Gardens Illustrated
Claire Harrup's illustration for Benjamin Pope's column
© Claire Harrup

What to plant in April

Published: April 13, 2022 at 12:47 pm
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Discover which flowers and vegetables to plant in April with the help of head gardener Benjamin Pope

Head gardener Benjamin Pope is here to make sure your garden looks great all year round. His new practical gardening magazine column series begins in April, and his tips on what to plant in April are a taster of what you can expect. For the full column, subscribe to Gardens Illustrated magazine. 

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What to plant in April

Spring is all about sowing seeds. As night temperatures can still drop below zero, it is wise to restrict outdoor sowing to hardy and half-hardy species. Annuals, such as Atriplex hortensis var. rubra, Calendula officinalis and Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’, are great for sowing directly into borders along with cornflowers, nigella and poppies.

Broad beans, peas and mangetout can also be sown direct into the soil, although you may already have some growing from autumn sowings. I also like to grow some on in modules in early spring and plant them out now as I sow another row, guaranteeing a longer harvest.

Tagetes 'Cinnabar'
Tagetes 'Cinnabar' © Maayke de Ridder

Beetroot, carrots, radish and spring onion can also be sown, though it might be worth waiting until the end of the month to ensure soil temperatures and conditions are more favourable. Indoor sowing can include tender veg to plant out next month, such as French and runner beans, pumpkins and squashes.

Winter squash ñ Uchiki kuri © Jason Ingram
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Tender ornamentals that I sow every year indoors include Amaranthus caudatus ‘Dreadlocks’, Coreopsis ‘Roulette’, Tagetes ‘Cinnabar’ and Tithonia rotundifolia. Their vibrant hot colours work so well through summer in both the garden and a vase.

Authors

Head Gardener of a private garden in West Sussex, Benjamin lectures, writes and judges for the RHS plant trials, whilst creating a market garden in the South Downs.

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