Today is the first day of autumn and as I write this article, my geraniums and petunias are still just about holding up in their hanging baskets.
It’s easy to feel a bit sad when the brightly coloured flowers that have given us so much joy throughout summer have faded but your hanging baskets don’t have to be relegated to the shed for the next 6 months.
9 of the Best Trailing Plants for Winter Hanging Baskets
If you’d like to keep your hanging baskets going and add some interest to a winter garden, keep reading to discover our pick of the best trailing plants for a winter hanging basket.
1. English ivy
An evergreen perennial, English ivy is one of the best and easiest to care for hanging basket plants. It’s a fast-growing plant that can quickly become invasive in the ground so it’s ideal to restrict it to a container.
Ivy needs plenty of moisture to survive, so if your hanging basket is in a sunny spot, be sure to give it a regular water when the weather is dry. Ivies don’t like to be too wet either so make sure that the soil doesn’t become waterlogged.
There are several different varieties of English ivy, from the variegated leaves of Goldchild and Glacier to the fine leaves of Needlepoint, you could fill a whole hanging basket with these beautiful plants.
2. Trailing rosemary
Originally hailing from the Mediterranean, rosemary is an attractive, evergreen perennial which can be grown successfully in hanging baskets. Famed for its distinctively scented foliage and pale blue flowers, rosemary is easy to care for and extremely tough.
Rosemary needs a sunny spot to thrive and it can tolerate drought well, making it a great choice for year-round hanging basket displays. It will only need a monthly water during the winter.
Trailing rosemary looks fantastic in tall planters as well as hanging baskets and will be a welcome addition to a winter garden.
3. Heucherella trailing
These hardy perennial plants are perfect for adding a splash of colour to winter hanging containers. Their leaves come in many shades from deep purple to burnt orange, yellow and bright green and colours often change throughout the seasons.
Heucherellas can survive tough winters and will do best in a shaded spot, although the darker-leaved varieties can handle some sunlight.
4. Purple creeping thyme
Another hardy, evergreen perennial, this little herb is often used as groundcover, but it can work well in a hanging basket too. Once established, the leaves can be picked all year round. Creeping thyme bears small pink flowers in the summer and the fragrant leaves are traditionally used to make bouquet garni.
This traditional, cottage garden plant is usually seen cascading down stone walls. Masses of purple flowers appear in summer but the evergreen leaves remain throughout the year.
Try adding aubretia to your hanging baskets for a change from the usual container plants. The green foliage will provide interest throughout winter and you’ll be rewarded with an impressive flower show during the warmer months. Aubretia likes a sunny spot and these plants are very drought tolerant when established.
6. Ornamental grasses
You may not have considered adding grasses to a hanging basket, but more compact varieties such as Carex comans bronze leaved, Carex umbrosa The Beatles and Carex Evergold can make striking additions to a winter container with their colourful foliage and arching leaves.
Grasses usually prefer a sunny location and shouldn’t require much water throughout winter. You can add a layer of mulch to protect the roots of the plants in cold temperatures.
7. Trailing pansies
Add a pop of colour to a winter hanging basket with cheery trailing pansies. There aren’t many plants that will flower continuously from August to May but these impressive bloomers will keep flowering throughout winter and are surprisingly hardy to -25°C.
To keep your pansies looking their best, you’ll need to keep them regularly fertilised and dead-headed and make sure that the compost remains moist.
Buy trailing pansies here.
You Might Also Like: Winter Pansies Growing Guide: Easy Winter Flowering Plants
8. Creeping Jenny
Also known as moneywort, this evergreen plant is native to the UK. Creeping Jenny prefers a sunny spot but will also tolerate partial shade. The bright green leaves will turn yellow in full sun and a greener colour if exposed to a little shade.
Creeping Jenny is a beautiful addition to a winter hanging basket and should remain evergreen unless the winter is especially harsh.
9. Convolvulus Silver Bush
Although the name convolvulus will send most gardeners running for the hills, this evergreen beauty is a far cry from the vining monster that appears in our gardens in the summer months. With its silvery, evergreen leaves, this plant is a welcome addition to winter hanging baskets. The foliage is spectacular all year round and white flowers will appear from spring to autumn for added interest.
Silver bush is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant and will do best in a sunny spot.
Check out our best plants for winter hanging baskets article for more plant inspiration.
When is the best time to plant a winter hanging basket?
The best time to plant your winter hanging baskets is between September and October. Summer flowers will have died back by this time. Be sure to refresh the soil in your hanging baskets when adding new plants.
How many plants can I put in a hanging basket?
The number of plants you can fit into a hanging basket depends on the size that the plants will grow. Many trailing plants will grow considerably larger than the pots they are bought in. We suggest adding 3 or 4 trailing plants to an average-sized 12-inch hanging basket. You might want to place a dwarf evergreen conifer, cyclamen or upright pansies into the centre of the basket for added interest.
How often do I need to water my winter hanging basket?
Although you won’t need to water a winter hanging basket anywhere near as frequently as a summer one, it’s recommended that you give the basket at least a monthly water. Feeling the soil in the basket is a good way to see if the plants need water.