Just because winter is fast approaching, that does not mean that we have to put up with a lack of colour and interest in our gardens. Whether in a polytunnel, or elsewhere in our gardens, hanging baskets can be a great way to make the most of the space and keep things looking great. To help you keep up hanging displays over the coldest months, here are some of the best flowers for winter hanging baskets:
Winter pansies are an enduring favourite that should see you right through from October to the spring. There are plenty of different colours to choose from and, when deadheaded on a regular basis, these plants should flower non-stop for months on end.
Violas for Winter Hanging Baskets
Related violas also provide a wealth of options for winter hanging baskets, and are another excellent bedding plant option that can be used to plant up winter baskets for immediate impact. Be sure to choose violas that are suitable for winter growth. A trailing viola like ‘Allspice mixed’ can be great for winter hanging baskets.
Primroses are another winter hardy flower that can work well in hanging baskets. They give a brilliant splash of yellow even in the coldest part of the year. To make an attractive display, you could consider placing these in the sides, as well as in the tops, of your hanging baskets. For great winter hardiness, try ‘Primrose Husky Mixed’.
Similar to primroses, polyanthus plants differ from them in that their flowers form in umbels at the top of their short, sturdy stems. ‘Most scented mix’ flowers from January right through until May when provided with the right conditions and deadheaded regularly.
This perennial plant is a great value option for your winter hanging baskets. Not only will it provide an abundance of small pink, red and white flowers, it can also be planted out into beds or borders once the hanging baskets are finished with, and kept in your garden for years to come. Just make sure that you choose a winter hardy variety. Try cyclamen coum, or cyclamen hederifolium.
These hardy perennial daisies are another great value choice for winter hanging baskets. With neat and compact form, and quilled flowers in red, pink or white, these are another great choice for bringing colour to a late winter garden. They can also produce a second flush of flowers in the spring.
Erica carnea (Winter Flowering Heathers for Winter Flowering Baskets)
A wide range of flowering heathers can also be used to enliven and enrich your winter baskets. There are a range of different varieties to choose from which flower from mid-late winter through to spring. For example, you could try ‘January Sun’, which has sparse pink flowers, ‘Natalie’, with its dark pinkish red racemes of flowers borne between mid winter and early spring, or ‘Myretoun Ruby’ with its rich magenta blooms.
Certain cultivars of Iris Reticulata are also perfect for winter hanging baskets, helping keeping the display going right through until the spring. Adding bulbs to your winter baskets along with the bedding plants can keep it going for longer. These attractive blooms come in many colours and can really add a delicate beauty to your winter baskets.
Crocus for Winter Flowering Baskets
Another bulb to consider adding to your winter hanging baskets for early spring colour is the crocus. Popping up their heads early in the year, the appearance of crocuses can be a sign that spring is definitely on its way. Of course, you could also consider adding other spring bulbs, especially Narcissi.
In addition to placing flowering plants in your winter hanging baskets, you should also consider adding evergreens and ornamental foliage/ grasses to your displays. Box, ivy, carex, and gaultheria could all be excellent options.
Now is the time to plant up your winter baskets, so make this the next job on your gardening list, and keep your garden looking lovely all winter long.
Do you have any tips to share for those looking to create great winter baskets? Share your own tips and suggestions in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.