As the days begin to get shorter and the first frosts arrive, it is time to start replacing your summer bedding plants with winter pot plants, especially if you wish to add both life and colour to your garden throughout the cooler months. Thankfully there are a number of winter plants for pots to choose from, all of which promise to brighten up your exteriors and interiors.
Why choose winter plants for pots?
Winter container displays are the perfect way to inject a little colour into an area dominated by evergreen, structural planting. Another huge benefit of winter pot plants is that containers can be easily repositioned as and when required.
Violas are a great option for those looking for affordable winter pot plants and when cared for correctly, they will last a lengthy period of time. For example, consistent deadheading will prolong the blooming period of these affordable plants – in fact, they can flower for months if well looked after. The slight size of their blooms makes them extremely pleasing when positioned in pots, hanging baskets and window boxes. For best results, place them in a location where they will be appreciated from close proximity.
These cutesy flowers with their mischievous ‘faces’ can be sourced in almost every hue possible. Just like violas, they’re able to produce flowers for a long period of time. If you’re looking for warm, earthy and autumnal tones, opt for the ‘Terracotta’ variety. These variants look beautiful when teamed with heathers or bronze hued grasses and conifers.
When grown outside, ivy is celebrated as a flourishing grower, however, when grown in small pots, these plants are able to stay contained. If you wish, you can allow them to trail over the edge of a hanging basket or container. This will create a soft look and a feeling of leafy lavishness. One or two small ivy plants will happily fill the front of a planter that is half-barrel sized within a year.
Winter-flowering heathers will create a showy appearance and they’re a great addition to the home this winter. These blooms will return each year when cared for correctly in the shape of beautifully hued white, pink and purple blooms. Plant them with harmonising foliage such as ivy, and flowers of a similar colour palette. This will enhance the overall display when in bloom. Winter heather flowers are a great option for those looking to attract wildlife to a winter garden as they are a source of nectar for bees. Unlike acid-loving heathers, Erica x darleyensis and winter-flowering Erica carnea don’t require ericaceous compost, which makes them a maintenance free option.
Although these cyclamen won’t be able to survive an entire winter outdoors, their buds will add an injection of colour to any patio or front porch and will last until the really harsh frosts arrives. This is when you should bring them indoors and place them on a cool, sunny windowsill. They will add both embellishment and colour to any household.
These species are available in shades of vibrant pink and purple. Their ruffled leaves and hot hues will brighten up any dreary day, whilst their compact nature means they can be placed in tight spaces and are able to thrive in winter pots. For best results, it is best to plant ornamental cabbages in odd numbered quantities, as this will help to create an attractive design. When wet spells hit, it’s important to keep a close eye on them as their leaves can turn yellow. It is therefore wise to grow them in compost that drains well.
These plants are small in structure, andboast beautiful berries in shades of red or white come the winter months. They are a great complement to the glossy foliage they sit on and are one of the most versatile winter container plants available. For best results, position these shrubs towards the front of a pot and on a porch, as this is where they will add a welcome hit of colour to your doorstep.
These superb winter shrubs are often readily available as small container plants at this time of year. Their glossy leaves are just the right size for winter pots. These plants can also be transferred outside when the winter is over. Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’ boasts clusters of long-lasting dark pink buds during the months of autumn and winter. These buds eventually open to white and pink blooms in the spring.
If you have a slightly larger container to fill, opt for cornus as it boasts both height and structure. Their colourful stems get noticed in the winter months, as they come in the shape of extremely slender stalks which shoot upwards with bark in shades of orange, red or lime-yellow.