When should I buy bedding plants?

When should I buy bedding plants?

Not in April, that’s for sure.

I’m always asked if we have any bedding plants in April. Even though the likes of B&Q and the major supermarkets are piling them high in their entrance lobbies right now, buying summer bedding in April is a total waste of money.

Why? Because summer bedding plants don’t like the frost – it damages the flowers and leaves and a severe frost will kill the plant completely. And as most bedding plants are annuals they won’t grow back. In the UK, spring frosts are likely through until late May – the image above is from the roof of my car this week.

If you are vigilant and have the time, you can plant them out now and protect them with cloches or horticultural fleece. But forget just once, or neglect to secure the fleece well enough, and your investment could quickly become tomorrow’s compost.

So when should I buy bedding plants?

If you can keep them protected in a heated greenhouse, buy them in May. Pot up baskets or containers under glass, and harden them off (acclimatise them to outdoor conditions during the day while bringing them in at night) after the last frosts have past.

If you don’t have anywhere to keep them warm, don’t waste your money now – hold off buying them until late May/early June. Then you should be able to enjoy a summer full of flowers without the worry.


Anna Barker is a garden designer and plantswoman. She is the owner and head grower at Blackfordby Nursery, and also runs her garden design business Lush Garden Design.