Warm weather will diminish spring effect, say gardeners

Warm temperatures could have implications for spring flowers, with less defined displays than in previous years, gardeners have suggested.

Warm weather is causing a number of plants to flower as much as two months earlier than usual. In 2010, the UK had one of the coldest Decembers on record.

But last year returned to warmer temperatures, which reached as high as 14.5 degsC. As a result, spring plants such as snowdrops, camellias and crocuses are already flowering, while some autumn-flowering plants have remained in bloom.

Ed Ikin, head gardener at the National Trust's West Sussex Nymans Estate, said the cold winters of the past three years led to more defined seasonal displays. "The danger of a milder winter is that there might be a less concerted spring display, with things coming out in dribs and drabs," he said.

Ikin added that some plants were flowering two months early. "At Nymans we haven't really had consecutive frosts," he said. "We've had two, but neither was particularly hard, not going below -3 degsC.

"The most distinctive example has been camellias, which we had flowering in late December. We also have two crocuses flowering and snowdrops are coming out.

"We are about two months ahead. The plants haven't had anything to tell them that it's winter. It's surprising that these natural mechanisms are often quite crude - it's just temperature."

Chris Clennett, garden manager at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, added: "Plants we expected to finish one or two months ago have carried on and plants that would normally have stopped flowering carried on."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next



These heralds of spring are highly suited to being planted in tree circles, grass and rock gardens, says Miranda Kimberley.

Sargent's solutions - tips on how to optimise your application for a gardening job

Sargent's solutions - tips on how to optimise your application for a gardening job

Making your job application stand out can be key to landing a senior or head gardener position, Alan Sargent explains.



These versatile, evergreen shrubs can flower from October right through to the end of May, Miranda Kimberley finds.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.


Free to subscribers, the essential guide for professional plant buyers

Download your copy

Products & Kit Resources