Cottage Garden Plants Suitable For The UK


Your UK garden is like an ever-evolving art exhibition, displaying a kaleidoscope of colors and varieties all year long, thanks to our unique climate and abundant biodiversity.

After all, who wouldn’t want to recreate a picture-perfect cottage garden, a scene seemingly lifted straight from a Thomas Kinkade painting?

A large number of people in the UK engage in gardening as a hobby. It’s not just a pastime; it’s a way to reconnect with nature and unwind. But not all plants thrive in the UK’s climate, with its fluctuating weather patterns.

That’s why, before you don your gloves and dig in, it’s critical to know which cottage garden plants are suitable for the UK.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a green-thumbed novice, we’re here to guide you. Let’s embark on this journey together, creating a breathtaking cottage garden with plants that not only survive but thrive in your English backyard.

10 cottage garden plants suitable for the UK 

1. Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea)

Foxgloves, with their tall, graceful stems and bell-shaped flowers, are true showstoppers. They’re beloved by bees and butterflies, making your garden a haven for these helpful pollinators. Plus, they’re surprisingly low maintenance and can cope well with the UK’s varying climate.

2. Lavender (Lavandula)

Lavender, oh sweet lavender! With beautiful purple blooms and a calming scent that’s second to none, it’s a must-have. It thrives under the UK sun and loves well-drained soil. Plant it near walkways or seating areas where you can enjoy its fragrance most.

3. Roses (Rosa)

What’s a garden without roses? Especially in the UK, roses are a classic choice, offering both visual beauty and an unforgettable aroma. Traditional English roses are an excellent fit for any cottage garden.

4. Geraniums (Geranium)

Hardy and beautiful, geraniums are perfect gap fillers for your garden. They offer vibrant blooms throughout the summer, and they’re straightforward to care for, even for a beginner.

5. Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

Nothing says ‘cottage garden’ quite like sweet peas. With their sweet scent and tendency to climb, they’re perfect for adorning fences or trellises. They also come in a variety of colours, from soothing pastels to vibrant hues.

6. Delphiniums (Delphinium)

If you want to add a bit of drama to your garden, go for Delphiniums. Their tall spires of bright blue flowers make a statement, and they love a sunny spot. But remember, they can be a bit top-heavy, so they may need a little support.

7. Hollyhocks (Alcea Rosea)

Hollyhocks are an old-fashioned favourite in any cottage garden. Their large, colourful blooms are perfect for adding height to your borders. And they’re not picky; they’re happy to grow against walls and fences.

8. Poppies (Papaver)

Poppies offer a burst of colour that’s hard to beat. They’re pretty low maintenance and the best part? They can self-seed, naturally cropping up in different corners of your garden.

9. Daisies (Bellis perennis)

Simple yet charming, daisies are a delightful addition. They’re hardy, so they’ll stand up well to the UK’s changeable weather. And who can resist those classic white and yellow flowers?

10. Clematis (Clematis)

Clematis is a climber, perfect for adding some vertical interest to your garden. It showcases large, impressive flowers that come in a variety of colours. So, whether you have walls, fences, or trellises, clematis is ready to climb.

Make sure to consult professional gardeners in London before you pick cottage garden plants! 

Designing a cottage garden

Despite its seemingly haphazard appearance, careful planning lies behind the beautiful disorder of a cottage garden. The following steps will help you design a perfect cottage garden: 

1. Key elements of a cottage garden

A wide variety of plants is at the heart of a successful cottage garden. Climbers, perennials, shrubs, herbs, and roses – they all find a place here. Think about colours and scents too, planning your garden so there’s something in bloom all year round. Traditional elements like stone paths, picket fences, and archways can also help create that classic cottage garden feel.

2. How to plan and design a cottage garden

First, sketch your available space. Remember, straight lines and symmetry are out. Cottage gardens thrive on informal layouts. Curved paths, random planting – these are your friends. Also, keep in mind your soil, sunlight, and local climate conditions. This will help you choose suitable plants that will thrive in your garden.

3. Cottage garden design ideas and inspirations

Imagine overflowing flower beds, punctuated by bright blooms of roses, foxgloves, and delphiniums. Picture climbers like clematis and wisteria, framing fences and arches. And let’s not forget about herbs – they’ll add a delightful aroma to your garden.

4. Cottage garden design tips for different spaces

Space is no issue when it comes to cottage gardens. They’re just as charming in a small patio or urban balcony as they are sprawling across a large lawn. In smaller spaces, you can try vertical gardening with climbers and hanging baskets.

With a larger area, the possibilities are endless – winding paths leading to hidden nooks and crannies can create a garden full of surprises.

Related: 14 Best Cottage Garden Flowers That Have Old-Fashioned Charm


Designing a cottage garden

Maintaining a Cottage Garden

Keeping up a cottage garden can feel like a labour of love, but it’s a job that rewards you tenfold. When cared for properly, these gardens transform into a paradise, packed with colourful, fragrant blooms. So, let’s delve into the art of maintaining a cottage garden.

1. How to care for cottage garden plants

Cottage garden plants have diverse needs, but they all share a love for rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. Make sure to water them regularly, especially during dry spells. Compost is a cottage garden plant’s best friend – mixing it into your soil annually will keep your plants happy and healthy. Also, make sure you keep the ants away from your plants. 

2. Common challenges and solutions in maintaining a cottage garden

Cottage gardens aren’t without their challenges. Pests and diseases can be an issue. Regular checks can help you spot trouble early and take action. Remember, a healthy plant is a pest-resistant plant – and the key to health is good soil and proper watering. Consider using coffee grounds to improve your garden soil quality.

Space can be another challenge. With their fondness for a packed, chaotic look, cottage gardens can sometimes feel a bit overcrowded. Pruning and periodic rearranging can help ensure every plant gets its moment in the sun.

3. Seasonal care tips for a cottage garden

Every season brings its own set of tasks in a cottage garden. Spring is all about planting and mulching, while summer is the time for watering and deadheading. In the fall, you’ll be busy cutting back perennials and raking up leaves. Come winter, it’s time to rest, plan, and prepare for another year of cottage gardening magic. Remember, each season is a step on the journey to a thriving cottage garden.

Cottage garden accessories

Sprucing up your garden is not just about the right choice of plants; it’s also about accessorising. Let’s talk about how you can amplify the charm of your cottage garden with some delightful accessories.


cottage garden with flowers

1. Essential accessories for a cottage garden

Every cottage garden has its own personality, but there are a few accessories that feel right at home in almost any cottage-style setting.

First, consider adding a classic bird bath. It’s not just an ornament; it’s a water source for your garden visitors. The chirping of birds can bring your garden to life.

Next, garden benches or rustic chairs offer a perfect spot to sit, relax, and take in the beauty of your garden. Remember, the goal is comfort as much as it is style.

Lastly, don’t forget about garden arches or trellises. They’re a great way to add height to your garden and provide support for climbing plants like roses or clematis.

2. How to choose and use accessories in a cottage garden

Choosing the right accessories for your garden can be as personal as choosing the plants themselves. The key is to reflect the cosy, relaxed vibe of a cottage garden.

When choosing accessories, go for those that are both beautiful and functional. Bird baths or feeders, for instance, look great and attract wildlife to your garden.

Placement is equally important. Try to integrate your accessories organically. A bench under a shady tree or an arch covered with climbing roses can be stunning focal points.

Remember, your garden is an extension of your home, so choose accessories that you love and that contribute to the atmosphere you’re trying to create. Your garden should be a place where you can relax, unwind, and enjoy nature’s beauty.