penstemon is just what’s needed for colourful beds, as plants will keep blooming right up until the frosts and are remarkably resilient and weather-tolerant. Additionally, plants won’t become blighted by rust, a curse which can spoil the appearance of snapdragons and could inhibit flowering. Penstemon ‘Wedding Bells’ Mixed is bred by Thompson &Morgan.

In recent years, the quality of foxglove breeding has improved greatly. The pick of the bunch is without a doubt Digitalis ‘Dalmatian Mixed’. This impressively quick-to-flower variety can be grown as an annual, making another ideal candidate for bedding schemes. Unlike traditional foxgloves which make a fleeting flowering appearance in May, ‘Dalmatian’ will flower throughout the summer, producing plenty of secondary blooms once the main spike has faded.

Michael Perry, New Product Development Manager said, “In the UK, we can sometimes get caught in a bit of a bedding ‘rut’, habitually planting up lack lustre marigolds which don’t really ever give us the display we hope for. By thinking differently about what we plant, we can create easier-to-care for, longer-lasting, more robust bedding displays.”

Digitalis ‘Dalmatian Mixed’

Rebecca Tute
Rebecca works in the Marketing department as part of the busy web team, focusing on updating the UK news and blog pages and Thompson & Morgan’s international website. Rebecca enjoys gardening and learning about flowers and growing vegetables with her young daughter.


  1. Received Hibiscus bare root plants last week .No instructions with them .planted them in large pots in good compost with root excellorator and kept them in greenhouse. When will l see some growth and when do I take them outside ?

    • Wendie Alexander

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your post. ? These are hardy perennials so can go outside now (and remain outside year round). They are late to wake up in spring, so don’t be surprised if new growth doesn’t show until late May. A sunny spot will encourage the quickest regrowth. The plants die down completely after the autumn frosts, and will disappear from show until late spring the following year. I hope this helps but please do come back if you need anything further. Kind regards, Wendie

  2. Ordered 24 plants, they arrived a month late and three of the plugs were dead. hoping the rest will come on now I have planted them on. would think twice before ordering plug plants again.

  3. Well we thought they looked super too and ordered some immediately. Payment was taken on 23rd April but as yet no plugs. Can I ask where they are?

    • Dear customer, I have picked your order details up from your email address and passed this on to Customer Care to investigate why your plants haven’t been received. Hopefully someone will be in tocuh asap. regards Craig

  4. My box of 24 arrived this morning (23.5.13) and they look good healthy plants, but given we will all be planting out in two weeks time, it seems very late to send them out – there is no way they can catch up by the first week of June (my usual summer bedding planting out date) even though I potted them up today and will feed them well. Perhaps an earlier posting date would mean we could get the plants potted on far earlier, so that by now they will be a decent sized plant. Also an expected flowering date would be useful too, to give novice and experienced gardeners alike some idea when they put in their order, when they can expect the plants to flower.

    • Rebecca Tute

      Hi Sue, I do understand your point about sending plants out later than expected, but our growers have also been affected by the weather – cold temperatures and low light levels do nothing to promote good plant growth. I’ve just spoken to one of our horticultural experts and he said the same. We just have to hope that the weather improves vastly in the next couple of weeks to at least give the plants a fighting chance. Thanks also for your suggestion about flowering dates, we do in fact include these on all product pages of our website (they weren’t featured in the blog post though). I hope this helps. If you have further questions please contact our customer care team –

  5. ‘orchestra mix’ has produced a symphony of colour from the vibrant brassy reds, through sutt subtle wind washed whites and the strings of mauves and blue holding the arrangement together.

  6. These penstemon are gorgeous,I must get some!


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