Winter bedding plants for the southeast are annuals that will survive and bloom in the relatively mild winters of the southeastern United States. These plants are usually planted in late October to early November and must be able to weather short frosts and cooler days and nights. They only last one growing season, but some of them can actually provide nearly a year's worth of blooms if they are cared for properly.
Pansies can be planted nearly any time of year, and they will not only survive the cold months but may bloom through them as well. Pansies come in every color imaginable, and a vast array of patterns. They are commonly used as spring, summer and fall blooms, but hardy strains like the Universal series and the Imperial series can tolerate mild southern winters and will bloom through and after short frosts. Deadheading is vital if you want your pansies to continue to bloom.
Snapdragons are great companions for pansies, and the Liberty and Sonnet series of the flower handle cold best. However, if you want your snapdragons to weather the winter in style, you should plant them far in advance: up to nine months ahead of time. This gives the flowers time to settle in and gives you a chance to care for and cultivate them so that they will be happy, healthy and resilient by winter. Be sure to deadhead snapdragons and make sure that the cold does not dehydrate the soil for the healthiest snap dragons available.
Although ornamental cabbages do not have flowers, they will provide a welcome splash of color in your winter beds. They come in many shades and color combinations of green, purple and white. Cabbages do not handle summer heat well, so if you really want a great winter show, you will probably need to transplant new cabbages into your beds for fall and winter. However, once these plants have settled in, they will provide beautiful color throughout the winter.