Growing plants from seed is a hugely rewarding process and can provide you with quick colour from fast-growing annuals, as well as beautiful flowering perennials that will come back year after year.
One of the benefits to sowing annuals is the versatility they provide. Annual climbers like Canary creeper (Tropaeolum peregrinum) and Spanish flag (Ipomoea lobata) can be used to create a stunning container display, while others like cosmos and poppies can be sown to form annual beds or meadows.
Here are seven flower seeds to sow in April, for sensational blooms in summer and autumn.
These short-lived, majestic perennials are masters at providing height at the back of beds and borders. Sow them under cover from March to May and you’ll have beautiful crimson umbels from May to September, which will be covered with bees and butterflies all summer long. You could also try sowing Angelica archangelica, from May onwards.
Large purple flowerheads and foliage of Angelica gigas
Nicotianas have a seductive fragrance, which is especially pronounced at night. Sow nicotiana in March and April, then plant out in their final position around seating areas, to enjoy the scent on summer evenings. Nicotiana sylvestris has elegant, drooping flowers, while those of Nicotiana alata ‘Tinkerbell’ are an attractive terracotta colour.
Magenta nicotinia flowers
Cosmos come in a beautiful array of colours and shapes, including perfumed chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) and many cultivars of Cosmos bipinnatus. Here are 10 beautiful cosmos to grow.
White cosmos flowers
This includes the orange California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), corn poppies (Papaver rhoeas) and larger opium poppies (Papaver somniferum). They can all be sown from March to May, for blooms in summer and autumn. Here’s how to sow hardy California poppies outdoors.
Red and mauve opium poppies
Aptly known as the bunny’s tail grass, this fluffy grass is a pleasing partner to other annuals and perennials like Verbena bonariensis, which can also be sown now. Sow Lagurus ovatus indoors, in pots or trays sited in a warm place. Alternatively, direct the sow the seeds outdoors from April onwards, where you want them to flower.
A mass of oval, cream bunny’s tail grass flowerheads beside purple Verbena bonariensis flowers
This spectacular perennial, here Monarda didyma ‘Cambridge Scarlet’, can be sown from late winter to spring, on the surface of a good seed compost. Keep the soil moist, then cover the seeds to stop them drying out. Pot up the seedlings when large enough to handle, then plant out in full sun or partial shade.
Brilliant red flowers of bergamot ‘Cambridge Scarlet’
This vigorous annual climber, also known as Spanish flag, will put on a dazzling show over the summer months, producing cascades of fiery red and yellow flowers, which look fantastic in annual container displays. Sow it under cover from March to May, then plant out after the last frosts. Here’s how to sow annual cimbers.
Red, orange and yellow flowers of Spanish flag