Add colour to your garden with the best plants for cheering up pots, window boxes and borders this winter
Don't neglect your garden and plants in winter time – follow our expert advice to pick the perfect foliage for you.
Keep deadheading these compact and bright winter favourites and polyanthus will flower for weeks on end. They come in a range of bright colours, including deep royal purple, yellow, pink and bi-colour.
For the best fragrance, look out for ‘Most Scented Mix’. The plants will grow to around 10cm x 10cm in height and spread.
2. Bellis perennis
Neat and compact with pretty pompom flowers in shades of red, white and pink, Bellis perennis will start flowering in late winter and carry on right through spring. They're a froth of loveliness, ideal for window boxes and containers, and best planted en masse.
They'll grow to around 15cm x 15cm in height and spread.
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3. Winter heathers (Erica carnea)
Winter heathers will flower from winter to mid spring, in soft shades of pink and white, and some have golden foliage.
They're a nice choice for a rockery or alpine bed, perhaps planted up in an old Belfast sink. They grow to 15cm x 15cm in height and spread.
4. Winter pansies
The winter bedding stalwart, pansies are hugely versatile and will flower for months, especially if you keep deadheading. Pick a colour and you’ll find a pansy: white, purple, orange, read, yellow and blue.
They grow to around 15cm x 15cm in height and spread.
5. Cyclamen coum
These pretty corms will flower through the dullest of winter days, brightening your garden with really dainty nodding flowers in pink or white, and fabulously intricate marbled leaves.
Cyclamen coum are a must-have for a semi-shaded spot.
A little smaller than pansies, and with daintier flowers, violas are just that little bit more subtle – but just as jolly. You’ll find trailing as well as upright varieties, in an unimaginable range of colours. Again, deadhead them to keep the flowers coming from autumn through to spring.
They grow to around 10cm x 10cm in height and spread.
7. Senecio ‘Silver Dust’
A really festive-looking foliage plant with finely divided silver leaves, Senecio 'Silver Dust' is brilliant for providing a backdrop to, say, a window box of deep blue violas of pansies, to really make the colours sing.
It grows to around 40cm x 40cm in height and spread.
The rounded hummocks of thymes, especially the variegated kinds, provide a rich evergreen foil for flowering plants – try them with violas or underplant with early miniature daffodils that will come through in spring.
The plants grow to around 15cm x 15cm in height and spread.
Classic garden sage, Salvia officinalis, is in fact a small evergreen shrub, which makes it really useful for adding colour to winter pots and tubs. It comes in some lovely shades of green and purple, plus there’s a variegated one, which is great for brightening things up.
Expect growth of around 40cm x 40cm in height and spread.
The fabulous ruffled, evergreen foliage plants come in a surprising array of colours, from zingy lime greens to deep purples, burgundies, black, pink and marmalade orange. Plant your Heucheras en masse for impact, and use as a foil for contrasting flowering plants.
They grow to around 30cm x 30cm in height and spread.