Plants for Winter Containers

Winter plants create a burst of color and texture to winter containers. Oftentimes, many winter plants are evergreen, meaning they retain their foliage color throughout the winter to provide a much-needed boost of vibrancy to the landscape. Grown in a wide range of shapes, sizes and types, winter plants are frost-tolerant and bloom during below-freezing temperatures when all other plants have died down for the season.


Hellebore (Helleborus odorus "Double Queen") is a mid-winter blooming perennial flower that brings warmth and color to the winter garden. It grows 1 to 3 feet tall and wide and has a moderate growth rate and clumping growth habit that makes it ideal for a winter container. The double, pale pink to deep pink or white blooms have a nodding-like appearance as though they were bowing down to the garden. Hardy, hellebore flowers are frost-tolerant and bloom in below-freezing temperatures. They grow best in full to part shade and well-drained, nutrient-rich soil that is neutral to alkaline in nature. Plant hellebore in USDA zones 4 to 9.

Giant Snowdrop

Giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) is a winter-blooming bulb that has a clumping growth habit and larger blooms than the common snowdrop. It grows up to 1 foot tall and has a spread of ½ to ¼ foot long, ideal for a winter container. The single, white, 2-inch-wide, bell-shaped blooms on giant snowdrops have a waxy texture and green markings at the base of each flower. Giant snowdrops have two to three 1 ¼-inch-wide basal leaves that elongate to 4 inches after the flower has bloomed. Giant snowdrops grow best in full sun to part shade and moist, humus-rich soil. They are suitable to grow in USDA zones 4 to 7.

Winter Daphne

Winter Daphne (Daphne odora "Marginata") is an evergreen shrub with a rounded form that makes a stunning winter container plant. It grows 3 to 6 feet tall and wide and has a moderate growth rate. The small pink flowers on winter Daphne open to white and provide fragrance to the container. The oval, shiny, yellow-margined leaves on winter Daphne are deep green to retain their color throughout the winter, helping keep the container vibrant. Winter Daphne grows best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, humus-rich soil that is slightly neutral to alkaline. It is suited to USDA zones 7 to 9.

Keywords: winter container plants, hellebore, giant snowdrop, winter Daphne

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.