Planting winter bedding in a pot

How to plant winter bedding in a pot

Discover how to plant winter bedding such as primulas, cyclamen, pansies and violas in a container to create a pretty winter display.

Do it:

Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec

Takes just:

30 minutes

At its best:

Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec

Pots of winter bedding will bring cheer to your garden during the coldest months, and they're easy to create. Look out for trays of pansies, violas, outdoor cyclamen and primroses at the garden centre, and plant them on their own, or combined with evergreens such as skimmia.

Discover five colourful winter containers.

You can space plants more closely that you would in spring or summer, as they won't grow much during winter. They may not flower during very cold weather but will pick up again during milder spells.

Cold, wet compost can cause the roots to rot, so ensure that your pot has drainage holes in the bottom and stand it on pot feet, so that any excess water drains away. Keep the compost moist but not wet.

Follow our easy guide to planting winter bedding in containers.

You will need

  • Winter bedding plants such as primroses, pansies, violas or cyclamen
  • Multipurpose compost
  • Suitable container
  • Watering can


Fill a pot to around 10cm from the rim with good quality multipurpose compost. The larger the pot, the more plants you'll be able to include, giving the display more impact.
Remove the plants from their pots, teasing out the roots if they are pot-bound. Plant each one so that the top of the rootball and compost are level, just below the rim of the pot.
Fill in any gaps between the plants with more compost, holding the flowers out of the way. Gently firm the compost around the plants so that there are no air pockets, but don't compact it.
Look out for trays of pansies, violas, outdoor cyclamen and primroses at the garden centre.
Water well. If the compost settles unevenly, top up the gaps with more compost. Position the pot where you can enjoy it easily in winter - near the front door or on the patio.


What to do when the display is over

In spring, transplant the plants to your borders, where they will flower again next year. Then plant up your pot with new bedding for spring and summer.

Discover more ideas and inspiration

Related content

Layering bulbs in a container

How to plant up an alpine trough

Late summer colour pot display

Related offers


Heather offer

Save on heathers

Inject some colour into your winter and spring planting schemes with this beautiful collection of hardy heathers from only £2.55 per plant. These ericaceous plants make brilliant weed-suppressing ground cover and look fantastic with spring bulbs. Order now and your plants will be despatched from February 2018.

Order now


Primula 'Gold Lace'

Save £60 on primulas

Buy a pack of three 9cm-potted primula 'Gold Lace' plants for half price at £15, or save £60 when you buy nine for just £30. These established hardy perennials will flower from March, adding early colour to your garden. Order now and your plants will be despatched from February 2018.

Order now


36 free perennials

36 free* hardy perennials

Claim a free hardy perennial collection worth £37 - *just pay £5.65 postage. Contains 36 plants of six varieties, including Echinacea 'Pink Parasol', Coreopsis 'Golden Joy' and Scabiosa 'Blue Jeans'.

Order now