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Planting containers for the winter: 6 suggestions for beautiful winter container planting.

Winter is often thought of as a “quiet time” in the garden, when there is little to do except wait for spring. This is not true. There are many hardy potted plants , with which you can conjure up attractive outdoor compositions. Bright flowers, colorful berries, evergreen foliage and colorful branches can be combined perfectly. With the right plants, you can create an effective but low-maintenance winter container planting that will lift your spirits on even the dreariest winter days. Today, we’ll show you how to plant your containers for winter!

Planting containers for winter: Use weatherproof materials

heather in teracotta pot outside

To ensure planted containers survive the winter unscathed, make sure they are made of a winter-resistant material. Clay or terracotta pots tend to crack in freezing temperatures, so avoid using them for your winter decorations or look for frost-resistant pots and containers. Plastic, fiberglass and wood are all good materials for winter container planting. Look for pots that are labeled frost-resistant rather than frost-resistant, as they can still break if the temperature drops. Placing tubs on plant rollers, wooden slats or tub feet throughout the winter will allow water to drain well, preventing waterlogging and reducing the risk of frost damage.

Cyclamen, heather and bulbs.

the most beautiful hardy potted plants

We told you in the fall how to plant bulbs in layers using the lasagna method. However, a nice idea would be to hide some bulbs in your winter container planting. This way they can grow through the foliage and make a big impact. Below we show you how to combine hardy foliage plants such as heuchera and ivy with flowering pansies, cyclamen, heather and spring bulbs.

The best time for planting this composition of plants is in October.
Pot planting looks wonderful from October to April.

which balcony plants in winter

You will need:
Large ceramic pot, frost-proof.
Mini alpine violets
Flower bulbs
Ivy plant
Pansies
Purple bellflower ‘Berry Smoothie
Erica plant

  1. Fill the tub with all-purpose potting soil and place the bulbs in the soil with some spacing. Ceramic pots keep compost dry, making them ideal for preventing winter rot in bulbs.
  2. Use the greenery as a backdrop to highlight the colors of the brightly blooming cyclamen. Once you have placed the plants in the pot, fill in the gaps with potting soil.
  3. Set the pot in its place and then water it sparingly over the winter. For a long blooming season, regularly remove the pansies’ wilted flowers.

Japanese skimmia, New Zealand flax, feather grass.

which hardy plants are suitable for containers


The red berries of Japanese skimmia ‘Reevesiana’ (Skimmia japonica) and the flowers of red cyclamen add color to the fall garden, and they will still please the eye in winter. Ornamental grass makes a lush background, while New Zealand flax ‘Rainbow Queen’ accents the height.

The best time to plant is from September to the end of November.
Container planting looks best from November through February.

planting tubs for winter - instructions

You will need:
New Zealand flax ‘Rainbow Queen’ (Phormium tenax).
Feather grass (Stipa)
Japanese skimmia ‘Marlot’ (Skimmia japonica)
Japanese skimmia ‘Reevesiana
Mini Alpine Violets
Large pot or container
Multipurpose planting soil, peat-free

Total time:20 minutes

  1. Place teracotta pieces in the bottom of the container and fill halfway with potting soil.
  2. Sprinkle slow-release fertilizer granules on top to maintain nutrient levels throughout the year.
  3. Place the feather grass in the back of the container and next to it the skimmia. Arrange the other plants around them. Fill in gaps around the edge of the pot with soil.
  4. Place the pot in its final location (preferably in the shade) and water thoroughly.

Snow heather, dogwood and serpentine beard.

pot planting winter with ornamental grasses


This winter container planting is fascinating with an unusual color palette of yellow-green and blue-black. In the container, the glossy foliage of black-leaved snakeweed Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Niger’ is combined with the bright green of yellowwood dogwood and winter heather.

There are no large leaves, and all the plants have a linear character where the shapes between the leaves and branches are as important as the plants themselves. A similar effect can be achieved with willow and dogwood branches from the garden.

