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Gardening tips for April


As the weather begins to warm and the trees and hedges burst into blossom, April becomes a busy yet exciting month in the gardening calendar. Sown seeds are well under way, there’s new pot and border schemes to plan and plant, and dormant plants are slowly starting to reawaken. Plus, there might even be some sunny spells to look forward to!

Getting lots of gardening done this month will reduce your workload later when summer finally arrives, and all you want to do is sit back, relax and enjoy all your efforts. April is the perfect time to sow many winter vegetables seeds such as parsnips, carrots and brussels sprouts – ideal if you’re looking to include your own home grown produce in your Christmas dinner! It’s also the last chance to sow chilies and tomatoes, so what are you waiting for? Get growing!

While there’s lots to grow and plant outside, and the weather is becoming more gardener friendly, the inevitable April showers means that sometimes it might be too cold or wet to get any planting done. However, there’s still plenty of things you can do and prepare throughout the month both inside and out to make sure you’re set up for the best spring yet

Our gardening expert's top tips:

  • Sunny days in April can easily trick us into thinking the cold weather is finally past, but don’t be caught off guard! Frost can still creep up, especially early in the month, depending on where you live. Don't plant out tender bedding and patio plants just yet - keep them safe under cover in a growhouse, greenhouse or cold frame

  • Towards the end of the month, when all risk of frost has passed, you can start hardening off your well-nurtured young plants outside. Put them outside then bring them back indoors at night for about 7-10 days before planting in their final spot in your garden

  • Make sure to protect any young seedlings planted outside from pesky slugs - barrier granules work as an effective organic pest control

Wildlife friendly gardening


Planting wildlife-friendly plants and flowers in your garden provides pollinating insects like bees and butterflies with food and shelter. These insects are crucial to our environment and ecosystem. Many pollinating species in the UK are facing extinction, so it’s important to do your bit to help them out. Not only do you get to admire some gorgeous flowers, but you can also enjoy the gentle fluttering of wildlife in your own garden

There are hundreds of flowers suited to pollinators readily available to grow and plant. The easiest way to start growing is by scattering mixed wildflower seed packs and flowers for pollinators mixed seed packs in your beds – these grow beautifully for a meadow-garden feel. Popular plants such as Lavender, Heather, and Foxgloves are also ideal to grow. As well as flowers, herbs are also very attractive to pollinating insects - plant them in between flower patches, or dedicate an area to your own herb garden



  • Marigolds

  • Petunia

  • Sweet peas

  • Cosmos

  • Sunflowers

  • Lavender

  • Field poppies

  • Chillies (last chance to sow)

  • Tomatoes (last chance to sow)

  • Parsnips

  • Leeks

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Carrot

  • Onions and shallots

  • Broad beans

  • Early peas

  • Cauliflower

  • Beetroot

Lawn care


  • Now is the perfect time to get the lawnmower out and cut your grass for potentially the first time this year. Keep the blades set high for the first few cuts – if you have spring bulbs growing in your grass, wait 6 weeks after flowering before mowing the area so the old leaves can feed the bulbs for a good growth next year

  • Use a good lawn feed to help your lawn look its best

  • Tidy and define your lawn edges using a half-moon edging iron this is particularly effective in maximising the look of smaller gardens

  • Scarify lawns with a spring-tine rake to remove moss, dead grass and debris. This allows for more light and air to get to your grass as the weather warms

  • From mid-April, sow new lawns or re-seed bare patches on ground that has been pre-prepared, levelled and firmed - just make sure your soil isn’t still wet or cold. Alternatively, for quicker results, lay new turf and leave it undisturbed for a few weeks to allow time for new roots to establish


  • April is the ideal month for planting new flowers like our bedding plant of the month, Marguerites, which are great for adding summer colour, and Dianthus, which grow quickly in the warming soils

  • If you started sowings of hardy annuals, such as Nasturtiums, Pot Marigolds and Cornflowers under cover earlier last month, these can be planted out now. If not, there’s still time – sow seeds between existing border plants for a more natural look

  • Pots or strips of sweet peas can be planted out now. These could be ones you started sowing last month or plants bought in-store. Tie these to the base of wigwam supports made from bamboo canes or hazel sticks as they grow

Flowers to plant & grow in April


  • Troughs of alpines are easy to look after and make lovely features on patios, balconies, or wherever you can admire their colourful foliage and flowers. With a myriad of colours to choose from, as well as different styled troughs, alpines can be made to suit any garden style. Top-dress your alpine planter with grit, keep the foliage clean, and ensure water doesn’t collect around the base of the plant to have the prettiest alpines for months to come

  • There’s still time to plant summer flowering bulbs such as Dahlias, Lilies and Gladioli to ensure lots of lovely blooms early and throughout summer. The Dahlia is Dobbies’ April bulb of the month, and we have an exclusive variety ‘Bright Eyes’ that you won’t find anywhere else! Its unique purple and yellow flower adds vibrant colour to your garden, and is also pollinator friendly

  • Planting Aubretia and Saxifrage this month is essential if you’re looking to grow a pretty flower garden



