17 Gorgeous Winter Plants for Outdoor Pots [Cold-Hardy Flowers!]

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As the temperatures plummet and the days become shorter, many of us begin to think about how we can bring a modicum of life and color into our homes. One of the best ways to do this is to cultivate some lovely winter plants for pots. But with so many different options, it can be hard to know where to start.

Some beautiful pink heather flowers growing outdoors during the wintry weather.

So, in this blog post, we’re going to look at several beautiful plants for winter pots. That way, you can add a touch of nature to your home this season.

Sound good?

Then let’s continue!

Which Plants for Winter Pots Work Best?

One of the great things about plants is that there are endless cultivars and varieties to consider. And while some plants are better suited to particular seasons or climates, plenty will do well in winter pots or outdoor pots. Here are just a few of our favorite indoor and outdoor winter plants for pots.

Winter Flowering Plants for Pots

As the days get shorter and the temperatures drop, many gardeners lose interest in their outdoor spaces. (Our editor from icy New England doesn’t blame you!) However, here are a few hardy outdoor winter plants for pots to help brighten up even the dreariest winter day. 

1. Erica Carnea

colorful erica carnea growing outdoors in a pot
We’re starting our list of plants for winter pots with one of our favorite late-winter flowers. Erica carnea! (Or winter heath.) These eye-catching crops have lovely evergreen foliage and withstand cold months without fuss. We’ve also read from several sources that they prefer resting in a sheltered spot during hot sunny weather.

Erica carnea is a popular choice for winter flowering pots, and it’s easy to see why. This low-growing plant produces a profusion of small, pink flowers from December to February. Erica carnea is tolerant of full sun or partial shade, making it a versatile option for brightening up any space. 

2. Clivia

bright orange clivia miniata flowers blossoming outdoors
Clivias are striking winter hardy flowers excellent for container gardening. They’re a lovely orange hue and also tough plants. Clivia flowers can tolerate cold climates – but the temperature should stay above 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Their leaves can grow two feet long and make a spectacular winter display. The name Clivias dates back to 1828 and celebrates Lady Charlotte Florentine Clive. (Charlotte was a Northumberland Duchess.)

A member of the amaryllis family, Clivia is native to South Africa and thrives in warm, humid conditions. The plant produces a cluster of vivid orange or red blooms atop thick, evergreen leaves. Clivia is relatively low-maintenance and can be grown indoors or out. One of our favorite outdoor winter plants for pots!

3. Cyclamen

wintertime cyclamen flowers after a winter snowfall
Look at these breathtaking cyclamens covered with snow! Even though cyclamen flowers hail from the Mediterranean, they are famous for tolerating colder weather. Their purple flowers and deep green leaves can surprisingly withstand slight winter winds. Cyclamen plants flower during winter and are among our favorite winter garden plants. And we don’t see any dead leaves. (Not yet!)

Cyclamen are another excellent choice for winter pots as they produce beautiful blooms in shades of pink, purple, and white. They’re also relatively easy to care for and don’t need too much attention. However, they can be toxic to pets if ingested, so keep this in mind if you have furry friends at home.

Cyclamen are one of our top winter flowering plants for pots!

4. Christmas Rose

blooming christmas rose flowers outdoors in clay pots. This is a gorgeous winter flowering plant for pots.
Christmas rose flowers are elegant evergreen plants perfect for winter container gardens. They can flower anywhere from around Christmas to April. We also saw an illustrative Christmas rose and bee journal with a lucky bee diving deep into Christmas rose pollen. It looks like bees (and pollinators) love them!

Christmas roses are one of the best winter flowering plants for pots. They are surprisingly easy to grow and care for, and they produce beautiful white flowers that bloom in the winter. Christmas roses are also very tough and can withstand cold temperatures and frost. 

5. Snowdrops

potted snowdrop plants pushing through fresh snowfall. One of our favorite winter flowering plants for pots
Snowdrops are some of our favorite plants for winter pots. They’re ideal winter planters or container plants as they only grow three to six inches tall. We also read from several trustworthy sources that snowdrops don’t mind growing in partial shade. In addition to cultivating them indoors, you might try growing them underneath your native oak or deciduous trees to help provide some garden vigor during the colder months or early spring.

These delicate blooms are among the first flowers to appear in spring, and their dainty white petals add a touch of elegance to any setting. Snowdrops are also relatively easy to cultivate. And they thrive in both sun and shade. 

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Outdoor Winter Plants for Pots

Outdoor winter plants for pots are a great way to add color and life to your home during the colder months. Here are some lovely options.

