Keep Your Plants Healthy With These Winter Container Garden Ideas

The weather outside might be frightful, but that doesn't mean you have to put your gardening dreams on hold for the winter. A winter container garden, planted with cold hardy plants or branches, can brighten up your landscape in the chilliest months of the year. Not sure what to plant? Get some inspiration from these container ideas.

Simply Pansies

winter container garden ideas

Photo by cocoparisienne licensed under CC0

Pansies might not have a tough sounding name, but they are pretty tough little plants. According to the UGA Extension, the flowers can survive even when temperatures fall to the single digits. They also look particularly pretty when they are planted close together in an antique container.

Choose pansies in a range of colors or pick one flower color and make sure you plant them close together in the pot. You want your container to look as though it is bursting with color, even when the rest of the world around it is dreary and gray.

Kale-tastic Winter Planters

Kale is another winter-hardy plant that looks great in a planter. If you have window boxes, you can use the classic container rule and plant "spillers, thrillers and fillers" using various varieties of kale.

For example, lacinato or dinosaur kale can be the "thriller" of the container, defined as the attention grabbing plant, according to Fine Gardening. Flowering or ornamental kale can be the filler plants. Since there aren't any kale varieties that trail or that will spill over the edges of the container, choose a cold hardy trailing vine, like Creeping Jenny, to peek out of the sides of the planter.

Barren Beauty

Sometimes, the bleakness and barrenness of the winter months can be something to celebrate. There's something very eye catching and appealing about a leafless birch tree growing in a cement pot, surrounded by moss-covered stones.

To make your own beautiful, but bare container, either plant a small tree in a pot before the first big freeze in your area or carefully arrange bare branches in the pot so that they look like a tree. If you don't have any stones that are naturally covered in moss lying around and don't want to wait for the stones to grow moss, you can find faux-moss covered stones at many craft stores. Arrange them on top of the soil and your planter is complete.

Winter Wonderland Container

If your green thumb turns black in the winter or if you live in an area that gets so cold, it's nearly impossible for anything to grow all winter, here's a cheater winter container garden option.

Instead of planting actual evergreen shrubs or actual holly bushes, arrange cut evergreen and holly branches in a container. It will look like something is growing, but you won't have to worry about actually taking care of anything. The video above shows you what you need to do to make a fantastic looking winter container.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Container

Maybe you believe more is more when it comes to planting a container. If that's the case, you might want to try an elaborate, over-the-top container, full of pretty much every cold hardy plant, plus a few branches, a birdhouse and even an artificial bird thrown in there for good measure.

The container pictured above follows the traditional thrillers, spillers and fillers model for arranging plants in containers. The thick, white birch branch demands attentions as it towers above the other plants in the pot. The single ornamental kale and a handful of pinecones fill in any spaces and add visual interest, while the evergreen sprigs spill out of the sides of the pot.

Tongues of Fire Planter

Sometimes, the taller a container is, the better. The height, mix of orange, purple and green colors, and the large size of the concrete planters make the container garden pictured above a wintertime force to be reckoned with.

This is another winter container that doesn't actually require you to have any sort of green thumb and one that will thrive in even the coldest of temperatures, since it's made from branches, pinecones and a bit of ribbon. To keep the container from becoming too heavy, it's a good idea to trade some of the container soil you might use for large blocks of foam. The foam is lightweight but will help to fill in the pot nicely.

Petite Pot

Maybe you don't have the space for a large container, much less for a group of them. Perhaps the small winter container garden shown in the video above is more your speed. The small garden arrangement is made up of plants that will bloom from the fall through the winter and into spring.

The two plants included for foliage were chosen not only because they will maintain their color in the winter, but also because their leaves will take on even more colors, notably pink and white. The cyclamen flame mixed plant in the container will keep blooming even through the winter months, as will the blooms on three viola plants in the container.

Indoor Winter Herb Garden

You can continue to enjoy fresh herbs all winter long. You just need to bring the herbs indoors, to grow near a windowsill. Varieties like oregano, thyme and rosemary can put up with the lower light levels and cooler temperatures available indoors during the winter.

To make your herb garden look cute and classic, plant each herb in its own small container. You can use clean out food cans, just make sure you poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage before you fill the cans with container mix. Arrange the cans on the windowsill, grouping the herbs by size. It can be helpful to label each can, so that you don't end up picking thyme when you want oregano or rosemary when you're looking for thyme.

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