British Garden Centres’ guide to autumn and winter container plants

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British Garden Centres’ Guide to Autumn and Winter Container Plants

In winter, don’t let the chill discourage you from having a gorgeous outdoor space. With the right selection of plants, you can keep your container garden vibrant and beautiful even during the colder autumn and winter months. From ornamental grasses and winter-flowering pansies to spring bulbs and herbs, there are plenty of options to choose from. Embrace the unique charm of autumn and winter container gardening and create a stunning oasis that’ll stay lush all year long!

Choosing your container

For year-round use, you’ll want to pick a tough, robust container. Head to your local British Garden Centres store and you’ll find terracotta, wood, earthenware, and glazed ceramic pots that are labelled as frost-proof and crack-resistant or shop our online range of Pots and Planters. To make sure your plants stay healthy through the winter, you should also invest in some pot feet or stands to help with drainage, prevent waterlogging, and deter pests. It’s especially important here in the UK with our unpredictable and wet weather!


Bring some life to your garden this winter by adding plants with eye-catching foliage, ornamental grasses, evergreen shrubs and conifers. These selections will add height, structure and texture to your autumn and winter containers. For a pop of colour, choose from our top picks for winter bedding plants that are sure to impress. Our plant experts have put together a list of their favourite options available in store this season.


Seasonal plants

For a splash of seasonal colour, plant winter bedding plants like pansies, violas, cyclamen, and primroses. These hardy little blooms come in a rainbow of colours and can brave cold weather and frost. To help them thrive, plant them in a nutrient-rich, well-draining container and set them in a sunny spot. Their cheerful flowers will bring a smile to your garden all autumn and winter long.


Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grasses are a great way to spruce up your autumn and winter container garden. They provide plenty of texture and movement, plus many of them have gorgeous foliage that can really add some wow factor to your outdoor space. We’d recommend adding Festuca glauca, Carex buchananii, or Panicum virgatum. Not only are they hardy enough to survive colder temps, but they also bring a lot of colour to even the dreariest of days!

ornamental grasses

Evergreen beauties

Viburnum, mahonia, Skimmia, heucheras, and hebe are excellent shrubs that produce vibrant blossoms during the winter season to brighten up gloomy days. Winter-flowering heathers, available in beautiful shades of white, pink, and purple, are a valuable source of nectar for pollinating insects during the winter. Daphne, sarcococca, and winter jasmine are other attractive additions to consider for your garden during this time. These plants produce bunches of flowers with a delightful scent throughout the winter months.



Berries add a unique and colourful touch to an autumn and winter container. Various plants, such as callicarpa, gaultheria, holly, pyracantha, and Skimmia, produce clusters of glossy, vibrant fruits during the late seasons, bringing a luminous glow to your landscape.



Enhance your late-season container arrangements with aromatic herbs. Opt for evergreen perennials such as rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, and mint, which are resilient enough to endure the colder temperatures.


How to care for your container plants this autumn

In the wintertime, your potted plants need extra TLC. Try grouping them together in a sheltered spot, like under an eave or near a south-facing wall. Mulch can help insulate the root balls and you can wrap individual pots in horticultural fleece or bubble wrap for extra warmth. Don’t forget to check the compost for dryness -you may need to water more often during milder periods. Fertilising isn’t necessary, but regular inspection is key!

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Thanks for reading.

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