Popular Summer Plants for UK Gardens

When it comes to adding color to your garden this summer, bedding plants don’t all have to be marigolds and petunias! As well as the more traditional bedding plants, there are a huge number of annual bedding options to choose from.

Many of these are grown for a variety of different reasons, including fragrance, height, and hue. From sweet peas to cornflowers, to zinnias and Rudbeckia, there are plenty of popular summer plants for UK gardens that can suit all tastes.

Certain species, including petunias and geraniums (also known as Pelargoniums) come in the shape of frost-tender perennials. These plants are treated as annuals and require protection from the frost, whilst others are hardy annuals and can be sown directly outside.

Nearly all summer bedding plants can be grown from seed, however, it’s important to note there is usually lots of work involved when opting for this method, right through from germination to pricking out the tiny seedlings.

If you have little time to spare or see yourself as an amateur gardener, choose bedding plug plants instead.


This has to be one of the most versatile summer bedding plants in existence. For this reason alone, Begonias are popular options when it comes to summer plants for UK gardens. They come in the shape of flowers with oversized, flamboyant blooms.

They’re also available in a wide range of hues, which means they’re suited to almost every style of garden. They’re capable of growing in both sunny and shady spots and flower continuously throughout the summer months, right up until the first sign of frost.

These plants come in two variants – upright and trailing. They’re also suited to borders, beds, hanging baskets, and window boxes. Certain species, including that of Begonia ‘Non-stop Mocca’ showcase rich, dark leaves.

Tuberous Begonias get bigger and better each year as they can be lifted and stored over the winter months, whereas Begonia semperflorens cultivars, such as Begonia ‘Lotto Mixed’ should be treated as annual bedding plants.

Sweet peas

If you’re looking for cottage garden bedding plants, look no further than sweet peas. These impressive plants can reach an impressive height of up to six feet tall.

Many will allow them to grow up obelisks, netting, or wigwams. There is also a ground cover option, in the shape of dwarf sweet peas. These are ideal for borders and the front of beds.

With their many hues and delightful fragrances, it is little wonder their hugely popular summer bedding plants. You can also bring them indoors when cut, to add both fragrance and colour to the home.

Busy Lizzie

These species of plant are the perfect option for borders and shadier beds. They produce large flowers in a range of vibrant colors, including every shade from pink through to red, to a range of purples and white.

New Guinea Impatiens have taken over from the previously popular Impatiens walleriana, yet despite this, they share the same much-loved characteristics.

They boast a lengthy flowering period and enjoy a bushy mounding habitat in partial shade. When fully grown, they form big spreading plants and are ideal as ground cover in both beds and borders. They also work well in patio containers.


This common summer plant comes in the shape of a hardy, sun-worshipping plant that prefers warm, dry conditions. When in the right conditions, they bloom all summer long. This versatile bedding plant includes trailing, climbing and upright varieties.

These species tend to be used for beds, borders, hanging baskets, patio containers, and obelisks. They are predominantly available in hot shades of pink, white, and red. They also come in a number of subtler shades, including lilac, apricot, and deep burgundy.


With their architectural flower spikes and extremely long flowering period, Antirrhinums are a prevalent choice when it comes to summer plants. They feature fascinating mouth-like flowers that open when squeezed. They come in a huge range of bold and vibrant hues.

They’re also available in many sizes, from dwarf plants (which measure around 25cm) to larger variants, including the Antirrhinum ‘Royal Bride’ (which reaches a height of 90cm). These blooms also make superb cut flowers, whilst adding height to beds and borders.

They also attract an abundance of wildlife to the garden, including bees, as they are a good source of nectar.


The delicate flowers of lobelia add idyllic dense waterfalls of colour to containers and hanging baskets. There is also an upright variety, which is often used to edge borders and flower beds. They’re extremely easy to grow and flower for a lengthy amount of time.

They’re also the perfect complement to any summer bedding scheme or hanging basket. They traditionally come in shades of purple, cool blue, and white.


This summer bedding plant boasts some of the most exciting blooms! Their large trumpet flowers come in hot shades and brandish interesting patterns, including picotees and stripes.

These energetic half-hardy annuals can be used as upright or trailing plants, and look spectacular when spilling over the sides of hanging baskets, containers, and window boxes.

They’re also a popular option for beds and borders. Some species, such as Petunia ‘Purple Tower’, can even be trained to climb a frame! They come in picture-perfect shades of mauve, lilac-blue and rich purple.


Annual rudbeckias, often referred to as coneflowers, are the ideal option for those looking for something a little more robust in style. They’re also a popular summer plant for UK gardens, as they tend to flower from July through to October.

They’re a great addition to any garden that requires a vibrant hit of colour, as they add a fiery element to any display, with shades of red, orange, and yellow. They also come in different variants, including a number of compact varieties such as Rudbeckia ‘Toto’.

These are the perfect options for flower beds and patio containers. If you’re looking for a taller variety, opt for the Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’. These work well in beds and borders or alternatively, placed between perennials and shrubs.

Asides from complementing the garden, rudbeckias make excellent, cut flowers that boast a lengthy vase life.

Start growing some plants. Should you prefer flowers or plants, garden centers, and online florists have an abundance of choice, many of which offer same and next day flower delivery.

Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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