Winter Wonders: Colorful Cool-season Container Ideas

Winter brings with it chilly days and overcast skies; but that doesn’t mean your garden or porch must be drab! Our winters are relatively mild, which allows us to grow beautiful color all winter long.  Whether you live in a condo, a home with a large patio, or a townhome with a shaded entry, there are a bounty of options to choose from when choosing cool-season container planting combinations.

With these few simple steps, a trip to the local garden center, or a phone call to us, your landscape will have pops of gorgeous color from now through spring.

Step One: It’s all about the soil!

As it is in the landscape, good quality soil is also key to a gorgeous, long-lived potted garden. A mix of quality topsoil, expanded shale, compost and amendments to improve drainage and water retention such as lava sand and green sand is a great mix. If you’ve chosen to plant your own pots, visit your local garden center center for a quality mix. Quality potting soil will keep roots healthy and plants thriving. Add in an organic plant food to boost blooms and overall health.

Step Two: Thriller. Spiller. Filler.

If you just utilize these three words when choosing plants for your container garden, you’ll be well on your way. A thriller is the focal point of the container. It is generally a tall and showy plant, such as Swiss chard, a mini conifer or rosemary topiary. A filler is what comes next. Fillers are your intermediate plants that help fill out the center of the container. These plants include everything from herbs, to pansies and violas, to mounding perennials such as Lenten rose. Last but not least, you’ll choose your spillers. Spiller plants do just that -- spill over the sides of the pot. Sedum, sweet alyssum, dichondra and herbs such as creeping thyme and golden oregano are all excellent spiller plants.

Step Three: Have Fun!

Your only limit to creating show-stopping container gardens is your imagination! Draw inspiration from your favorite fashion and home decor. Don’t be afraid to mix bold colors together, such as purple and orange, for a dramatic flair. Want to create a candy cane holiday theme? Red and white cyclamen at the entry are very sweet.  Keeping the theme elegant this year? A pot filled with a single mini-conifer and a solid color mass of violas is always in style. Add ivy as your spiller to finish off the look.



Cut greens and colorful stems.

Fresh cut holiday greens and ornaments can be added to containers for an unexpected splash. Add snips of evergreen branches and pinecones to your container gardens for texture and a wintery feel. The glossy foliage of holly branches with the bright red berries in place can’t help but be festive all winter long. The bright red stems of red twig dogwood bring height and drama to winter containers.

Ready to start your winter mix but short on time? Give us a call! We’ll custom design pots that will fit that style and budget of your home and landscape.