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Winter Container Gardens

October 8, 2012

Your gardening activities are probably starting to wind down about now, what with fall and then winter on the horizon.  But this year, how about adding some winter color to your deck or porch?  You can do it quickly and easily with some winter container gardening.

(Note:  Click here for a couple more ideas for fall/winter container gardens.  And…  Click here for 4 additional ideas for spring/summer container gardens.)

Rita and I potted up two containers this weekend with a small evergreen, surrounded by winter pansies and trailing ivy.

Ceramic and clay pots can crack in the cold, so you’re better off with those lightweight polystyrene pots that look like stone or ceramic, or maybe wooden or concrete containers.  Next, choose plants that look good together, and will survive the winter months.  Keep in mind the three shape rule:  Tall plants in the middle, round and full plants around them and cascading plants down the sides.  If you do not want to copy the planting that Rita and I did, how about a dwarf holly with primrose or flowering kale?  A selection of small evergreens of varying heights will look wonderful grouped together, and you can even put some holiday decorations on them for a festive touch.

Now the nice thing about winter container gardens is that they don’t need much care as long as you use a good soil like we did.  Even though we were tempted to use the old soil in the pot from previous plantings, we know it is best to start off with fresh soil.  We used Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix.  This special mix helps keep you from over and under watering, and best of all it contains enough feeding to make it thru the first few months.

And best of all, come spring you can plant the evergreen in your yard, and use the ivy and holly in your summer container gardens.

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5 Comments
  1. Kathy Ryan permalink

    Where does this gentleman live? I live in West Central Ohio and cannot imagine putting out a pot with pansies.

    • Hi Kathy
      Thanks for the gentleman comment… I live near Atlanta. You may want to consider Primrose for winter color in your containters. We enjoyed using Primrose when we lived in the Santa Cruz area.

    • Hi Kathy
      Wanted to make another suggestion for your containers as I got to thinking that when we planted Primroses in our Ohio garden it was not this late in the season. (When we lived in Calif they were a better choice for fall/winter containers.) We got great spring color every year from our primrose. You may still be able to find ornamental kale or cabbage in your local garden centers. The last recommendation is to use different kinds of evergreens such as an upright holly and a low growing juiper that can trail over the sides of the container along with your ivy. Then decorate these evergreens with winter berry or some other berries.

  2. Michele Moore permalink

    Can you recommend some tall plants for the center. I live in central Florida and would like to use perennials for my planter. Thank you.

    • Hi Michele Moore
      For our center focal point plant we typically look for an ornamental grass that will reach a 18 to 24 inch height, or a small evergreen shrub even though it would normally get taller in the ground ( a container’s restricted root area will help to keep it at a desired height). The idea is to select 3 kinds of plants with different color and leaf texture. One of these plant types should hang over the sides of the container. Our best ideas have resulted from visiting a garden center and looking at some of the containers they have planted and then making similar plant selections for our own container. You will know that your local garden center stocks plants that will grow in your area. One more thing: If the container is going to be in sun or shade will narrow down you plant selection to those kinds of plants. Hope this helps

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