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A favourite for three reasons – it is easy to grow, flowers quickly after bedding out and bears blooms which are multcoloured. 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 seedling 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 & SOIL : Any reasonable garden soil will do – thrives best in sun or light shade and lime-free-land.


PLANT DETAILS : Height 9 in. – 1½ ft. Spacing 6 in. Flowering period June – September.


PROPAGATION : Alternatively in mild areas sow seeds out doors in April.