Growing plants in containers is a great way to change the look of your patio or front porch. In the cold winter months, you need to use plants that are hearty and will survive the low temps. Which plants are good picks?
Using containers to grow and display plants and flowers is a great way to maximize small spaces, and many plants do very well in containers. One of the great things about container gardening is that you can move various pots and urns around to maximize sun exposure or to protect plants from frost. By paying attention to a few details, you can enjoy your container gardens year-round.
The perfect pot
Almost anything that will hold plants can be used as a garden pot. One of the most important things to consider when choosing your container is drainage. Ideally, you would be able to drill a few small holes in the bottom of the container for drainage. If you are unable to add holes, a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot will help prevent the plant from becoming too water-logged. You may also consider planting in a container that will drain well, then placing this container inside the decorative one.
Use your imagination! Anything from a child’s wagon to an old wine barrel makes an interesting container for plants, and you can even change them with the seasons.
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The perfect mix
One of the trickiest things about planting in containers is creating the perfect growing environment for the plants you choose. Since the plants are restricted to just the pot, the soil and additives need to be top-notch for the plants to thrive. Choose a commercial potting mix and add peat moss or compost for help with moisture retention and some coarse sand for drainage.
For winter plants, water less frequently than you would during the spring or summer. Place your winter container garden where it will be sure to get enough light during the shorter winter days. For added protection from the elements, add a layer of mulch over the top of the soil after planting.
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Cold-loving plants for your pots
Try a few of these hardy annuals that are tough enough to brave the cold:
- Flowering cabbages and flowering kale offer a burst of color in late fall, when other plants are fading fast. The color actually comes from the leaves, which range in color from pink and purple to autumn red. The ornamental varieties are bred to have beautiful foliage and are not as tasty as their garden counterparts.
- Ornamental grasses are a beautiful feature in a container and easier to keep from spreading — as they tend to do when planted in the ground. Grasses come in a wide variety of colors and types, including Japanese silver grass, feather reed grass, fountain grass and Japanese forest grass.
- Pansies tend to prefer cooler weather, and there is even a variety called the ice pansy that has been bred to withstand light snow.
- Shrubs like English holly, boxwood and broadleaf evergreen make a nice centerpiece for your winter container.
- Chrysanthemums do well in colder climates and are an excellent container plant. They have few issues with disease and are generally considered a hardy plant. With more colors available than you can imagine, these mums will be a standout in your winter container garden.
Choose the perfect container and pick out some hardy plants to brighten your front porch this winter.