Winter gardening tips

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Planning ahead for winter is key to securing a colourful and vibrant garden, even in the colder months, and while you won’t spend an awful lot of time enjoying your outdoor space – you won’t regret it when looking out into a thriving display of bright plants. Whether you love the look of winter pansies, or are after some thyme for your warming roast chicken dinners, there are plenty of plants to grow in your garden this winter – and this is your guide to the prime time to plant them.

What are bedding plants?

Bedding plants are a great way to fill small or large outdoor spaces with short bursts of colour, especially during the colder months when temperatures are low and shrubs begin to look a little bare.

Filling your beds, pots and borders with these short-lived varieties is a small task to achieve a splash of colour through the winter.

These temporary decorative displays are great for curating a seasonal theme of warm or pastel tones throughout your outdoor space to suit your garden aesthetic.

When to plant winter bedding plants?

Autumn is the perfect time to plant winter bedding plants into their flowering spots for a smooth transition of colour when the residual summer blooms fade away.

Preparing your garden now will set you up with a vibrant display from November through to February.

Aim to plant winter blooms between September and early November for a timely flowering period.

Bedding can be grown from seed, bought as young seedlings (plug plants) or purchased as pot-grown specimens, often in multipacks and cellular trays, ready for planting, said The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

On its website, the RHS recommends opting for hardy biennials (or short-lived perennials grown as biennials), hardy perennials or shrubs for winter displays.

The RHS states that hard biennials complete their life-cycle in two seasons, and include plants such as Alcea (hollyhock), Dianthus (sweet William), Erysimum (wallflower) and Myosotis (forget-me-not).

Hardy perennials or shrubs such as the winter-flowering heather, euphorbia and heuchera can give valuable flower and foliage colour in the bleaker months.

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Winter bedding plants to consider:

Ornamental brassicas

Kale and cabbage, also known as ornamental brassicas, are ideal for winter displays.

Not only will they provide colour and life but they are a tasty and nutritious addition to your favourite recipes.


Bergenia, cyclamen, hellebores and viola create a vibrant collection of foliage and produce colourful flowers during milder spells.

Other winter bedding plants for your garden…

  • Pansy
  • Viola
  • Primrose
  • Polyanthus
  • Bellis
  • Cyclamen coum

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