We all love going out to a bright and colorful garden, but winter can be tough on many plants.  It doesn’t get really cold here in Georgia, but we did just recently have some snow.  I wanted some winter container plants to fill two pots on my front porch, so I started researching which plants would be hardy enough to survive the cold.  Once I made my decision, it was very easy to get the pots looking cheerful and ready for the cold weather.

Best winter container plants

The best plants all depend on where you are located.  I compiled a list of plants that can handle most winter conditions.  I love the ones that are colorful and bright so that was my focus.  Here are a few for you to consider.

Ornamental Cabbage/Kale – Cabbage has a smoother leaf.  Kale has a serrated or fringed leaf.  These plants are colorful and can get large so they really add character to any container.

Ornamental Grasses – If you want a nice backdrop to your container or pot, use grasses. Blue Oat grass is a tight porcupine clump that stays blue all winter.  New Zealand Flax is not really a grass but looks like one. These spiky plants have bronze and purple in their leaves which add much color.

Pansies – 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.

Showy Stonecrop Sedum – pink flowers bloom in the fall and require little care from the gardener. Their thick, succulent leaves are able to withstand drought and rainy weather. The flower buds form early and remain attractive well in winter.

Wintergreen – is a naturally festive-looking, neat, low-spreading evergreen with large red berries and reddish-tinged leaves in winter.

These are just a few of the many plants you can use in your winter container.  Check out your local garden center and ask what is best for your area.  This will also give you a chance to see the plants up close and get an idea of how your planter will look when you are done. Here are some other ideas for winter plants.

My Choice

I like to keep it simple on my front porch.  My choice was ornamental cabbage for the center of the pot with pansies surrounding it.  I got my plants at Walmart’s garden center and chose the smallest ones I could find.  The reason for the smaller size is that the area gets a lot of sun so the plants grow quickly.  I didn’t want the cabbage to get too large too fast.

The process

I purchased 2 ornamental cabbages for the center of the pots and 4 of the six-pack of pansies.  Purple and yellow are vivid colors and my favorite, but you could choose any variety of colors.

1. First, I removed the old plants from the pots.

2. Next, I removed the cabbage and pansies from their containers.

3. Place the cabbage in the center of the pot and make sure it has enough soil surrounding it.

4. Add pansies around the cabbage.  I left gaps so they had room to grow.  You could put them close together for a more vibrant color display.  If additional soil is needed, add it.

5. Place the pots where you want them and water the plants.

That is it, very simple.  If you want to add a little fertilizer you can do that while planting.  I didn’t as I don’t want the cabbage to get tall and leggy.

winter container plants
finished pots
ornamental cabbage
planter on porch

Instant Winter Glam

I love adding winter container plants to my porch and garden because it brightens it up.  Many of the plants in my garden go dormant and don’t look like much in the winter.  Using pots and containers throughout your garden can really add texture and color.  I love the way it makes my garden look and they are easy to maintain.  Just remember to water them weekly and you should be set. A word of caution.  I already noticed a certain furry criminal eyeing the pansies.  If you read my other posts you know I have a thug chipmunk that eats my flowers.  I am hoping he leaves these alone so I can enjoy them all winter.

Average Cost of plants:

$4-5 for a six-pack of pansies.  Seeds are less expensive. $4 for a single small ornamental cabbage.

Where to buy:

Walmart, Home Depot, Pike or local nurseries.  You can also buy online from various sites including Amazon.

Savvy Tip:

Check out Walmart’s garden section as they put a lot of plants on clearance to make room for Christmas trees.  You may get some pansy plants very cheap there, like under $3.

Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle

– Barbara Winkler