When to plant out bedding plants – Brits warned not to be ‘tempted’ before ‘end of May’

Gardeners' World: Adam Frost gives advice on wall borders

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Summer weather is just around the corner and bedding plants offer a simple way of adding a pop of colour to your floral border. However, given that most bedding plants are tender, they can not survive harsh conditions such as low temperatures or wet cold spells. This is why gardeners are urged not to plant out their flowers too soon.

When is the best time to plant out bedding plants?

Gardening stores often put bedding and border plants on sale as early as March, however, due to the chilly weather typical of the month, this is not the best time to plant them out.

Even the milder days of April can be too early to add flowers to your border.

This is because the risk of frost and sudden cold snaps are still relatively high in April.

As border plants are not frost hardy, any chilly weather could kill them off too soon which would be a disaster for borders come summer.

Instead, you should wait until the risk of frost has fully passed before planting your flowers outside.

Experts from Sunday Gardener urge Britons not to be tempted to plant out their flowers too early – even once the spring days of May arrive.

Sunday Gardener states: “Most areas of the UK are frost free by the end of May, which means, although it is tempting to plant out earlier, it is best left until May.”

Even during warm spells, sudden frost can arrive and cause severe damage to plants.

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Therefore, it is best to keep an eye on the long forecast and make sure you are certain no more frost will arrive before planting your borders out.

If you do wish to bed your plants a little earlier, the experts recommend covering with fleece or cloche.

Sunday Gardener adds: “Knowing if a plant is fully frost hardy or not will also help when selecting plants for the garden.”

Which plants and flowers are suitable for border plants?

According to the RHS, bedding plants are usually chosen from half-hardy annuals, hardy annuals, hardy biennials, half-hardy perennials, half-hardy or tender sub-tropical plants, hardy perennials or shrubs and bulbs.

Half-hardy annuals are plants that complete their lifecycle in one season. These plants tend to be grown from seed indoors and later moved outside.

They can include cosmos, nemesia, marigolds and tobacco plants.

Hardy annuals, such as Alyssum, pot marigolds, Iberia and Limnanthes douglasii, can be sown outdoors directly into the soil and flower in spring.

They are able to withstand frosty spells.

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Hardy 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).

Half-hardy or tender sub-tropical plants are often used to create a focal point for flower beds. Succulents, for example, can be a great addition.

Hardy perennials add flowers and foliage to your garden right up until the winter months. Some plants of this category include ornamental grasses or Erica (winter-flowering heather).

Bulbs are often scattered alongside biennial bedding plants to add a splash of colour to borders and beds during the early months of the season.

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