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Sow many flowers

Courtesy of Yates.

Spring is a floral spectacular . . . and while you’re enjoying all the flowering delights, now’s the time to plan for more beautiful blooms in the coming months.

Yates has compiled some of its new favourite flowers to sow now, to add fresh colour at your place. Just one packet of seeds can grow dozens of plants, so it's a great way to fill entire garden beds and lots of pots with gorgeous colour. And whatever you sow now, you'll be enjoying for many months to come.

• Yates Cosmos Tango has intense semi-double flame red blooms, that mature to vibrant orange with yellow centres. Makes a spectacular show planted in blazing, massed drifts of bloom and is especially good as a tall backdrop against a fence. Very hardy, with excellent heat and drought tolerance. Long stems are perfect for cut flowers.

• Yates Snapdragon Twinny Appleblossom has a delicate watercolour beauty, with gorgeous soft, pastel tones of pale pink and cream. Large double butterfly-type blooms make an exquisite cut flower. Dwarf habit is perfect for container planting or a sunny bed. Very good heat and wet weather tolerance.

• Yates California Poppy Thai Silk has exquisite ruffled blooms featuring lustrous, silky, rosy-pink petals with touches of cranberry and lemon. Easy to grow and drought tolerant, they bloom all summer and are ideal for planting in drifts of shimmering colour, or at the front of a border.

• Yates Pansy Imperial Antique Shades has a pretty watercolour palette, with velvety blooms that mellow from a rich cranberry rose, to dusky peach, then pastel apricot. The low mounding habit is perfect for pots or planting in drifts for an abundant show of medium-large sized flowers in a subtle range of pastel shades.

Snails find young seedlings irresistible, so lightly scatter some Yates Blitzem Snail Slug Pellets around the soil, which will effectively attract and kill snails.

Once the seedlings are established, start feeding them with Yates Thrive Flower Fruit Soluble Fertiliser, which will encourage both healthy foliage and lots of gorgeous flowers. Trim off spent blooms regularly to promote more flowers.

Pest control tip: aphids can be common on tender, new seedlings. Look out for tiny green, black, brown or grey insects hiding in amongst the leaves. A quick spray with Yates Rose Gun Spray Ready to Use will easily control damaging aphids.

How to grow amazing azaleas

An azalea in full flower is a sight to behold. Often you can't see the leaves for the flowers, which come in almost every shade from white through to bright pink and also yellow, salmon and two-toned flowers.

Most azaleas are happiest in a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade, in moist, organic, rich well-drained soil that is on the acidic side. Azaleas also grow very well in a pot.

Here are a few simple steps to keeping your azaleas looking fantastic:

Azaleas can be attacked by thrips, which are tiny sap-sucking insect pests that can cause damage to both flowers and foliage. Leaves may become mottled and flower petals deformed. Control thrips with Yates Natures Way Organic Citrus, Vegie Ornamental Spray Ready to Use. Spray lightly, just to the point of run-off, including undersides of the foliage, as soon as thrips or their damage appear. Respray each week while thrips are active.

Azaleas prefer an acidic soil (with a pH of 5.5-6.0) so in areas with alkaline (basic) soil, apply some Yates Soil Acidifier Liquid Sulfur to reduce the soil pH.

To help promote healthy foliage growth and lots of beautiful flowers, feed azaleas with Yates Thrive Camellia, Gardenia Blueberry Granular Plant Food — a specially developed fertiliser to feed acid-loving plants like camellias. It contains extra potassium to promote lots of flowers as well as nitrogen and phosphorus to encourage healthy leaf and stem growth and a strong root system.

Dreaming of flowers

Armerias are gorgeous, hardy little flowering perennials that have globe-shaped flowers which sit proudly above the foliage.

Ten years of clever plant breeding has created a fabulous new collection of low-maintenance armerias called "Dreameria". Their main flowering flush is during spring, when they're covered in masses of eye-catching blooms.

The Dreameria range have attractive, tightly-mounded foliage that grows to a compact 20cm tall and they can spread up to 50cm in diameter.

Tolerant of frost, windy, coastal and dry conditions once established, they make a perfect edging or border plant in a full or partly-shaded spot, or can be mass planted as a ground cover or included in rockery gardens. They look particularly pretty when grown in containers.

Dreameria comes in a range of beautiful colours, including vivid pink Daydream, coral pink Dreamland and soft pink Sweet Dreams.

To help keep Dreamerias looking their best and to encourage further flowering, trim off spent flowers and feed every eight weeks from spring to autumn with a high-potassium fertiliser like Yates Thrive Roses Flowers Liquid Plant Food, which has been been specially developed to feed flowering plants. And although tolerant of dry conditions, they will appreciate a good watering during hot dry weather.

Floral tip: armeria flowers can be cut for a vase, so you can enjoy them both inside and out.

- Courtesy of Yates

Colourful snapdragons.