Winter Containers

The time has come to make some decisions about our containers.  We had a freeze last week and things are not looking so good anymore.   What was looking really tired is now looking mushy.  Typically we don't do much when it comes to winter plantings in our containers.  Most years we switch out the front containers and leave everything in the back yard bare. (okay, I'll admit it, some years we don't even bother to pull the stuff out in the backyard, we just look at the ugliness all winter long.)

I honestly have a hard time with containers in the winter.  They so often are one dimensional and don't have the height that our summer ones do.  Everyone here's go to plant is the pansy, and while they have great coloration and cute little "faces", I find I don't really enjoy them in the garden that much.  I do like their smaller cousin, the viola and we do sometimes use those.

These are all pictures of last year's containers along the garage doors. There are a few columbine, but basically it all ornamental cabbages, swiss chard and kale.  These were probably my favorite winter planting we've ever done for winter.  They held up great and really looked nice until it got warm.

I don't have any pictures of our other pots last year, because they were either empty or full of dead plants from summer. While winter isn't long here in Texas, I'm not sure dead plants are the way I want to go this year.  I think we maybe upping our game and planting something.   I definitely want to use the "Ornamental Greens" again this year, but I'm not sure what else.  Clearly a field trip to my local nursery (or maybe two) is needed for research and inspiration.

What do you do with your containers during the winter?  Ignore them?  Take them inside for safe keeping?  Plant them up with fabulous things?


  1. Your containers looked great last year and I look forward to seeing what you do this year. I sometimes use evergreen grasses , violas, ornamental kale/cabbage, heucheras, whatever looks good at the nursery in my winter pots. Other times I just cut off the dead plants and throw interesting sticks in the pots for the season.

  2. In SoCal, we don't face the challenges you do with containers, although I do change some of mine out this time of year as the plants suitable to our warm season (like coleus) aren't so happy during our cool season, even if they're capable of surviving our version of winter. In some cases, I just get tired of what I've got, which is true of one of my big planters by the front door - the only thing I'm waiting for there is inspiration as I'd like something that can hold its own year-round for at least a few years.

  3. My pots are either empty and in the barn for winter, have an evergreen shrub, or sitting there with dead stuff. ha... The dead stuff is out where I can't see it unless I walk through the garden. You have reminded me that I ought to empty them. Anything I put into a pot this time of year has to very hardy. Pansies and violas don't survive our winter, very little does which is why I have some pots with boxwood etc. I will be curious to see what will survive your winters and what you end up using.

  4. Uma mistura verdejante muito interessante. Boa semana. Cumprimentos.


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