Planting winter bedding is one of the best ways to fill your garden with colour through the winter months. These tough little beauties are perfect for brightening beds, borders, pots and window boxes. And best of all, planting winter bedding is really easy to do.
Best flowering winter bedding plants
Pansies and violas can flower from autumn through to spring in mild winters, and they come in a fantastic range of colours. Pansies have big, bold flowers for a real splash of colour, though they’ll tend to die back when the weather is very cold. Violas are smaller and more delicate-looking, but flower longer in cold winters.
For flowers in the middle of winter, you can’t beat cyclamens, making a spectacular display with their gorgeous sculpted flowers and silver-marbled leaves.
Primroses used to be considered a spring flower, but many now start flowering in late winter. Choose the classic soft yellow or go for some of the new vibrantly coloured varieties. Their cousins, polyanthus, have longer stems and look great in pots and windowboxes. Wallflowers are another traditional spring flower, but some new varieties, like the ‘Sugar Rush’ range, will give you an autumn display as well.
Finally, for delicious spring colour and scent, plant those cottage garden favourites, stocks and sweet william.
How to look after winter bedding plants
If you’re planting winter bedding in pots, good drainage is the key to success, especially in winter. Make sure the pot has good drainage holes and put a layer of crocks (bits of broken pots) in the bottom to keep the holes clear. If you don’t have any spare broken pottery, large pebbles or even old plastic plant pots on their sides will work as well. Putting pots up on pot feet also helps them drain better, and means your plants aren’t sitting with their roots in cold wet soil.
Most winter bedding needs very little care, although it’s worth deadheading pansies to keep them flowering for longer. Protect cyclamens by putting them in a sheltered spot or covering them with fleece in icy weather.
Winter bedding planting ideas
- Plant bulbs below your bedding for an extra splash of colour in spring. Don’t worry about the bedding plants getting in the way – the bulbs will find their way through.
- If you’re looking for a dramatic effect, plant contrasting colours – vivid orange and deep purple, or lime green and shocking pink.
- For a softer, more tranquil look, go for harmonizing shades of blue, purple, pink and whites.
- Don’t forget about foliage. With their colourful evergreen leaves, heucheras contrast beautifully with dainty violas, and ornamental grasses make an elegant foil for round-leaved cyclamens.
Visit our garden centre for all the plants and ideas you need to create your own wonderful winter displays!