Winter is coming, but the winter months don’t have to mean your home has to be dreary and void of life.
A cold climate is often seen as ‘down time’ in the garden or houseplant world, but there are many winter plants for pots that thrive outside and provide great options to upgrade your home this winter.
Warm up your patio, front porch or deck with plants, using texture and color.
From evergreen foliage to vibrant flowers to vivid berries, the right outdoor winter plants for pots are a great way to create a lovely winter oasis that doesn’t require you to wait until early spring.
The Perfect Winter Plants for Pots
Camellias are a popular plant in big spaces, but they also make good container plants.
Blooming in a variety of forms and colors even in the colder months, these are a great choice to add something to your home and once they outgrow their containers.
They can be transplanted to yards and gardens.
2. Boxwood Hedge
Boxwoods are easy-to-grow winter evergreen plants that can be used as hedges, edging plantings, or potted in plants.
They are tough plants that can withstand difficult climates and cold temperatures.
If possible, rotate the pot periodically to balance the plant’s sun exposure and therefore encourage even growth.
3. Viola Odorata (Sweet Violet)
Violas in general produce a variety of beautiful colors but the viola odorata are the blue violas you’ll often find in people’s yards.
They’re also known as wood violet or common violet. They bloom through cold weather and given proper care, they can also bloom in the summer months.
Not only are violas great plants to give your home a pop of color, but they are also edible so if you love using edible flowers, this is a great place to start.
Violas don’t require excessive care and are fairly low maintenance.
They need regular watering and a spot in partial shade.
Make sure to regularly deadhead (removing the dead leaves and flowers) them too as this will prolong the flowering period.
Pansies are durable little plants and have the capability to survive freezing temperatures while also thriving in the summer.
Underwatering is one of the most common problems with pansies so don’t be shy about giving them needed water; just make sure they have good drainage.
These are a perfect plant for hanging basket planters.
Evergreen juniper boasts needle-shaped foliage and is tolerant to drought.
They can grow as shrubs or in containers as column-shaped accents and therefore are good choices for a large container.
Their blue, waxy berries and green/blue-grey foliage are striking.
6. Erica carnea (Springwood Pink)
This plant, also known as winter heath, is part of the winter-flowering heather family. It is an evergreen that loves to soak up the sun.
It is one of the best plants for the winter, requires low maintenance, and produces lovely pink and purple flowers in the winter months.
This plant will need some sun to produce vibrant colored flowers, but otherwise it can handle some minor neglect and the extreme cold.
Let the soil dry before the next watering.
7. Gaultheria procumbens (Wintergreen)
This is a plant you’ve likely seen before as it has noticeable red berries. These outdoor plants love acidic, moist but well-drained soil.
They do not require a lot of water and can grow in both full and partial shade.
Wintergreen is one of the best picks when it comes to hardy winter plants for pots.
Clivia has thick, dark-green long leaves and in the winter temperatures, a cluster of 15-20 flowers.
In the winter months, Clivia needs minimal water and it loves the shade.
9. Japanese Yew
A Japanese yew is great for a front porch year-round due to it’s tolerance to drought. It can also thrive in both full and partial sun.
It is most commonly used as groundcover or in winter containers.
However, it can also be grown as a tree and can reach more than 50 feet in height.
These stunning plants are neat, free-flowering plants which grow really well at the base of trees and shrubs as a bedding plant.
Hardy cyclamen also grows really well in winter pots and can then be planted in the garden after flowering.
This plant thrives in full sun and partial shade and is quite a popular choice as ornamental potted plants, especially in the Southwestern US states.
12. Creeping Jenny
Creeping Jenny is an ivy-like plant that does well as groundcover, but it can also grow in a pot especially while producing a vine-like effect in a hanging pot or a tall pot.
They do well in sun or partial shade. Make sure the containers have good drainage but water regularly, keeping the soil moist.
Creeping Jenny does well as a houseplant too, but will enjoy a cooler spot in the winter.
13. Helleborus niger (Christmas Rose)
This evergreen plant boasts a flower that looks much like a buttercup and is known affectionately as a Christmas rose.
As the weather worsens, the wild white rose feeds off of it and produces large, round, white flowers with lots of deep green foliage.
14. Blue Spruce
The blue spruce tree is a visually perfect winter plant. It is hardy in zones 2-7, prefers full sun, and is suitable for a large portion of climates.
Snowdrops are affectionately named after their white petals which look a lot like drops of snow or ice.
It’s best to plant these in the late summer or fall, but they thrive far into late winter.
16. Heuchera (Coral Bells)
Most coral bells are evergreen but the plants will go dormant during the winter months.
They will need to be watered once a month to prevent them from drying out.
Coral bells can easily be placed in an unheated garage or a shed with a window.
17. Ornamental Cabbages
As the weather reaches low temperature, ornamental cabbage and kale are leafy plants that produce bright foliage and the color only gets more intense with colder weather.
Another great idea if you have a larger pot is to place your ornamental cabbage in the center and put pansies in the surrounding soil.
Tips for Preparing Winter Plants for Pots
- Select a frostproof container – Choose a pot with drainage holes in the bottom.
Clay and terracotta pots are prone to cracking in frost so they should be avoided in most cases as outdoor pots during the winter.
Some good options for winter pots include fiberglass, wood, treated terra cotta, and plastic pots as they’ll offer extra protection for your plant.
You can even try out some window boxes.
Concrete and cement are very reliable in winter months. Here are 3 really unique DIY concrete planters you make– a cement balloon planter, vibrantly dyed concrete planter and this modern white concrete planter.
- Choose a good potting soil – Use a mix that is specifically made for containers as it provides essential drainage.
- Stop feeding plants in the fall – Stop feeding your plants about 6-8 weeks before your first frost date.
This prevents new growth which is often tender and won’t survive the winter. You can start feeding them again next spring.
- Water – Water plants as needed until the soil in the container is frozen. Do not continue watering frozen pots because the plants won’t be able to absorb water.
Can flower pots stay outside in winter?
As a general rule of thumb, yes. There are many hardy perennial plants and shrubs that are hardy plants for pots for outdoors and the winter weather.
However, plants or shrubs for containers are a bit different than plants in the ground. They are a bit more reliant on you for their care.
If your plant is hardy to two zones colder than the area that you are located, it is likely a good candidate for surviving the winter in a container.
Are there any flowers that bloom in the winter?
You absolutely don’t have to wait for spring to enjoy flowering plants. There are many hardy flowering plants such as:
- Winter pansies
- Hardy clematis
What evergreens grow well in pots?
Plants with evergreen foliage make great plants for winter containers.
- Japanese Yew
- Potted Blue Spruce
- Boxwood Hedge
- Cypress Topiary
And when spring comes, it will be time to bring those less hardy plants back outside.
That’s what I’ll be doing to decorate the concrete paver patio we recently built. Come take a look!
Don’t forget to Pin it for later!