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What’s better than gorgeous plants to fill your garden? Free plants!

And self-seeders produce new plants for us every single year. If you want a fuss free garden, you can leave the places to their own devices as they require little intervention. If you leave them to bloom and set seed, these prolific varieties will fill every potential patch in the garden, to fulfil that desirable cottage garden style.

Here are my top 10 self-seeding plants:

Papaver rhoeas

Also known as the common poppy, this plant is well known for its seeds as well as its scarlet red flowers. A popular plant for pollinators, poppies will give a great start to a garden with a wildflower or cottage feel.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, North, West or East facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Loam, chalk or sand

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Aquilegia vulgaris (common columbine)

This is a cottage garden favourite that freely disperses its seeds, meaning that new plants will pop up. Often, the next generation will flower a different colour to the parent plant because they interbreed freely.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South or East facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand or loam

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Angelica archangelica (angelica)

Beautifully architectural, the thick stems branch out like fireworks with each one bearing a globe of tiny white flowers. Growing over 2 metres, it’s a lovely tall addition that pollinators will love too when it flowers in summer.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – North, East or West facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained or poorly drained
• Soil – Clay, chalk or loam

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Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove)

The foxglove is immensely popular in British gardens, and one of the only tall flowering plants that thrives in shaded conditions. Leave it to set seed and new spires of pendant purple flowers will brighten up your garden every year.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, West or East facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Well-drained or moist but well-drained
• Soil – Sand, clay, chalk or loam

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Myosotis sylvatica (garden forget-me-not)

A low-growing variety with delicate blue flowers that look stunning at the front of borders. This semi-evergreen flowers in spring and spreads like a carpet, so is perfect for a rockery, where it’s nectar will be enjoyed by bumblebees and butterflies.

• Sun – Partial shade
• Position – South, North, West or East facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Clay, loam or chalk

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Verbena bonariensis (purple top)

Tiny purple flowers bloom all summer to autumn on tall stems, growing up to 2.5 metres. Purple top will add height and structure in beds, whilst being appreciated by pollinators. Leave it to self-seed and it will pop up all over your plot.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South or West facing
• Exposure – Exposed or sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Clay, loam, chalk or sand

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Eryngium giganteum (Miss Willmott’s ghost)

A stunning architectural plant that has an egg-shaped head and silvery-grey bracts that join umbels of tiny of blue flowers. Adding some texture to the middle of your border as they grow to around 1 metre.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South or East facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Sand or loam

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Foeniculum vulgare (bronze fennel) ‘Giant Bronze’

Let this bronze fennel herb go to seed and it will reward you with more plants the following year. Yellow flowers bloom in mid to late summer and followed by aromatic seeds. In a sunny herb garden, this would be a marvellous centrepiece.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South or West facing
• Exposure – Sheltered
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Chalk, clay, sand or loam

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Lunaria annua (honesty)

Instantly recognisable by its translucent disc-shaped seed pods, they produce pink, purple or white flowers in summer, and the silvery seed pods follow and spread freely. The seedheads are also commonly used for dried flower arrangements, and look great in a vase.

• Sun – Full sun or partial shade
• Position – South, West of East facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Moist but well-drained
• Soil – Chalk, loam and sand

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Chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew)

This bushy perennial with pretty, daisy-like flowers and fragrant leaves is low growing and forms a nice carpet for the front of borders. It’s also a great choice for city and courtyard spaces as well as cottage gardens.

• Sun – Full sun
• Position – South, West or East facing
• Exposure – Sheltered or exposed
• Moisture – Well-drained
• Soil – Loam or sand

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Leaving self-seeding plants to their own devices may mean they pop up in unwanted places, but it’s easy to transplant them to exactly where you want them. By digging them up with a trowel, taking care not to disturb the roots, simply replant them in prepared soil at the same depth as the spot they were taken from and water them in well.

This selection will guarantee you a garden full of beautiful blooms year after year with their self-seeding propagation, whilst you can appreciate your low maintenance cottage garden.

Spring is on its way, see my post on spring pollinators:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

spring pollinators
Spring pollinators
Pinterest
Pinterest Board


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