Bedding Plants: All You Need To Know

Whether you’re thinking ahead to your spring displays or want to add colour this winter, it’s the perfect time to fill your beds this autumn.

Despite the colder weather and less time spent in the garden, there’s nothing better than looking out onto a colourful garden on a cold, grey day.

Always keep an eye on bedding plants and once they have gone past their best, remove the old plants and compost them ready for the new autumn and winter colour. Bedding plants are fantastic for adding a bright patch of colour, gentle pastel shades or perhaps a sophisticated colour palette. For early spring displays and winter colour, here are the best bedding plants to plant this autumn.


Pansies come in a wide range of bright colours and although they do prefer full sun, they can thrive in semi-shade as well. The flowers can perform for many months, however, if it’s a particularly cold winter the flowering can be staggered but the root will grow strong all winter and into the spring. Look for colours such as purple, red, orange and yellow to add a patch of vibrancy to your bedding.

Either plant pansies in later winter for early spring flowering or the summer for winter flowering. Be sure to plant in moist, well-drained soil roughly 7 to 12 inches apart. They will spread out more and can grow to approximately 6 to 9 inches tall and 3 to 4 inches across.


Much like pansies, primroses are available in an array of colours and will produce flowers at a low level, perfect for the colder months. Primroses can range from the traditional Primrose Rainbow to more curly or rose-like blooms, brightening up your bedding this autumn.

For planting in a bed, dig a hole and place the plant so that the crown is at soil level. Leave a 10cm gap between plants and water sparingly until the roots are established. Mostly, primroses flower in the spring, however, a particularly harsh winter can result in delayed flowering.


A hardy bedding plant that can flower in both sun and semi-shade making it perfect for winter colour. Violas produce a compact area of colour in the garden and are as versatile as pansies. This a great choice for a more subtle winter display with a sweet fragrance.

To plant, dig an individual hole for each plant, deep enough to comfortably fit the roots. After placing the plant in the hole, fill back in with soil. Remember to leave a 10cm gap between plants, water and feed regularly.


Hardy plants that flower through winter, cyclamens can flower well in shady locations. A versatile and low-maintenance option, cyclamens look great in a woodland environment, complimenting ferns and snowdrops.

Dig a hole in the bedding the same size as the ball of the root then place the plant in the hole and firm down with soil and water immediately. Be careful not to over-water these plants as this is essential to the care and flowering.

Julien de Bosdari is an avid gardener and the owner of Ashridge Trees, a mail order nursery that delivers across the UK. It provides a wide array of garden bulbs, hedging and trees among others.


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