The Glory of Seedheads

Monday, 13 January 2020

We are great advocates for the glory of seedheads in gardens. They provide interest and structure in the winter garden as well as being important for wildlife. Birds will eke out the seeds whilst insects, and their eggs and larvae, will hide amongst the stems and seed heads and shelter or hibernate below. So, what are the best plants to grow which will provide interesting seedheads for the garden in autumn and winter? Here are our favourites…

Cynara Cardunculus (Cardoon)

This majestic perennial towers over the garden so make sure you have plenty space at the back of your borders. It’s purple thistle like flowers look wonderful in late summer but don’t cut them back once they have gone over. The cardoons will look great through winter and can also be used in dried flower arranging.

The majestic cynara cardunculus

Sedum “Autumn Joy”

Sedum flowerheads look great left during the winter to add shape and texture to your border. We advocate using the ‘Chelsea Chop’ technique on sedums – during the last week of May (Chelsea Flower Show week), cut one in every three stems back to the ground. This will produce plants that are less lush and flower slightly later.

Noodle as a puppy, hiding in the sedum!

Dipsacus fullonum (Teasel)

Teasel is a wonderful plant for wildlife, its flowerheads loved by bees. But once the flowers have gone over, be sure to keep them in place as they are prized by goldfinches (and florists!)

Foeniculum vulgare ‘Giant Bronze’ (Fennel)

The bronzed fennel produces plumes of feathery bronze-purple leaves with yellow flower heads in later summer. Leave these in place for spectacular structural treats when icy in winter.


Allium ‘Purple Sensation’

We love the purple lollipops of alliums that pop up in early summer. But leave the seedheads in place to keep that structure going throughout the season.

Eryngium (Sea Holly)

We love the structure of the sea holly and it’s striking blue flowers through late summer. The bees love them too! But the seedheads look just as strong so make sure you keep them in place for a double whammy of loveliness!

The thistle like sea holly has wonderful structure

Hopefully we have convinced you to add a few of these plants to your garden and to enjoy them for much longer periods of the year. And it helps wildlife to boot, bonus!

Happy gardening!


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