Here are 12 fabulous winter flowering plants for pots that will offer valuable colour in your chilly winter garden. All are hardy and manage to continue growing while we snuggle up next to the fire. Read on for some colourful ideas to brighten up those pots.
Cyclamen have delicate flowers which arrive from November onwards. They come in various shades from white through to red and purple. Cyclamen are great contained in a pot and you can collect the seed-heads and plant them elsewhere to increase your stock too.
Hebe’s autumnal flower shoots are striking bright pink or purple spikes, which continue right through the start of the winter. Their bushy foliage is very attractive and they can be placed at the back of a border, with something smaller in front, as hebe can grow quite tall.
3. Winter jasmine
Winter jasmine not only offers exquisite yellow blooms, it also smells heavenly as you go past! It will start off well in a pot but may outgrow it over time so keep an eye on it. Next spring, if you think it needs a bigger pot, repot when the temperature rises a bit.
Pansies must be everybody’s favourite winter flower with their range of colours and cheerful blooms that can survive the snow. They come in purple, orange, yellow and blue with dashes of white and are gorgeous cut and arranged in small winter vases. These little plants rarely grow much taller than a few inches above the pot. See our guide on growing winter pansies.
Heuchera (coral bells) is a winner in a pot. Its foliage comes in a range of colours from orange and green to silver and purple and it will delight you all year round. You can also look forward to the delicate blooms in summer. Heuchera forms little plantlet babies, which you can move into their own pots when spring arrives.
Forsythia provides showy yellow blooms in late winter and its flowering spikes offer some hope that spring is actually on the way. It’ll be fine in a pot for the first year but may need re-potting the year after. Prune it well, right back down to the stem when it flowers, to keep it compact in its pot. Forsythia looks fantastic in flower arrangements too.
Anemones’ white flowers stand proud even in cold weather and look beautiful placed against a potted bay or privet. Their freshness is unbeatable in a winter garden display although if it snows you will hardly notice them against a snowy background.
8. Trillium erectum
Trillium erectum is a hardy, spectacular pink flower, also known as American shamrock. Its warm colours will shine against a darker leaf background.
Primroses offer brightly coloured blooms even in the chilliest of weather. They will grow in clumps which you can divide every couple of years, increasing your stock of winter blooms. Sometimes you find that primroses will flower twice in a growing year.
Daphne is in full bloom this time of year and its bunches of pink flowers are a gorgeous addition to any winter flower bed. This shrub is hardy in the UK and it grows well in pots or in the ground. There are several varieties to choose from, which bloom in shades of pink, red and white.
11. Potentilla yellow
Potentilla yellow offers amazing, yellow flowers all the way through from spring to late autumn. This shrub looks fabulous as a backdrop for some of the smaller flowers with its rich green leaves and yellow blooms. You need to keep deadheading the flowers to keep them in bloom.
Quince is a shrub that produces fruit in the autumn but it also produces gorgeous pink flowers in the winter season. The buds appear on long stems and flower one after another for several weeks. It will grow well in a large pot although some gardeners like to plant it as a hedge.
In my experience, quince tends to become leggy as hedging but in a pot, you can trim it into shape and place the pot where you can admire the flowers. As well as painting your view pink, you can have quince jelly later in the autumn and even make quince liqueur.
What plants will survive winter in a pot?
Perennial herbs will be very content if you place them in pots close to the warmth of your house. Rosemary, thyme, lavender, sage and winter savory will then be available for the odd leaf for stuffing or seasonal soups. Make sure the ground doesn’t get slippy where you place these pots because you won’t feel like going outside when it gets really chilly.
Strawberry and raspberry plants are hardy and in a pot, you can give them a mulch of compost and admire them while you think longingly of them fruiting in the near future.
What foliage is good for winter pots?
Silverdust has gorgeous silvery, feather-like foliage. It is also known as grey ragwort and sometimes surprises you with a tall yellow bloom held on a single stalk. It is a beautiful texture and colour to add to your collection of potted winter plants.
Climbing ivy needs to be confined to a pot because it is invasive but in the autumn, it really earns its keep in your garden. Some varieties are variegated and all of them have berries that the birds adore so you will attract lots of wildlife to your garden too.
What do you put in flower pots in the winter?
If tomatoes or other annual plants have finished, you can empty the pots and use the spent compost to top up other plants. Add some fresh compost and plant a mixed pot with some pansies or cyclamen for the winter. Then plant some winter bulbs like snowdrops, grape hyacinths and crocuses which will bloom early.
Try adding some colourful winter-flowering heathers so you’ll have flowers right through the winter. You can move any spent flowers behind the flowering pots when they finish. Planting daffodil and tulip bulbs will ensure a show of flowers from winter into spring.
A few more colourful shrubs to consider:
Some potted trees are particularly worth having in the autumn and winter garden, not least the festive holly, whose berries feed the birds and also provide you with decoration for wreaths and Christmas table decorations.
Japanese red maple fills your garden with flame-coloured autumnal leaves and a cherry tree will do the same with dashes of yellow and orange. These stunning trees provide interest and colour all year round.
It’s a good idea to hang fat balls or bird feeders from the branches for your flying friends. When winter kicks in, watch them flock by for a festive nibble!