  • Pull up any winter bedding plants in your tubs and baskets that have come to an end and replace them with a cheerful display of spring flowering bedding plants such as Pansies & Violas

  • If you’ve planted summer bulbs in pots and are still waiting for them to grow, be sure to add some spring bedding plants to the topsoil of these too for some instant seasonal colour

  • Towards the end of the month, plant up your hanging baskets with summer flowering tub and basket plants for fabulous flower display all summer long. Grow these under protection for now, only putting outside when all risk of frost has passed

April fruit & veg


  • Plant soft fruit such as raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrant and strawberries. Plant these into the ground, preparing your soil beforehand with farmyard manure

  • Continue to protect the blossoms of your apricot, peach and nectarine trees from any late frosts with protection fleece

  • Prepare vegetable beds for sowing by removing weeds and forking in plenty of farmyard manure. To help the soil to warm up quicker, consider covering prepared beds with cloches until you’re ready to plant. This will also help to keep the soil drier for easier seed sowing

  • Many vegetable varieties can be directly sown into your grounds this month, from Christmas dinner favourites like carrots and parsnips, as well as spinach and peas. If the weather turns chilly unexpectedly, make sure to protect your plants with a layer of frost protection fleece

  • Plant any remaining chitted first early, second early and maincrop potatoes once their shoots are at least 3cm long. You can plant these in pots and potato bags filled with Dobbies peat free compost or directly in the ground, feeding with potato fertiliser

  • Other vegetables such as cucumbers and courgettes can be sown under cover now, ready for planting out next month

Maintain trees & shrubs


  • Continue to plant new pot-grown hedges, trees and shrubs to add structural elements to your garden and habitat for wildlife

  • Plant pot-grown evergreens where you’re looking to grow hedges

  • Cherry Blossoms or our outdoor plant of the month, the Acer – also known as a Japanese Maple - are stunning trees to start planting in April. Some varieties can be grown in pots, making them perfect additions to gardens of any size

  • At the start of the month, complete the pruning of your summer flowering shrubs, such as Buddleia, Lavatera and roses. Early flowering shrubs such as Forsythia can be pruned if needed once finished flowering

  • Lightly fork a slow-release general purpose fertiliser into your borders as per the instructions on the packet. This is great for feeding all your hungry shrubs, herbaceous plants and roses - don’t forget to include your trees and hedges too!

Indoor gardening

Indoor gardening

  • Growing from the young plug plant stage is an economical way to raise good numbers of plants and is ideal for those who didn’t get around to sowing seed in good time earlier in the season. Plant young plants into small pots and grow in a warm, frost-free greenhouse or conservatory. For the young plants you started growing last month, it may be time to plant them out in the garden – just make sure all risk of frost has passed (read our guide on how to plant young plants). Our seasonal young plant range finishes at the end of April, so don’t leave it too long to start growing! 

  • Some of your seeds sown last month may already have started to sprout and make sufficient roots – if so, it’s time to prick out and pot on seedlings and cuttings. Do this when the first pair of true leaves appear

  • Sow tender annuals in a heated propagator so they germinate quickly and flower earlier

  • If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day, why not try creating your own terrarium? It’s a fun, easy activity that brings a bit of life and style to your home, plus a unique addition to any houseplant collection

  • Add some vibrancy to any room in your home with our houseplant of the month, the charming fern. They always look great in a hanging basket or on a shelf where their luscious leaves can trail over the sides


  • Spring clean your garden, keeping on top of weeding, jet-washing patios and paths, and getting rid of leaves and other debris

  • Touch up your shed or fence panels with a lick of fresh paint towards the end of the month – paint in morning and it’ll be dry by night

  • Once your garden comes to life, you’ll want to be able to get going right away - if you haven’t already, make sure you assess your gardening tool kit to see if you have all the essentials or if anything needs to be replaced. Clean your gardening tools thoroughly to prevent the spread of diseases amongst plants 

  • Mulch borders, hedges, trees, shrubs, and spring bulbs with fertiliser

  • Tie in stems of climbing roses and ramblers and apply rose food around the plants, mulching well for the season ahead

  • Place metal or bamboo plant supports around any existing plants already bursting into spring growth. By doing so now, the overall look is more natural, and any plant damage can be avoided

  • Consider installing a water butt to harvest rainwater from your roofs. It’s a great investment for the season ahead – not only is it more sustainable to reuse rainwater, but indoor and outdoor plants prefer natural rainwater to tap water, so your plants will be happier for it

Look after wildlife


  • Feed the birds with a variety of bird food, seed, and feeders, and hang birdhouses from your trees to provide shelter during these final few cold weeks

  • Consider putting a birdbath in your garden – not only can this make a beautiful feature and attract all different kinds of birds, but many water sources will still be frozen at this time of year - providing a clean drinking water will be extra helpful to our feathery friends

  • Feed fish in garden ponds if they’re becoming active and if the weather is warming up

We would love to see what you get up to in the garden this April, take a picture and tag us on socials with @dobbiesgardencentres for your chance to be featured on our social media channels