Winter bedding plants masterclass: best expert content


Pink, white and red bellis

Winter bedding brings colour to the garden when you need it most
Image: Bellis ‘Bellisima Mixed’ from T&M

Winter bedding is an easy way to introduce colour to your garden in the coldest months of the year. With so many vibrant colours and forms to choose from, these hardy plants are sure to cheer you up on even the shortest of days. Check out these top tips and tricks from expert bloggers, Instagrammers and YouTube gardeners and fill your outside space with modern, colourful and creative displays. 

Browse our full selection of quality winter bedding plants for more ideas.

Choose seasonal colour themes to bring hanging baskets to life

Green and brown heuchera leaves

Gently trailing foliage bedding plants like heucherella are ideal for all year round hanging baskets
Image: Heucherella ‘Trailing Yellowstone Falls’ from T&M

Writing for the T&M blog, garden and nature writer Nic Wilson of dogwooddays knows a thing or two about making the most of your hanging baskets in winter. Go for a seasonal colour scheme like gold and silver as a starting point, she says, then pick out specific plants to bring the theme to life. See her full article for ideas on how to pack your hanging baskets with attractive foliage, bright berries and beautiful blooms.

Play with heights in winter hanging baskets

Different sized hanging basket plants

Create levels of interest in your winter hanging basket
Image: @talkgardeningtome

Yorkshire-based gardener and Instagrammer Harriet from @talkgardeningtome uses heather to add eye-catching height to her winter hanging basket. Rising up in a vibrant froth of festive colour, the delicate red flowers provide an excellent contrast to the deep purple pansies. We love the draping ivy too! Follow Harriet for fruit, flower and veg growing updates.

Try white and silver for elegant winter window boxes

Green and silver foliage for window box display

Foliage colours and textures are just as important in a good winter display
Image: @suesimpsonfennell

Sue Simpson-Fennel replaces her summer window boxes in October. Choosing interesting texture rather than colour, this expert home gardener keeps her display fresh by replanting her boxes with a dreamy white and silver mix of winter bedding including cyclamen, heather and pansies. She also adds senecio for its wonderful frosted foliage. Check out her fabulous garden over at @suesimpsonfennell for a wealth of inspiration.

Create colourful focal points to enjoy from different parts of your home

Dark pink pansies with yellow centres

Dark pink pansies bring festive colour to winter displays
Image: Viola hybrida ‘Rose Shades’ from Thompson & Morgan

Instagrammer Stina, AKA @thehackneygardener, uses dark red pansies and a few springs of ivy to create a gorgeous focal point on a table in her sleeping winter garden. For an extra bit of magic, she pops a tea light into a jam jar to nestle in the middle of the display. As it’s perfectly visible from her cosy indoor space, she gets a lift every time she passes. “Love seeing this from the window as it gets dark in the afternoon!” she says.

Mix winter shrubs and bedding plants for sophisticated displays

Man lining winter bedding container

Adam lines his decorative terracotta pot to keep the potting mix moist
Image: Adam’s Gardening Guides

Over at Adam’s Gardening Guides, Adam knows just the recipe for planting up a fantastic winter pot. Euphorbia ‘Ascot Rainbow’ brings height, evergreen skimmia ‘Rubella’ has attractive evergreen leaves, a gaultheria has glossy red berries and the perfect finishing touch is a bright yellow viola, he says. Watch his full video for a wealth of excellent tips and to get a sneak peak at his glorious winter patio!

Add a handful of slow release fertiliser to your winter potting mix

Viola, heuchera and ivy winter basket

A wicker basket makes the perfect home for this mixture of pansies, ivy and primrose
Image: Down To Earth

September is a good month to replant your summer pots, says garden blogger Alan Down from Down To Earth. In fact, if your display relies on winter pansies, “the sooner you plant them, the better the show will be!” In his info-packed article, Alan emphasises the importance of refreshing the compost when you come to clear out and replant your summer containers. Add a handful of slow release fertiliser too, he says. This gradually gives the plants the food they need to flourish over the winter months.

Carefully chosen bedding plants will take you from autumn through to spring

Purple and white violas in lawn

Plant delicate viola ‘Bunny Ears’ close to a path to enjoy the ‘hyacinth’ scent every time you pass
Image: Viola ‘Bunny Ears’ from T&M

Pansies easily out-bloom any other winter flowering bedding plant,” enthuses our resident expert Sue Sanderson at the Thompson & Morgan blog. These ‘winter stalwarts’ come in many weird and wonderful colours, shapes and sizes – from the crinkly, large-flowered ‘Frizzle Sizzle Mixed’ to the cool plum tones of ‘Coolwave Raspberry’. Discover Sue’s top 10 winter bedding plants for outstanding winter performers that will transform any outside space.

Plug gaps in herbaceous borders with winter bedding plants

Colourful polyanthus flowers

Polyanthus perfectly fills gaps in the border
Image: Polyanthus ‘Most Scented Mix’ from Thompson & Morgan

Writing for the helpful blog Garden Patch, Vincent Andrew says that an excellent way to beef up sparse borders during the colder months is to plug gaps with winter bedding. When tender perennials die back in autumn, they can leave borders a bit sparse. Go for tall flowers like Sweet Williams to fill the backs of beds, and smaller varieties like violas in the front, suggests Vincent. Check out his full article for more ideas on autumn and winter colour.

Pansies are an excellent choice for winter flower power

Different coloured pansies

Pansies come in a wide variety of colours
Image: @russellinthebushes123

Sue from @russellinthebushes123 loves her winter pansies because of their fantastic, long-lasting flowers. After planting in October, her fabulous purple pansy display was still going strong in May the following year! These frilly winter classics pack real bang for their buck. Looking for more cold-season colour ideas? Take a look at her photo of floriferous viola ‘Bunny Ears’.

Plant violas in frost prone parts of the garden

Brown and yellow viola

Opt for softer colours for a sophisticated look
Image: @katespottingshed

Violas bring some much needed colour around the garden and, as long as you keep dead heading, they will bloom all winter long,” says sustainable floral artist Kate. Violas are frost proof too, she says. These perfect little blooms provide plenty of winter cheer. Follow her at @katespottingshed to be inspired by her fantastic floral designs.

Deadhead winter primroses for a longer-lasting display

Man deadheading primroses

Deadheading primroses keeps them blooming at their best
Image: Original Gardening

Deadhead your primroses, says gardening expert Dan Ori at his YouTube channel Original Gardening. It keeps them nice and tidy, he says in his friendly, informative video. Just go in at the base and remove any spent flowers with a sharp pair of snips or kitchen scissors. Do the same for any browning leaves too, to keep your display looking fresh all season, he adds. Watch his full video for more helpful tips.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these top tips and tricks for growing the best winter bedding. Find more fabulous advice on winter flowers over at our dedicated hub page. And you can stay up to date by following us on Instagram where you’ll see our latest products and gardening advice.



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