Top Biennial Plants for UK Gardens

Forget-me-not mixed

Although there are very few true biennials such as our native Foxglove (Digitalis), most are actually short-lived perennials that perform much better when grown as a biennial plant. Usually seed is sown and germinated in summer and the plants are grown-on over-winter, ready for flowering the next year. Hence the term biennial, which literally means "every two years".

Because the plants are hardy and already mature by spring they usually flower much earlier. This makes them great companions for spring flowering bulbs. The main drawback is that they take up much needed space in late summer, when other late flowering plants could be more useful. However, to overcome this you can simply buy trays of pre-grown biennials from a garden centre, ready for planting out in early spring. Others, such as wallflowers, can also be purchased as bare root plants in early autumn.

The following selection of biennials are suitable for most domestic gardens in Great Britain (England/Scotland/Ireland):

hollyhock pink flowers

Alcea rosea

Bellis perennis (daisy)

Bellis perennis
English Daisy

Echium flowers

Viper's Bugloss

Cheiranthus (wallflowers)


sweet william flowers

Dianthus barbatus
Sweet William

Campanula Medium

Campanula Medium
Canterbury bells

Dianthus chinesis

Dianthus chinensis
Indian Pink

foxgloves pink flowers


Hesperis flowers

Sweet Rocket

Lunaria flowers


Myosotis (forget-me-not)

Forget me not