Winter Containers

                                  Planting pots for all year-round colour

No doubt the plants in your pots will have died off even though we haven’t had a hard frost yet. Have you refreshed your containers for this season yet?

November is a good time, if you haven’t done so already, to get out on a fine day to revitalise them with plants that will stand up to the more extreme weather that lies ahead. You will enjoy the fruits of your labour of one sunny day during the shorter winter months when you see a burst of colour.

 It is important to start with a hardy evergreen to add structure and texture over the winter season. You can add a pop of colour with annual flowers like winter flowering pansies or azaleas and spring flowering bulbs too.

 There are several varieties of evergreen shrubs to choose from. Not all of them are frost tolerant. Those with smaller leaves are tougher than those with larger leaves. You need to avoid heavy pruning to keep them in shape.

  •  Euonymus have different coloured leaves, but the most versatile and striking, to enhance your flowering annuals, are the variegated ones. Choose a slow growing or compact variety so that you can keep them in your pots for a completely different display in both the spring and next summer.
  • Dwarf conifers are simple in structure and interest, even on bleak winter days. They may be decorated for Christmas making them a perfect festive welcome to a container by your front door. They prefer acidic, well-drained soil.
  • The Skimmia japonica evergreen foliage have beautiful red buds that develop in the autumn and last over the festive season, through the winter, ready to flower in the spring.
  • Herbs are great compact, evergreen, container plants, especially for those that are close to your kitchen door. They thrive well in small, movable pots to make them easier to access. Fresh thyme, sage, rosemary and bay make your winter stews flavoursome for very little effort.
  • Olive trees are surprisingly adaptable evergreen plants. They are extremely hardy, surviving temperatures of -10*. But they need warmth and sunlight to bear fruit. Many people bring them into sunny enclosed porches or heated conservatories to overwinter them as they are particular about large fluctuations in daytime and night time temperatures that we often get in the winter. They need light pruning in the spring to encourage further growth.
  • Bonsai trees can make a dramatic show in an outdoor container for an all-year-round showpiece. They require regular pruning to keep their desired shape, so they are high maintenance! If you want autumn colour, try a Japanese maple tree. Each variety has a dormant season, so you will need to find out when your tree needs a rest; but looked after well, they can last hundreds of years!