Best Plants for Winter Containers

Best plants for winter containers

Plant up pots and containers with this selection of colourful evergreens and flowers.

Winter is often viewed as bit of an off-season for gardening, with little to do but wait until spring. However, some of the best plants for winter containers look beautiful at this time of year.


If you’re looking to make your container bee-friendly, then you could choose plants that are known to contain good amounts of nectar for bees, like crocus, hellebores and snowdrops. Sitting in a frost pocket? Try growing robust plants like Hakonechloa macra, Hylotelephium spectabile and Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’.

For more botanical things to keep you busy in winter, check out these seven projects for a winter greenhouse.

Take a look at some of our favourite winter plants for pots and containers, below.

Imperata cylindrica 'Red Baron' is a glowing-red grass, seen at its best with the sun behind it. 

Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’

Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ is a glowing-red grass, seen at its best with the sun behind it. Hardy but needs a sheltered spot.


Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens

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


Winter-flowering pansy

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.


Miniature cyclamen

Miniature cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) are neat, very free-flowering and nearly hardy plants. Normally sold for indoors so needs a mild sheltered spot or use temporarily.



Carex are tuft-forming evergreen perennials with green, variegated or bronze, curly or arching leaves. Very tough and contemporary, and will look good all winter.


Skimmia ‘Rubella’

Skimmia ‘Rubella’ is a rugged, hardy and reliable evergreen with grape-like clusters of tight pink buds throughout winter. Teams well with heathers.



Phormium is a colourful architectural evergreen with arched strap-shaped leaves in pink, purplish and bronzy shades, including stripes. A good mixer for contemporary schemes.



Ajuga is a rugged evergreen perennial that’s low-spreading with rounded purple or purple-variegated leaves depending on variety. Makes a non-traditional alternative to ivy.


Hardy sedums

Hardy sedums can be semi-trailing or short and clumpy with purple or blue-grey leaves, good for creating structural displays.


Plants with attractive winter seedheads