When to plant out bedding plants – the 7 plants suitable for bedding

Gardening: The Rich Brothers give tips on planting with pots

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Bedding plants are a way to temporarily decorate your garden with seasonal flowers. You can grow bedding plants from seeds or purchase them already grown in pots ready for planting. But when do you plant out bedding plants? Here’s Sunday Gardener and the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) advice.

When to plant out bedding plants

Bedding plants are not hardy, and shouldn’t be planted until after the last frost of the year.

You’ll spot bedding plants in shops and garden centres from March, but that doesn’t mean they’re all ready to be planted from March.

Normally, frost doesn’t completely pass until May. That’s why you should wait until May to plant out bedding plants.

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What plants are suitable for bedding?

The RHS has listed seven types of plants that are suitable for bedding and explains how to plant them.

Frost-tender half-hardy annuals (HHA)

HHAs such as cosmos, nemesia, marigolds and tobacco plants are suitable for bedding.

The RHS website states: “These plants complete their life-cycle in one season. If grown from seed they are generally sown indoors and grown on.”

Hardy annuals (HA)

HAs such as Alyssum, Calendula (pot marigold), Iberis (candytuft) and Limnanthes douglasii (poached egg plant) are suitable for bedding.

The RHS website says: “These can be sown outdoors directly into the soil in spring where they are to flower. They withstand frosty conditions without protection.”

Hardy biennials

Hardy biennials, or short-lived perennials are grown as biennials complete their life-cycle in two seasons.

Examples of these plants are Alcea (hollyhock), Dianthus (sweet William), Erysimum (wallflower) and Myosotis (forget-me-not).

The RHS explains that ornamental brassicas (kale and cabbage) are ideal for winter displays.

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Hardy perennials or shrubs

Hardy perennials or shrubs such as Erica (winter-flowering heather), euphorbia and heuchera can give valuable flower and foliage colour through the winter months.

The RHS site says: “Saxifraga, sedum and sempervivum are excellent for green roof and vertical modular wall planting.

“Additionally, agave, dwarf conifers, cordylines, Phormium (New Zealand flax) and ornamental grasses can provide a central focus for beds and containers.”


Let’s not forget bulbs! Some bulbs such as allium, Anemone blanda, crocus, hyacinth, early-flowering Iris reticulata and tulips are suitable for bedding.

The RHS site says: “These bulbs can be mixed with biennial bedding plants and will give combinations of colour in the early spring months.”

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