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Winter Plants for Hanging Baskets

By Callie Barber ; Updated September 21, 2017
Pansy flowers grow in a wide range of bright colors.
pansy image by bright from Fotolia.com

As the temperatures begin to drop and the leaves begin to fall, many winter-blooming plants emerge to light up the garden with color. Grown in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes, often the best winter plants are those that have a clumping growth habit that fills out the container for an attractive display.

Lenten Rose

Lenten rose (Helleborus odorus "Double Queen") is a winter-blooming perennial flower that grows in USDA zones 4 to 9. It has a clumping growth habit and reaches a maximum height of 3 feet tall and has a spread of 1 to 3 feet wide, ideal for a hanging basket. The double, nodding-like flowers are deep pink to pale pink and white with a mattering of speckles throughout the petals. Frost-tolerant, Lenten rose tolerates below-freezing temperatures to provide a burst of color to the winter hanging basket. The deep green, lustrous, leather-like foliage on Lenten rose is deer-tolerant. Lenten rose grows best in part to full shade and well-drained, nutrient-rich soil that is neutral to alkaline. They are also tolerant of both heat and humidity, creating a hardy plant variety. To promote new growth the following growing season, cut back the flowering stems after they bloom.

Giant Snowdrop

Giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) is a perennial bulb that grows best in USDA zones 4 to 7. The common name, snowdrop, refers to the resemblance the flowers have to drops of snow. Giant snowdrops grow up to 1 foot tall and have a maximum spread of ½ foot wide. The single, waxy, 2 inch long, bell-shaped, nodding flower appears to be bowing down to the garden. The bright green, 1-and-¼ inch long narrow, basal leaves on giant snowdrops elongate to a 4 inch long leaf after it flowers. Located at the base of each bulb, giant snowdrops have two to three leaves per bulb. Giant snowdrops have a clumping growth habit that looks attractive within a hanging basket. They grow best in full sun to part shade and moist, humus-rich soil.


Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) is an annual flower that grows in winter for a vibrant burst of color to a hanging basket. It grows 8 to 12 inches tall and requires a 6-inch spacing for maximum growth. The fragrant, 2 inch wide flowers on pansies consist of two lateral petals, two upper petals and one lower spurred petal. Pansies grow in a rainbow of colors including, white, yellow, crimson, blue and variegated colors that have one color swirled together. They have a low-growing, clumping growth habit that looks attractive tucked into hanging baskets and attracts butterflies to the garden. The dark green, ovate to elliptic leaves on pansies grow up to 1-and-½ inches long. Pansies grow best in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil. They grow in all USDA zones.


About the 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 Travels.com and GardenGuides.com. Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.