Autumn is the perfect time to fill your beds, borders, containers, window boxes and hanging baskets with winter bedding plants. Not only do they plug the gaps and provide structural foliage, these gorgeous flowers provide a welcome splash of colour when few other plants are in bloom. Here are our top ten choices to enjoy through autumn and winter:
And if you’re looking for even more inspiration, browse our full range of winter bedding plants for a wonderful variety of scent and colour.
A stalwart of winter displays, pansies easily out-bloom any other winter flowering bedding plant. Although they prefer full sun, pansies also thrive in semi-shade making them ideal for filling winter hanging baskets and containers, as well as plugging gaps in your borders.
Plant Pansy ‘Frizzle Sizzle Mixed’ for a striking display that lasts until spring. With incredible flowering performance, these unusual, compact, frilly blooms reach a height and spread of 23com.
Bursting into life from early autumn, Primrose vulgaris doesn’t stop flowering for a good six months. Featuring small, pale yellow flowers, the rosettes of dark green foliage make superb ground cover in perennial borders, containers and woodland gardens. A hard-working and cheerful perennial, this pretty plant brightens the dullest months and, once established, returns every year.
One of our most popular winter bedding choices, the brightly coloured Pansy 'Matrix Mixed' features super-sized flowers in mauves, purples and blues through to warm oranges and yellows. Crisp pops of bright white bring the whole thing to life. Specially bred to produce compact sturdy stems with an excellent branching habit, these rainbow-coloured pansies withstand winter wind and rain without too much trouble.
A hardy bedding plant that likes sun or semi-shade, violas produce an abundance of dainty flowers on neat compact growth for a subtle but colourful winter display. As versatile as pansies, try 'Viola ‘Bunny Ears' if you’re looking to add some bounce to your baskets. Sweetly scented, hang them outside your kitchen window, or plant in pots by the back door.
Available in a dazzling array of colours and sizes, modern primroses offer improved flowering, especially during the winter months. Primrose 'Husky Mixed' starts producing rosettes of flowers from mid-winter onwards, providing a riot of colour to brighten winter beds, borders, window boxes and containers. Harden off your primroses on bright frost-free days before planting out, and water sparingly until the roots are established. Avoid over-watering containers because damp soil and chilly weather encourage rot.
Compact and bright, polyanthus plants look very similar to primroses except that the flowers bloom in umbels - clusters - atop short, sturdy stems. Just as colourful as their cottage garden cousins and with long-lasting flowers, polyanthus makes a superb winter bedding plant for beds, borders, window boxes and containers.
For a fragrant display, try Polyanthus ‘Firecracker’ which flowers from late winter through to May. Plant in sun or semi-shade, and deadhead regularly to encourage flowering.
Neat and compact, these hardy perennial daisies produce round, quilled blooms in pink, red or white, and are just the thing to brighten up your late winter garden. Grow on your plug plants until big enough to harden off for outdoor planting during the autumn.
For a really eye-catching variety try Bellis 'Bellisima Mixed'. The fancy pompom flowers offer a brilliant autumn colour injection into the garden! Short, compact plants, there are so many blooms you'll struggle to see the foliage.
These bright and sunny, honey-coloured faces are just what you need to get you through the coldest and darkest months of the year. With unique flower patterns and beautiful markings, Viola F1 ‘Sorbet Honeybee’ is an amazing variety. Compact and colourful, enjoy these golden blooms long into spring.
From the acclaimed ‘Husky Series’, Primrose 'Husky Raspberry Punch' adds a rosy glow to your winter garden. Superb colours and brilliant flower power make this vigorous F1 variety a good choice, even in inclement weather. Versatile and easy to grow, primroses are enduringly popular for their reliable performance year after year.
The ‘Coolwave’ pansy series has an exceptionally long flowering period, with an ability to bloom through spring, summer, autumn and winter. Pansy 'Coolwave Raspberry' has a gently cascading habit and a fast growth rate, making it an ideal choice for baskets and containers. Quickly knitting together to create a dense waterfall of colour, these plants are a good way to instantly fill any gaps left by spent summer bedding.
Whether you’re planting for autumn colour or a burst of interest in early spring, our top ten winter bedding plants should guarantee a successful display. Check out our winter flowers hub for inspiration on how to brighten up your winter garden, and find care advice and variety suggestions for the rest of the year at our bedding plant hub.