Winter is often viewed as 'down time' in the garden, with little to do but wait until spring. Not so. There are many winter plants for the garden, particularly when used in seasonal pot and container displays.
Bright flowers, vivid berries, evergreen foliage and colourful stems can all be combined to great effect. With the right plants you can create a high-impact but low-maintenance scheme, to lift the spirits on even the darkest of days.
For a bee-friendly container, opt for plants with a generous supply of nectar like crocus, hellebores and snowdrops. Before you plant, remember to make sure your pots are winter ready, too. Clay or terracotta pots are prone to cracking in frost so look for frost-proof pots and containers such as Agriframes range of Zinc Planters here.
Raising pots up by standing them on blocks or pot 'feet' over the winter will also allow water to drain away, prevent them becoming waterlogged and help to reduce the risk of frost damage.
Winter Flowering Pansy
Winter-flowering pansies with yellow, maroon, white or purple 'faces' will keep flowering except in the very worst weather. But they will recover and then continue until June.
Hardy cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen coum) are neat, free-flowering plants, perfect for growing at the base of trees and shrubs or naturalising in grass. They work well in winter pot displays, and can be planted into the garden after they have flowered.
With wiry stems bearing masses of tiny tubular flowers in shades of pink, purple and white Heather can be relied on to provide a splash of colour either on its own or at the base of a shrub. Pair with our Basket Obelisk to create a stunning seasonal display.
Carex are tuft-forming evergreen perennials with green, variegated or bronze, curly or arching leaves. Very tough and contemporary, and will look good all winter.
Skimmia 'Rubella' is a rugged, hardy and reliable evergreen shrub with grape-like clusters of tight pink buds throughout winter. Teams well with Heather.
Pittosporum are neat evergreen shrubs that are perfect for sheltered, sunny locations and be clipped into simple shapes. Dark or variegated leave types work especially well in winter and they bear small dark red scented flowers.
Viburnum Tinus is a great winter shrub which has fragrant white clusters of flowers from October to March followed by attractive blue coloured berries. Ideal in a container and can be planted out in the border as it gets larger.
The Christmas Rose, Helleborus Niger, bears large, round, white flat-faced flowers above low-growing mounds of leathery, deep green foliage.