Seeds to Sow in November
November, the last month of autumn, provides gardeners with a much-needed opportunity to get outside and finish those jobs that should be carried out before the onset of rough winter weather.
The days are short and time spent outside should be put to good use. Mild conditions are perfect for a range of tasks: there are still a few seeds that can be sown, especially if you have a greenhouse or cold frame, to get ahead for next spring. There will still be crops left to harvest, and new additions to the garden that can be planted.
This is a month of falling leaves and dropping temperatures, and thoughts also turn to keeping the garden generally tidy (but not too perfect as to help create a home for wildlife) and protecting tender plants left in-situ outside. To see all seeds that can be sown in November, take a look here.
Top Seeds to Sow in November
Peas & Beans
There are few flavours more delicious than fresh garden peas.
Most are sown in spring but a few selections such as ‘Meteor’ can be sown now, either under glass or directly outside, as long as the weather is not too cold and you can protect the seed from mice and bird damage. Remember peas and beans will need somewhere to climb, so put support in place before sowing.
Seed should germinate and get into growth, making a head start next spring to provide early crops. Some varieties of broad bean can also still be sown, outside or under cover, again with the prospect of tasty early crops.
See all our Peas & Beans here.
Sweet Peas (under glass)
November is the perfect month to sow sweet peas for beautiful scented displays next year. By sowing now, you will have plants that are big enough to be planted out early next spring – multiple shoots provide a greater number of flowering stems.
Autumn-sown seed means the plants will be ready to flower earlier than those sown in spring. Sow seed into deep pots or root trainers (long, thin pots for sweet peas) under cover, ideally in a cold greenhouse or cold frame.
Care for young plants through winter, watering and protecting from mice that may nibble young seedlings, and your plants will be strong and ready for putting out in late March. Make sure you know how to care for your sweet peas with our guide to growing sweet peas.
Early November is a good time to sow yellow rattle seed.
This pretty yellow flowered semi-parasitic wildflower is the key to establishing wildflower meadows, as it helps to reduce the vigour of grasses, allowing other flowers a chance to grow well.
Seed of yellow rattle must be sown fresh and it needs a cold period to germinate. Simply broadcast it over short, mown, scarified rough grass with some bare earth showing, and then water it in.
Unwins Nature's Haven Yellow Rattle can still be sown this month!
Other seeds to sow now
Seeds to sow
Seeds to sow inside
- Seeds to sow directly outside (in mild areas)
- Cerinthe major
- Californian poppy (Eschscholzia californica)
- Honesty (Lunaria)
Seeds to sow
- Seeds to sow inside
- Mustard greens - as cut and come again
- Cauliflower for early planting next year
- Pak choi
- Winter lettuce
- Seeds to sow directly outside
- Broad beans
- Spring onions (best under a cloche)
- Winter purslane
- Lamb’s lettuce
- Winter lettuce
Seeds to sow
- Seeds to sow inside on a window sill
Caring for Plants
November is your last chance to protect tender plants such as bananas and tree ferns that remain outside for winter. Hardier bananas can be wrapped with straw and hessian or even lagged with bubble wrap, while tree ferns will need crowns protecting with straw. In cold winters they may also need their trunks protecting. Tender perennials such as cannas, gingers and dahlias left to take their chances outside can be mulched over with garden compost to keep them snug.
Potted plants can suffer through winter due to high winds blowing containers over, or severe frost damaging plants. Move them somewhere sheltered, such as by house walls to reduce damage. Keep an eye on watering. Potted plants can benefit from being placed on pot feet to aid drainage in wet weather, but watch out for dry spells at this time of year, which can go unnoticed.
Tulips can be planted in pots and borders from this month, because they are better planted late in the year to avoid tulip fire disease. Plant the bulbs at least twice their depth, ideally more.
As leaves begin to fall, clear those that drop on ponds, lawns and paving as a priority. They can be added to the compost heap or used to make leaf mould. Ponds that have trees nearby may need netting, but check regularly to see that birds or frogs have not become entangled.
Buddleias and tall roses can be cut back by about half this month to keep them tidy and to help prevent wind rock (where the main stem becomes loose in the ground).
Later ripening apples and pears will now be ready to harvest. Pick as many as you can and store before gales turn perfect fruits to damaged or bruised windfalls.
Quinces will still be picking at the start of this month, once they turn golden yellow. They need to be kept in a cool place until they give off a delicious scent. Medlars can be picked later in the month – they should be starting to soften (or ‘blet’) by then but may also need to be kept in a cool place until they become dark red and juicy.
Late-sown carrots will still be ready for pulling through this month.
Swiss chard, parsnips and celeriac be harvested in November.
The first brassicas such as Brussels sprouts and cabbages may well be ready to harvest later this month. Many people advise leaving Brussels sprouts to go through a few frosts, to improve the taste.
Thinking About Next Month
Buy festive houseplants for Christmas; poinsettia, Christmas cactus, azalea.
Begin pruning fruit trees and wisteria.
Take hardwood cuttings of plants such as roses.
Move any shrubs that are in the wrong place.