Growing Undercover in Autumn

Forward planning in your garden is one of the best things you can do to achieve a beautiful finish. Not to mention being rewarded with a beautiful display of flowers when the spring and summer arrives. You can successfully sow seeds over the cooler months and we’re here to show you how.

Annual flowers are most suitable for sowing in the autumn / winter seasons. They are very robust and can be sown in lower temperatures, still providing a beautiful spring and summer bloom. You’ll be presented with a much earlier flower display by planting in autumn. If you have access to a greenhouse, you will reap the benefit of a larger selection of annuals to choose from when sowing in the cooler months. The best time to sow your seeds is during September whilst the soil is still warm, this way you can retain some of the warmth provided from the summer sunshine, giving your seeds the best chance to grow. 

How do you sow your seeds?

Whether you’re growing in your greenhouse or directly into the soil in your garden, you should scatter the seeds across the soil surface or designate holes in a row for each seed to be planted. This is called broadcasting, or drilling. Both methods can achieve beautiful blooms, so long as your soil is weed free, free of fertiliser, and not too rich. 

If broadcasting your seeds, you should look to scatter your seeds over the section you plan to grow and lightly cover with your soil. You should encourage a gap between each seed and water. For drilling your seeds, divide your section into patches and place grooves running in offset directions to encourage a more natural looking growth. Like broadcasting, we encourage you have space between each seed, at least 15cm apart, followed by raking soil over your drills to cover them once you have planted the seed. You should water well and cover during the colder spells. 

For growing undercover in a greenhouse or cold frame, you can plant your seeds into smaller plots to encourage a strong start before removing them in the springtime and placing them straight into the soil in your garden, this way you will have instant flowers that have been protected throughout the autumn and winter from any harsh weather conditions. Top tip: You don’t have to have a large garden for a greenhouse or cold frame, you can actively buy a small greenhouse for the smaller garden!

The perfect annuals for autumn growing: 

  • Borage
  • California Poppy
  • Crepis Rubra 
  • Calendula.
  • Cerinthe.
  • Clary.
  • Cornflower.
  • Ammi.
  • Borage.
  • Briza.

It’s important to have a good clear out of your garden waste, dead leaves and flowers in your garden and greenhouse before embarking on planning your blooms for the following year. The earlier you prepare, the better your garden will be.