Blog: Aiming for a riot of colour to brighten up the cold days
When it comes to winter bedding plants, I always plant them in containers. Why? Firstly, our clay soil is cold and wet and secondly, you can enjoy pots at their best where you sit and move them out of the way when they’ve gone over.
Here are my choices to keep floral interest – and scent – going from late September until May. For more ideas, read my post on bulbs and shrubs in pots here and planting late winter pots for immediate impact here. Please note: prices are correct at the time of publication – some of these items were on offer.
Wallflower Artist Paintbox
Wallflowers (Erysimum) are noted for their wonderful fragrance. This evergreen hybrid has a neat and compact habit, ideal for containers. Artist Paintbox has flower heads in shades of burnt orange and mauve. A short-lived perennial, this wallflower is grown as a biennial and puts up with poor soils. Height and spread 30cm. Flowers March-May. Six jumbo plug plants for £12.99, www.suttons.co.uk.
Miniature Narcissus Collection
I bought three miniature bulb collections from the Harts stand at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show. All three are planted in various terracotta bowls and pots to bring interest to the new raised beds. This scented collection of miniatures varieties is perfect for containers and troughs. Height 15-20cm. Flowers March-April. 30 bulbs for £7.50, www.hartsnursery.co.uk.
Winter bedding plants – Viola Pot Pourri Mixed
Another scented plant, this time a perennial that self-seeds. Pot Pourri Mixed comes in a wide range of colours and patterns, perfect for pots. These compact little plants are tough and will cope with the worst winter has to throw at them. Keep deadheading for the best performance and save your favourite colours’ seeds to grow on. Height and spread 11-20cm. Flowers from September-late spring. 24 plug plants from £6.99, www.suttons.co.uk.
Winter bedding plants – Mixed Miniature Tulip Collection
This mix of brightly coloured bulbs is ideal for pots or well-drained soil in full sun. Flowers April-May. Height 20cm. 10 bulbs for £4.50, www.hartsnursery.co.uk.
Pansy Matrix Mixed
This pansy was a cut-price bargain! Already flowering when I received them, so far there have been yellows, whites and a variety of large purple flowers. The compact plants hold the flower heads upright, even in bad winter weather. In my tall zinc pots, Matrix Mixed is underplanted with daffodil Rainbow Butterflies Mixed (see below). Height 21-30cm and spread 10-20cm. Flowers from autumn-spring. 15 garden-ready plants for £5.99, www.suttons.co.uk.
Winter bedding plants – Daffodil Rainbow Butterflies Mixed
This mix of daffodils is on trial from Suttons. Their unusual split cups create a whorl of petals, unlike the traditional flower shape. The various shades and styles make a real focal point in pots or borders. They also work well as cut flowers. Height 35cm. Flowers March-April. 10 bulbs for £6.99, www.suttons.co.uk.
Mixed Crocus Collection
The best choice for very early colour in beds or in bowls. This Mixed Crocus Collection has flowers in white, purple and yellow. Flowers February-March. Height 12cm. 30 bulbs for £6.50, www.hartsnursery.co.uk.