The best time to plant them is in November.
Potted planting looks best from December to February. After that, the container plants can be transplanted in the garden in the spring.

autumn winter pot planting with ornamental grasses

You will need:
2 x snow heather ‘Aurea’ (Erica carnea)
2 x Yellowwood Dogwood ‘Flaviramea’ (Cornus sericea)
3 x Black-leaved snakeweed ‘Niger’ (Ophiopogon planiscapus)
Multipurpose planting soil, peat-free
Large pot or container
Styrofoam, optional

Total time: 1 hour

  1. Place several bulky pieces of Styrofoam or upturned plant pots in the bottom of the large container to reduce the need for expensive potting soil. Shovel the soil into the container, leaving enough room to arrange the plants.
  2. Try the plants in different combinations to see how they show up best. Since this is a circular arrangement, there is no front and back and it needs to look good from every angle.
  3. Place the dogwood in the center and two of the snakeweed plants on either side so that the foliage falls over the edge of the pot. Then place the two snow heather plants in the center. Keep adding potting soil during the planting process and then mulch with a layer of chopped bark.

Plant tubs for winter with purple bells, pansies, and sedge grass

flowering pot planting for winter

With cold weather just around the corner, this tub planting is guaranteed to bring a bit of warmth to your patio. The fiery hues are a welcome highlight on the dreariest of winter days. The evergreen glossy loquat and bronze-colored sedge grass provide the perfect backdrop to the arrangement, adding texture and movement. To keep the cheerful pansies blooming continuously, simply remove the wilted flowers regularly.

Potted plantings will look good for several months – from December to March. There is no right time to plant the containers. Just do it between December and March.

which balcony plants in autumn winter

You will need:
Glossy medlar ‘Little Red Robin’ (Photinia x fraseri).
New Zealand Sedge ‘Bronze’ (Carex comans)
2 x purple bellflower ‘Autumn Leaves’ or ‘Autumn Cascade’ (Heuchera villosa)
2 x dark red pansies (Viola x wittrockiana)

Total time: 20 minutes

  1. Fill your container halfway with potting soil. Add a portion of slow release fertilizer and mix well.
  2. Add the plants, starting with the glossy loquat, carefully removing them from their pots. Follow with the sedge-grass, purple bells, and pansies at the end.
  3. Fill in the gaps with soil and press down with your fingers. Water well so that the planting soil settles and does not dry out.

Japanese skimmia, purple bells and cyclamen.

potted plants for winter with alpine violets

In this eye-catching winter container planting, the lemon yellow foliage of Heuchera ‘Lime Marmalade’ has been combined with pink cyclamen and black snakebeard grass. Here, the Japanese skimmia forms a central focal point. For an extra splash of color in late winter and spring, add a few snowdrop, daffodil or tulip bulbs to the planting.

The container planting will look good for several months – from October to March. To plant the containers, choose a frost-free day between October and December.

What you need:
Japanese skimmia ‘Fragrans’ (Skimmia japonica).
Purple bellflower ‘Lime Marmalade’ (Heuchera micrantha)
Black-leaved snakewort ‘Niger’ (Ophiopogon planiscapus)
Purple cyclamen
Large tub
Clay potsherds
Multipurpose potting soil

Total time: 30 minutes

planting containers for autumn winter with skimmia, alpine violet and heuchera

  1. Place a layer of potsherds on the bottom of the container, and then fill it three-quarters with potting soil. Plant the skimmia in the center of the container, as deep as it was in its previous pot. Position the heuchera plants around it on either side.
  2. Fill in the gaps around the edge of the pot with the ophiopogon and cyclamen plants.
  3. Fill in the gaps around the plants with soil and press down with your fingers. Water thoroughly and allow the water to drain before placing the pot in its final location.

Christmas planting with red cyclamen.

winter flowers for pots

Last but not least, use red cyclamen to create a beautiful Christmas atmosphere. These gorgeous flowers will stand out all the more against a green backdrop of sedge-grass and skimmia. A small-leafed ivy can fill in the gaps between plants nicely.

Used here: Mini Alpine Violets in Red, Japanese Skimmia ‘Thereza’ (Skimmia japonica), Japan Gold Sedge ‘Evergold’ (Carex oshimensis) and Mini Ivy (Hedera helix).