Our favourite April plants

Tulips in pots

At the start of April, I’m so impatient for spring flowers, that I find myself patrolling my garden, peering at flowerbuds to see which look likely to open soon. And there isn’t long to wait before pots are bursting with a riot of colours from spring bulbs, the air is filled with blossom and a wealth of delicate shade-lovers brighten previously gloomy spots. Here, we share our favourite April flowers. Our choices include recommendations from the Gardeners’ World team and familiar faces from across the gardening industry.

Find more April inspiration:

Libertia formosa

This evergreen perennial has spires of tiny flowers, emerging from clumps of sword-shaped leaves

Chosen by Sue Kent, Gardeners’ World presenter

My Libertia formosas are planted in semi-shade and in April, when they flower, their white, bowl-shaped flowers are striking in their elegance and simplicity against the evergreens that surround them.

Snake’s head fritillary

Fritillaria meleagris is ideal for naturalising in grass, but can also be grown in pots and borders

Chosen by Louise Curley, author of The Cut Flower Patch

I first saw the chequerboard, burgundy flowers of snake’s head fritillary growing en-masse in water meadows in Herefordshire. It’s now thriving in my new garden in Yorkshire in the heavy clay, often waterlogged soil where so many other bulbs wouldn’t survive.

Ornamental cherries

Ornamental cherries can provide an important source of early nectar for bees

Chosen by Jaime Johnson, outdoor educator and blogger

The cherry blossoms of early spring are one of my greatest delights. You can’t miss the fluffy pink clouds of blooms adorning attractively contrasting dark branches. I find them to be particularly spectacular when planted simultaneously in gardens fronting long urban streets. And there are plenty of varieties that are perfect for the smaller garden.

Pachyphragma macrophyllum

The large-leaved Pachyphragma is hardy, grows in most soil types and thrives in shade

Chosen by Nick Bailey, Gardeners’ World presenter

Illuminating the shady under-canopies of tree and shrubs this simple brassica-relative sparkles with clusters of white flowers in later winter and spring. It then strides on into summer with a mass of rounded ground-covering leaves, which take on purple tints as the temperature cools.

Lippia dulcis

Aztec sweet herb grows best in a sunny spot and needs protection over winter

Chosen by Arit Anderson, Gardeners’ World presenter

This plant doesn’t just look good, with its bronze-edged leaves, or its wonderful spreading habit, but it tastes fantastic too! Its leaves can be used in cooking or hebal teas. And it works well as groundcover or in a container.

Pelargonium tomentosum

The peppermint geranium has a minty scent, grows best in sun and needs winter protection

Chosen by Frances Tophill, Gardeners’ World presenter

Of the scented leaf pelargoniums, the tomentosum has to be one of the best because it smells so powerful and its leaves are large, zinging green and downy. It also has a lovely hanging habit that works really well in pots.

Tulip ‘Brown Sugar’

Tulip ‘Brown Sugar’ is a Triumph tulip and grows to around 55cm tall

Chosen by Michael Perry, presenter and plant lover

A plant that does exactly what it says on the tin – the most sumptuous brown-bronze petals, which shimmer bright orange with the sun behind them. And the fragrance… just wow – it is just like crushed brown sugar. It is mid-height, elegant and has been coming back for its second year in my own garden. If I could only grow one tulip ever, it would be this!

Lamprocapnos spectabilis

This hardy, herbaceous perennial will grow in shade and looks lovely in cottage-style plantings

Chosen by Lily Middleton, content creator

There’s something very evocative about Lamprocapnos spectabilis – certainly influenced by it’s tragically romantic common name of bleeding heart. It’s delicate pink, heart-shaped blooms are irresistible.

Anthriscus sylvestris

A biennial, or short-lived perennial, cow parsley self seeds freely, unless you cut off the spent flowers

Chosen by Emma Crawforth, horticultural editor

Humble cow parsley transforms the countryside and wilder gardens into a white froth and gives food and shelter to numerous insects. While varieties like ‘Ravenswing’ are beloved by garden designers.


Tulips are best planted in November, in a sunny spot, in pots or in well-drained soil

Chosen by Sinead Fenton, Aweside Farm manager

Tulips kick-started my love of flowers; I distinctly remember visiting some gardens in North London, years ago, and being transfixed by the display of tulips, all in colours and shapes I had never seen before. It was a real wow moment and opened up the door to flowers being much more interesting and varied than I was used to. That visit sparked a curiosity to start growing flowers alongside my veg. Years later, I’m still transfixed and now predominantly grow flowers!

Euphorbia epithymoides

Also known as cushion spurge, the foliage of this early-flowering euphorbia turns bronze in autumn

Chosen by Oliver Parsons, horticultural sub-editor

This utterly perfect hummock of lime-yellow flowers seems to get bigger every day through April, like a loaf rising in the oven. Euphorbia epithymoides is a winner through most of the warm season, but it’s in early spring, when everything around it is a sea of brown mud, that it really pays its rent. Cut it back hard in late autumn to get that hummock-shape next year.



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