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Early-Flowering Plants in Cornwall

Early flowering plants in Cornwall include many of the same species that might be found nationwide - the flowers, daffodils and camellias of spring are certainly not exclusive to Cornwall - but something of a 'Cornish Spring' comes into being when these famous plants can be seen together in bloom. There are camellias and rhododendrons that can be found around every bend, narcissi and violets on all the roadsides and hedgerows. Early-flowering plants that are seen in Cornwall. The first open buds have already been spotted around Trefewha Farm!

Importance of early-flowering plants in Cornwall

Many animals depend on early flowering plants as a source of food in the spring. For example, hoverflies depend on nectar and pollen from the flowers of species such as sallow and dandelion. Early-flowering plants also provide crucial sources of food for bumblebees, solitary bees, and other pollinating insects when little else is in flower. This may be particularly important in Cornwall, where the short, mild climate enables a large number of insects, and with emerging pests and diseases such as the varroa mite, any additional resources are likely to contribute to the success of colonies. In addition to this, early flowering plants also play an important ecological role. Early flowering may allow a plant to become established early in the season, increasing its chances of survival and reproduction. An increase in early flowering may mean an increase in mixed species flower meadows.

Factors influencing the early flowering in Cornwall

The length of day, or photoperiod, is a significant factor influencing early-flowering plants. Photoperiod is a crucial aspect of climate change adaptation in plants specifically as it plays a major role in the evolution of their mating systems and flowering time. The later the sunset, the longer the days, which typically affect flowering in plants.

Popular Early-Flowering Plants in Cornwall

Let's take a look at some of the most popular early-flowering plants you'll find in Cornwall. Daffodils are the iconic flower of the region. They are at their best during late February and early March. You will find these plants all over the south-west during this time, as they are synonymous with Cornwall and the start of spring. There are events and festivals that take place across the region to celebrate the iconic flower. Snowdrops and primroses are also extremely popular and start to blossom in early February through to March. Crocuses are another welcome sight from February onwards in Cornwall. Camellias, with their glossy green leaves and petals of pink, red, white and yellow colours, are also a true sign that spring is on its way.


Daffodils are so commonly found across Cornwall in early spring, that it seems impossible for any first-time visitor to miss them. They grow in woods and fields all across the duchy, and in particular, along road verges. A plant of dry and well-drained sandy and loamy soils, they grow in both acidic and alkaline soils. Daffodils are in fact so easy and robust that they once spontaneously colonised an old churchyard at Rosudgeon within a 25-year period.


Snowdrops are delicate white flowers which are one of the first signs that spring is approaching. They can often be seen all through Cornwall’s country lanes. The best place to view snowdrops is in the grounds of some of Cornwall’s most magnificent gardens, and the estate at Lanhydrock is certainly no exception. Snowdrops are in flower from January onwards and the Lanhydrock estate is particularly well suited for growing snowdrops, due to its mild and moist climate and acidic soil composition.


Each year, many thousands tourists flock to Cornwall to see the primrose, an iconic flower of the Cornish countryside. There are numerous places to see primroses in Cornwall, and two places that are particularly popular are Enys Gardens and Penjerrick Gardens, both near Falmouth. However, one of the best places to see primroses is in the Tamar Valley at Cotehele.


Found worldwide and grown in domestic gardens, camellias may be found in many of Cornwall’s traditional gardens. The first two surviving collections of their kind were established by a group of private collectors during the early 19th century, each based in the county. A number of noteworthy introductions were made by these collectors, who have since passed on. As gardens and the gardens planted out by wealthy entrepreneurs during the Edwardian era. Famous hybrids were raised at prominent gardens in the south-west, most notably at the Gardens of Tregothnan, home to the Earl of Falmouth since the 12th century.

National Trust Gardens

National Trust Gardens are a house and gardens run by the National Trust. There some of the great garden of Cornwall are protected and managed, including Glendurgan and Godolphin. The houses and buildings have tours run by people eager to teach you about the homes. Sit down and have a cream tea at some of the venues.

Trelissick Garden

This is an easy one. Because Trelissick is in the sheltered south and west of the peninsula, so its flowering is definitly very early. The garden, overlooking the Fal estuary and with plenty of tender, south-facing slopes, is one of Cornwall’s great subtropical gardens. In fact, Trelissick actually manages to grow a number of extremely rare and exotic plants you would never usually find in this country at all, let alone flowering as early as February.

Trebah Garden

Located in Mawnan Smith, is Trebah, another remarkable garden. The garden is unique, sheltered and rarely touched by frost, as it is situated in a coastal ravine. The support of the Charles Williams Irrevocable Trust has left the gardens some of the most important species of plants in the world: more than four miles of foot paths over 26 acres of sub-tropical gardens overlooking the Helford River which are now open to the public. Some of its woodland is classified as an area of outstanding natural beauty, and the Dinky shop provide its visitors many gifts to remember. The gardens carry much colour and are ever popular for its constant garden improvements and overall management provided by its gardeners.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are located near Mevagissey and near the fishing port of Mevagissey. The gardens are made up of the 23-acre garden which include a magnificent range of rare and exotic plants, which all have their own unique beauty and neatly trimmed hedges, as well as an estate full of wildlife that is now waiting to be explored, ripe for re-discovery. There is proof that this land has been farmed for over 400 years and was first put on the map in the year 1568 by none other than Sir John Tremayne. This is not only one of the best places to visit for early-flowering plants (because of the range of tropical plants) but also the history.

Spring is well and truly on its way!

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