1. Boxwood

vibrant and green boxwood bush growing - winter plants for pots
We love boxwood plants and their lovely dark foliage for winter pots. Boxwoods prefer excellent drainage. They also have reputations as being easy to cultivate. Most boxwood shrubs we see are relatively short and well-groomed. However, they can also become much taller plants. If left unchecked, boxwood shrubs reach 15 feet tall! We’ve also read that boxwood can get hurt and turn brown by strong winter winds. If possible – cultivate them in a wind-protected area.

This evergreen shrub is relatively low-maintenance and can provide year-round interest in your garden. Boxwood is also tolerant of diverse weather conditions, making it a perfect choice for those who live in colder climates. When selecting a pot for your boxwood, choose one that feels heavy and one with ample drainage holes. 

Buxus micro. 'Winter Gem' (Boxwood)

This lovely little boxwood grows best in zones 5-8. It grows 3-4ft tall and 4-5ft wide.

It's very compact, which makes it excellent for winter containers, edges, and border planting. Best in full to part sun.

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02/15/2024 02:37 am GMT

2. Juniper

blue evergreen plants growing in containers blue star juniper
Juniper plants have lovely green foliage and are excellent outdoor plants for winter containers. Many juniper cultivars can tolerate cold weather. However, if your junipers get exposed to harsh wintry winds, they may experience winter burn. Several reliable sources say you can safely prune dead juniper branches that die due to excessive winter currents.

Junipers come in various sizes and shapes, so you can easily find one that fits your space. They also come in many colors, from deep green to vibrant blue. Many junipers also feature berries that pop with festive color during the colder months. They’re perfect if you’re looking for a bit of color in your winter landscape.

3. Wintergreen

festive looking gaultheria procumbens growing in winter basket. winter plants for pots
Wintergreens produce beautiful white blooms during late summer and berries that add color during the cold winter. If you grow wintergreen plants, expect plenty of birds! Birds and small garden mammals love snacking on the wintergreen fruit. They’re not known for their fragrant flowers but rather for the lovely scent of a minty evergreen when you caress their leaves in your hand.

Wintergreen is a vibrant evergreen that produces small, bell-shaped flowers in shades of white, pink, or red. The plant is native to North America and Europe. It thrives in shady areas with moist soil.

4. Japanese Yew

tall taxus tree trimmed like a spiral growing in pot
Check out these famous plants for winter pots. Japanese yew! These evergreens are perfect for gardens or larger containers. Most sources agree that Japanese yew plants are tremendously cold-hardy. However, we also understand that snow, ice, and wintry winds may cause some yew plants to brown.

Japanese Yew is a beautiful evergreen that is perfect for growing in pots. It has dense, dark-green needles and a compact growth habit, making it an ideal choice for small spaces. Japanese Yew is also very tolerant of cold weather, making it a perfect choice for winter outdoor pots. 

5. Blue Spruce

healthy looking blue spruce trees growing in large containers
Blue spruce trees are one of our favorite plants for winter pots! Not only do they look beautiful growing in window boxes or on your front porch – but they also make the best Christmas trees! But if you decide to let your blue spruce flourish, be wary! These lofty giants reach around 60 feet tall as landscape trees. (In the wild – they grow even higher.)

This evergreen tree is known for its beautiful blue-green needles, which remain bright throughout winter. Blue spruce is another low-maintenance plant, making it an excellent choice for busy homeowners. 

6. Ligustrum

beautiful looking ligustrum bonsai tree growing in small pot
Some ligustrum shrubs grow massive if you don’t prune them. But not always! Here you see a lovely Japanese ligustrum bonsai plant. Many ligustrum plants are adaptable plants fit for cold-weather containers. But pay attention to the cultivar you grow! Many ligustrum cultivars get big. And Japanese privet (a ligustrum) plants grow insanely fast. Upward of 25 inches yearly!

Ligustrum is a genus of about 50 species of trees and shrubs in the family Oleaceae. They are native to Eurasia, with marked diversity in China and India. These plants are typically evergreen, but some deciduous species exist. 

All ligustrums have opposite, simple leaves and small, white flowers arranged in clusters. They have small black berries and are famous landscape plants prized for their glossy leaves and easy care.

Several species make lovely foundation plants or hedges. They can also be grown in containers, making them versatile outdoor winter potted plant candidates.

7. Ornamental Cabbage

rows of colorful purple and white ornamental cabbages
Look at these lovely ornamental cabbages growing in winter pots. They look colorful. And elegant! Ornamental cabbages are one of our favorite wintry crops. Their spectacular pink, red, purple, and white plants liven up any cold-weather garden. Ornamental cabbages can survive bitter cold weather and have the best coloring when temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ornamental cabbage is a member of the mustard family and is related to kale and Brussels sprouts. It is a cool-weather annual that grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. The plants typically reach a height of 12-18 inches and have large, flat leaves that are often brightly colored.

