Growing plants in your garden can make it a more attractive environment, help pollinators, and even provide you with fresh, home-grown veggies to eat. To inspire your green fingers, here are 15 of our favourite plants to grow in the UK over summer:
Add flower power to your garden with pelargoniums. These tender geraniums produce colourful blooms throughout the summer, and are a great choice for hanging baskets, containers, and windowsill planters. Plant them in late spring and early summer, after the last frosts have passed.
If you want to start growing your own food, carrots are one of the easiest places to start. Sow these colourful veggies in containers, from mid-spring to early summer. The crops will be ready to harvest in 3 – 4 months, and will make the perfect accompaniment to a salad or roast dinner.
You can’t beat sunflowers for adding a colourful, positive feel to your garden – they’re the epitome of summer flowers. They’re also easy to grow, and a great option for children. Sow seeds from mid-spring until early summer, and look out for their yellow and orange blooms come August.
- Agapanthus ‘African Lily’
The Agapanthus ‘African Lily’ produces spheres of bright blue and purple flowers, from mid-summer to autumn. It is popular as a container plant, and will add tropical colour to borders. The plant originates from South Africa, so make sure to choose a sunny spot for it, and bring it inside over winter.
Crocosmia’s upright stems with sheaves of red, orange and yellow flowers are an easy way to add tropical colour to your garden over summer. Crocosmia is a low maintenance plant, which grows well in most soil types, and favours a sunny, or partially sunny, location.
The purple, bell-shaped, pendant flowers of common foxglove are sure to make an attractive addition to your garden borders this summer. Sow seeds in late spring, and make sure to deadhead after flowering. Foxglove is toxic when ingested, so it’s best avoided in households with children and pets.
- Iris sibirica
For more violet vividness in your garden, try the Iris sibirica. You can expect the small, purple-blue flowers of this perennial plant – also known as Siberian flag iris – to appear in May, and remain until early autumn. It prefers a moist soil, but must not be waterlogged.
Lettuce plants can be sown almost year-round, and will produce crops in a matter of weeks. Sow seeds in early summer, and you could be enjoying crispy, home-grown lettuce in your salads and sandwiches, well into the autumn. Bear in mind that you will need to protect young plants from birds, slugs and snails.
Peonies are popular herbaceous perennials, which produce large, brightly coloured flowers – perfect for summer. They need a fair amount of space, and do best in full sun. Plant potted plants out in late spring, enjoy the blooms until mid-summer, and then prune in autumn.
Gypsophila, also know as ‘baby’s breath’ is a bushy plant with narrow leaves, and copious amounts of small, white flowers. It makes a pretty, and somewhat ethereal, addition to your garden – especially if you chose a variety such as ‘Bristol Fairy’. Gypsophila is a hardy plant, and grows well in the UK climate.
Fill your garden with fragrance – and help the bees – by growing lavender this summer. Lavender’s distinctive scent is accompanied by grey-green foliage and pretty purple flowers, which appear from late spring, into summer. It is generally a hardy plant, and easy to grow – just make sure your soil has good drainage.
Basil is a great choice for those with limited or no outdoor space, as it grows well in pots, and can flourish on a sunny windowsill. Start seeds anytime from early spring to mid-summer, and you can expect tasty leaves – perfect for pasta or pesto – well into the autumn. Want to expand your herb garden? Try growing oregano, sage, parsley and mint too.
Add late-flowering dahlias to your garden this summer, and you’ll be able to enjoy their colourful, showy blooms until the first frosts begin. Dahlias come in a wide range of colours and shapes, so there’s one to suit every garden. Grow smaller varieties in containers, or add taller cultivars to your borders.
To further brighten up your borders this season, try growing shrubby hydrangea. Its conical flower heads, in shades of white, pink or blue, appear from mid-summer to autumn. If you don’t have space in your borders, try a climbing variety, and encourage it to weave up a trellis or fence instead.
Fuchsia’s vivid, pink and purple tubular blooms are one of the most easily recognisable flowers. Hardy varieties can be planted as flowering hedges, whilst more tender options are perfect for container growth, and will make a striking addition to your garden this summer.