Plants for pots in winter

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Looking to brighten up your outside space this winter? Fairy lights and decorations have their place. But there are plenty of plants for pots in winter to bring a blast of colour and texture. Pollinators like bumblebees will thank you too for some welcome nectar. Check out some smart choices to wow however cold it gets!

Our top winter flowering plants

Here are some of our favourite winter flowering plants you can pop in a pot, window box or container:

Cyclamen deliver strong reds and pinks, or pick whites for a more tonal scheme. Repetition works really well as a display. Just check the variety name before you buy, as some are designed for indoors. For outdoors, look out for Cyclamen hederifolium or Cyclamen coum varieties.

Love a buttercup in the summer? Winter aconites look very similar, and flower from February to March. However they are harmful if eaten, so be careful if you have small children or pets.

Helleborus form the backdrop to many stunning winter garden displays. If you pick the white variety Helleborus niger, or the ‘Christmas rose’, it can indeed flower early enough to say hello to Santa.

Kick off the blossoms of spring early in February and March with a Daphne. Technically a shrub, there are varieties for containers offering little red, pink, white or green flowers. Evergreen varieties provide welcome greenery in the colder months.

Get bees a-buzzing with some winter-flowering heather with their tiny pink or white flowers.

Camellias are another plant beloved by bees and work well when planted in a pot.

Saracococca really comes into its own in winter, with glossy evergreen foliage and highly fragrant flowers in winter and early spring.

Winter bulbs

When it comes to daffodils, you don’t have to wait until spring to start enjoying them. If you choose an early flowering bulb like February Gold or Rijnveld’s Early Sensation, they should pop up by Valentine’s Day.

It’s magical to see snowdrops rearing their heads through frost or snow. Don’t worry if you forgot to plant your bulbs in autumn. Some nurseries sell them as flowering plants in late winter.

Irises aren’t just for the summer! The miniature iris reticulata varieties flower in late winter. As do crocus flowers – which come in shades including purple, cream, yellow and white.

Winter climbers

Did you know there is a winter honeysuckle with beautiful cream flowers? It even gives off a fragrance! Look for Lonicera fragrantissima in garden nurseries or online.

Another dreamily creamy winter flowering plant is the winter clematis – Clematis cirrhosa. It even has glossy evergreen leaves!

In early January, winter jasmine puts on quite the show with its fragrant, white flowers.

Keep your display spot-free

When planting in pots for winter, it’s a good idea to ‘dress’ the top layer. This is a fancy term for adding some sort of layer over the soil. Horticultural grit, fine gravel or a coir mulch mat prevent ‘soil splash’ on lower leaves or flowers during heavy rain. Mulch also gives a uniform look to your pots, no matter their shape, size or material.

Winter bedding plants

Bedding plants are sold by nurseries just as they’re starting to bloom and provide instant cover. Most are annuals, which mean they only last for a year, with just one flowering season.

Winter-flowering primulas and primulas can really cheer up a winter display, and come in all sorts of colours.

Who can resist the sweet ‘faces’ of a pansy or viola? Make sure you’re buying the winter varieties, and you can enjoy colour from October through to March. Just keep pinching off the spent flowers – also known as ‘deadheading’.

Pro tip: Have you planted deep pots with daffodil and tulip bulbs? Plant some pansies on the top. That way you have something pretty to look at, rather than just bare soil, grit, gravel or mulch.

Planting a winter hanging basket

Hanging baskets are fantastic in the winter, as they give a hit of colour at eye level. They also keep food and shelter for garden-friendly creatures, from bees to birds.

For an average 30cm wide hanging basket, you’ll need around 12 plants. For the best display, why not include flowers and foliage?

Flowers for a winter hanging basket

Bedding plants such as pansies and primulas are perfect for hanging baskets.

Foliage for a winter hanging basket

Ivy is as tough as old boots but looks fantastic trailing from a hanging basket. Pick a variegated variety with yellow or white highlights to lighten up a dark corner.

If you want some contrast, the silver-white leaves of cineraria provide a dramatic backdrop to winter flowers.

To mix things up a little, why not opt for ornamental grass? An evergreen variety like Festuca glauca is very textural.

Don’t forget your hanging basket liner!

To stop compost and plants from falling out, but keep enough water in, you’ll need to line your hanging basket. We offer 100% natural coco coir liners. If you want longevity, our pre-moulded hemispherical hanging basket liner is a good bet. We also have a flat hanging basket liner option with slits allowing size adjustment to perfectly fit your basket.

The best compost for a hanging basket

A multi-purpose compost with fertilisers already included will keep your plants well-fed. Our Coco Bloom All Purpose blend creates the ideal rooting and growing conditions when you want to grow plants in containers.

Tips from the ‘Green Gardeners Guild’ online advice library

On the lookout for more tips and hints? Our blogs are packed with advice:

How to keep plants warm in winter
Best plants for an apartment balcony
Watering plants in winter

Potty about winter pots?

Have you worked hard to create a winter wonderland of pots? We’d love to see it! Please post your pictures and tag @cocoandcoir on Instagram. We’ll credit you for any images we use and you’ll even get £10-worth of loyalty points for any of your stories we use!