Ornamental cabbages are available in a breathtaking array of colors, including white, pink, purple, and red. They are an excellent addition to any winter garden and are relatively easy to grow. 

Indoor Winter Plants for Pots

As the weather cools and days grow shorter, many gardeners find their outdoor plantings beginning to fade. But there’s no need to despair! Creating a stunning indoor garden that will last throughout the winter months is easy! It all starts with choosing the right plant.

Here are some of our favorites!

1. Camellias

red potted camellia flowers growing in front of orange wall. winter plants for pots
Want more winter color? Red camellia flowers look lovely growing in winter pots. They are native to Asia and came to South Carolina and the US in 1786. Camellias are easy to grow if you give them plentiful shade and organic matter. They’re famous for their colorful blooms in early winter. We’ve also read from multiple sources that there are thousands of camellia cultivars, resulting in frustration regarding the names and categorization of these lovely winter bloomers. (We’ve analyzed many camellia clones and agree identifying them is tricky. But luckily, they all look stunning.)

If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your home during winter, consider adding camellias to your decor. Camellias are one of the best indoor plants for winter pots. They boast beautiful blossoms in various colors. And they’re relatively easy to nurture from within your home. Even better, camellias can prosper in low-light conditions, making them ideal for brightening up a windowsill or fireplace mantel.

2. Sweet Violet

purple violet flowers under fresh snowfall growing in forest
Sweet violets blossom during late winter or early spring and deliver vibrant colors and a lovely fragrance. They also make excellent groundcover crops or winter pot plants. But if you use them as a groundcover crop – don’t tread on them. Sweet violets look beautiful and are cold-hardy. But they won’t withstand much foot traffic.

These charming little flowers are well-suited to life indoors. And they will bloom prolifically even in low-light conditions. Sweet violets also have a delicate scent that can brighten up any room. 

3. Pansies

lovely pansy flower growing in a basket pot
Look at this lovely pansy bouquet! We love pansies for winter pots. Or spring pots. Or summer pots! That’s because pansies are surprisingly versatile and make excellent four-season plants. Pansies can indeed bloom during winter if there isn’t much frost. Even though pansies can survive mild winters, they detest getting water-logged. We’ve heard stories of pansies surviving the bitter cold – only to succumb when the winter snow melts – and drowns the plant.

Pansies are one of the most popular flowers for winter pots. They come in a lovely range of colors, and their delicate blooms add a touch of elegance to any setting. They also don’t require much indoor care, which makes them ideal for busy homesteaders. But ensure you keep an eye on them during cold spells if you keep them outdoors! They can be susceptible to frost damage.

4. Creeping Jenny

pots with creeping jenny plants and perennial garden flowers
Creeping Jenny is the perfect potted plant if you want something that grows without much nurturing. It arguably grows too effortlessly! Creeping Jenny is hardy in zones three through nine and has a reputation for being slightly invasive throughout much of the US. That’s another reason you may wish to confine this colorful herbaceous perennial to a winter pot.

This hardy plant is perfect for growing in pots, and its lush leaves will add a splash of color to any room. 

Although it prefers bright, indirect light, Creeping Jenny will tolerate lower light levels. Water when the soil feels dry. With its low-maintenance requirements and lively foliage, Creeping Jenny is an ideal plant for bringing a bit of life to your indoor space during the winter.

5. Coral Bells

heather green juniper and coral bells growing in pots for the garden
Have you ever seen coral bells in winter? Their leaves turn a delightfully festive red color! We love coral bells for winter pots because they have a reputation for getting lifted from the soil due to frost heave during the cold winter. Cover the coral bells transplant site with a thick layer of mulch if you grow them outdoors during winter. Mulch helps to insulate the soil and helps prevent repeated freezing and thawing from dislodging your plant.

A member of the heuchera family, coral bells is a perennial known for its beautiful foliage. The leaves come in diverse colors, including green, purple, and red shades. Coral bells also produce small, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in the spring. When grown in pots, coral bells can reach a height of 12 to 18 inches.

Coral bells make an ideal plant for winter pots. Their compact size and decorative leaves make them perfect for containers. In addition to being easy to care for, coral bells require very little light and can even tolerate some shade. 

Winter Plants for Pots – Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for ways to add a touch of nature to your home this winter, then investing in some plants for your pots is a great idea. Plenty of varieties can do well in colder conditions, so you’re sure to find something that suits your taste and style.

But make sure you conduct your research before you buy! And give your plants the proper care and attention they need to thrive.

If you follow those simple rules? We think your wintry plants will perform marvelously!

In the meantime – we invite you to chime in!

Which are your favorite plants for winter pots?

We love hearing from fellow cold-weather growers.

And we welcome your feedback.

Thanks again for reading.

And have a great day!

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