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Planting Calendar UK: Month by Month

planting calendar uk
by Ally North Ally North

Are you a plotter or a pantser when it comes to gardening? Do you sit down at the start of the year with a notebook, planning out all your tasks for the year, plant-by-plant and month by month?

Or are you easily distracted by plants? Always seem to bring one or more back from your travels? Do you squeal with glee when you find a space in the border and rush to fill it, only to find the plant you’ve chosen isn’t quite right?

Whichever type you are, it can be a good idea to know the best time of year to plant your trees, shrubs, perennials and climbers. Not only will you get better results, but you can also get better deals on plants by planning ahead and spreading the work throughout the year. That’s why we’ve put together this handy UK planting calendar to help you make sure that you’re adding the best plants of the season at exactly the right time for them to thrive.

What to plant in…

What to plant in January

Bare root trees, hedges and rose bushes.

January is a strong contender for the bleakest month of the gardening year, but if your soil’s not frozen, you can still plant bare root trees, hedges and roses. If you have a heated propagator, you could try starting off some seeds indoors and I think this is the time of year I got my hydroponic system too - the urge to grow is strong! If you’re looking for excuses to go outdoors, there’s still lots of winter pruning and other jobs to do, and you could even plant up a winter container to brighten up those dark days.

planting bare root roses

What to plant in February

Bare root plants.

February is all about the preparation - if the weather allows, you can still get out into the garden and dig over your beds, check your climbing plant supports and trim the hedges. 

And if you haven’t yet planted your bare root plants for the year ahead, wait for a day with no frost or rain and get out there! It can really benefit our mental health to spend as much time outdoors as possible at this time of year. If you need inspiration, here are some more garden jobs you can be doing right now.

bare root tree

What to plant in March

Bare roots, summer flowering bulbs and wildflower seeds.

March is when the gardening year really kicks off, with the soil warming up and new growth beginning. The trick here is not to jump in with both feet and plant everything straight away - you can certainly start off plants indoors but wait until the last frosts have passed to plant outside. There’s still time to plant bare root plants (but get them in ASAP!), and now you can add summer flowering bulbs like dahlias, alliums and gladioli. It’s also a good time to establish a wildflower patch by sowing seeds directly into the soil.

Planning a wildlife garden? Now is a great time to start.

sowing seeds

What to plant in April

Perennials, climbing plants and potted trees.

In milder areas of the UK, you might have waved goodbye to the winter frosts, but in most places it’s best to wait until mid May (you can check your area’s last frost dates here). Once it’s safe, you can start planting your perennials, climbing plants and potted trees. Don’t forget to mulch around your shrubs, perennials and trees and top dress your containers by adding a fresh layer of compost, as well as dividing any perennials which have grown too big for their beds.

planting perennial

What to plant in May

Perennials, annuals, patio plants and shrubs.

It’s here! The month in which at some point you can wave goodbye to the risk of frost and get on with some serious planting. Foliage perennials will be fine outdoors now, as will patio plants like lavender, geraniums and summer flowering shrubs including hydrangea, buddleja and escallonia. If you’re planting annual flowers, it’s a good time to get those in their containers, and if you haven’t put up your hanging baskets, what are you waiting for?

hanging basket

What to plant in June

Flowering perennials, pond plants and shrubs.

Longer days and warmer temperatures mean more time for gardening. It’s time to plant all the things, including late summer flowers like dahlias, rudbeckia and echinacea as well as pond plants. If you make a patio pond now it will take off quickly and start attracting wildlife before you know it. June is also the time for checking on your flower borders. Cut back the spring flowering perennials which may have finished now, such as aquilegia, plug gaps with new plants and continue to divide any plants which may have outgrown their space, making new plants in the process.

patio pond

What to plant in July

Perennials, potted trees and roses.

It’s boom time in the garden! Your perennials will be in full flow - the downside is that so will the weeds, so you’ll need to spend some time keeping on top of them (or plant some good ground covers which will do the job for you). You can keep on planting potted perennials as well as potted trees and shrubs including roses. Make sure to keep your new plants well watered and deadhead any flowers that have finished to make sure you get new ones throughout the summer. After all of this garden work, you deserve a cold drink in the shade while you admire your handiwork.

patio rose

What to plant in August

Late flowering perennials.

August is (hopefully) the hottest month of the year, when the garden is looking lush and you can really enjoy the fruits of your labours. If sitting back and relaxing isn’t your bag of compost, however, there’s still plenty of garden jobs to do and lots to plant. Plant out large pots of late summer perennials like dahlias, sedums, salvias, rudbeckia and crocosmia now and you’ll be able to enjoy them right into autumn. The flowers will last until the first frosts arrive, and of course they’ll be back again bigger and better next year.

orange dahlias

What to plant in September

Autumn flowering plants.

If you haven’t planted any new perennials, trees or shrubs this year, you certainly haven’t missed the boat. September’s reasonably warm temperature teamed with increased rainfall adds up to the perfect planting conditions for autumn flowering plants to establish quickly. Collect seeds from any perennials that have finished flowering and plant them where you want or save them for seed swaps. This is also the ideal time to plant spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and crocus, as well as starting your hyacinths in pots ready for Christmas.

daffodil bulbs

What to plant in October

Clematis, spring flowering bulbs and winter containers.

If there’s an ideal time to plant a clematis, that time is NOW. Get yours in the ground now and the autumn rainfall, shadier afternoons and decreased numbers of pests mean it will establish well and make a strong show from spring onwards. You can also carry on planting bulbs and making patio containers with winter flowering plants like camellias, hellebores and viburnum. 

If you can get your hands on some bare root plants, you can start planting them now as long as the ground isn’t too wet.


What to plant in November

Hellebores, magnolia and hedging.

The garden is slowing down now in many respects, with shorter days and more frosts but the good news is that we’re now firmly into bare root season. Lasting roughly from November to March, when plants are dormant, it’s the best time of year to get trees, hedging and roses planted, provided the ground isn’t frozen or flooded. Winter flowering shrubs, climbers and perennials can also be planted now, including hellebores, camellias, winter jasmine, Cirrhosa clematis varieties and magnolia trees.


What to plant in December

Evergreens, bare roots and shrubs.

While everyone else is going on about blankets and hot chocolate and hygge (whatever that is), there’s plenty to do in the garden if you need to escape! Keep planting those bare roots, as well as evergreen potted trees and winter flowering shrubs like sarcococca, viburnum and mahonia. December is also a good time to get a head start on the spring jobs like cleaning greenhouses, cold frames and tools, mending or replacing any broken trellises and plant supports and of course the most fun job of all - browsing online and planning what you’re going to plant next year!

small conifer

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