When to plant out bedding plants for beautiful and vibrant garden borders this spring, according to experts

Wait until the last frost has passed

Raised bed against a wooden shed with a tree, hosta and foxgloves
(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Knowing when to plant out bedding plants will make all the difference in whether or not you have yourself a beautifully cultivated garden throughout spring and ahead of summer.

As with any job in the garden, timing and climate play a huge role. So, it's no surprise that the secret to fleshing out successful flower bed ideas that will continue to thrive through the seasons boils down to working hand in hand with Mother Nature.

Whether you're simply looking to fill your garden border ideas with colour and variety, or are seeking out bedding plants that slugs hate to deter them from your plants and produce, knowing when to plant out bedding plants is an important tidbit of knowledge to be clued up on.

A raised bed planted with vegetable plants and a pink flowered shrub in the background

(Image credit: Future PLC/Emma Lee)

When to plant out bedding plants

'Climate, soil temperature, and plant maturity play a big role in when to plant bedding plants,' begins Jane Dobbs, team lead of gardening at Allans Gardeners. 'When transplanting bedding plants outdoors, you have to wait until the threat of frost is over and the soil has warmed up.'

'Bedding plants aren't hardy, so wait until the last frost before planting them,' urges Jane.

This can be anytime around the April, May, and June timeframe. However, every plant differs so it's important to check.

Raised flower bed with hosta, peony and rose

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

This is because frost is what determines bedding. Oftentimes, in many cases, the ideal time to plant several plant varieties is once the risk of frost has passed.

This goes for knowing when to plant sweet peas and the best time to plant summer bulbs (among many other things), for example.

Not only can the threat of frost kill bedding plants, but Jane explains that low night temperatures between 1-8°C can also pose a risk to bedding plants. This is especially true if the compost or soil is soggy, as roots can also die at these temperatures.

Vegetables growing in raised flower bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Howard Walker)

Dr Susanne Lux, project manager at Pelargonium for Europe explains that bedding plants like geraniums can be planted as early as March, depending on where you live in the UK – meaning you can get a head start on growing geraniums if you're lucky enough.

John Clifford, garden expert at Gardenstone adds that other common bedding plants that can be planted out once frost has passed include: petunias, pansies, violas, marigolds, and lobelia.

Raised bed against a wooden shed with a tree, hosta and foxgloves

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Tips for planting out bedding plants

Before planting out bedding plants, it's important to prioritise preparation ahead of bringing them out from a greenhouse or indoor container garden.

'You should prepare the soil and add some compost to it just to improve the soil structure and help the plants make a seamless transition. Make sure to water the plants as soon as they're planted as this will help them settle and thrive in their new location,' advises John.

'Most bedding plants prefer full sun, well-drained soil, and regular watering to thrive, but it really does depend on the exact variety,' he adds.


Is it too early to plant bedding plants?

Usually, around this time (late April to May) is safe to plant out bedding plants, given that the risk of frost has completely passed.

Should you make the mistake of planting out bedding plants too early, Dr Susanne explains that bedding plants like geraniums can usually regenerate, but only if just the leaves are frostbitten.

'The stems and roots must still be intact. However, we do not recommend planting geraniums outside when frost is still expected,' she advises.

Now, you can indulge in beautiful and vibrant garden borders all season long, without the risk of sacrificing all your hard work.

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.