16 Best Plants for Winter Hanging Baskets

Emma Loker Headshot - DIY Garden
Written by: - Gardening Expert
Reader rating
16 Best Plants for Winter Hanging Baskets

Who says your garden can’t be vibrant and full of life even during the coldest months of the year?

With the right selection of plants, you can transform your outdoor space into a winter wonderland.

Winter hanging baskets are a fantastic way to add a touch of colour and charm to your garden, balcony, or patio when the temperature drops.

From colourful cold-weather champions like winter pansies and violas to frost-friendly floral beauties such as cyclamen, there’s a diverse range of winter hanging basket plants to choose from.

In this blog post, we’ll explore 16 of the best plants for winter hanging baskets, ensuring a beautiful display throughout the season.

We’ll also delve into creative materials for your winter hanging baskets and provide planting and timing tips to help you create a visually appealing look.

So let’s dive in and discover the perfect plants to brighten up your winter garden!

Key Takeaways

  • Plants such as winter pansies, evergreen shrubs and berries, and hardy perennials are ideal for winter hanging baskets.
  • Planting these winter-friendly plants in moist, well-drained soil in either sun or semi-shade will ensure their optimal growth and visual impact in your winter garden.
  • To create stunning winter hanging baskets, combine frost-hardy plants with a mix of tall, trailing, and filler plants that complement each other in colour, texture, and growth habits.

Winter Pansies and Violas: Colourful Cold-Weather Champions

Winter pansies and violas are hardy plants that add a delightful splash of colour to your winter hanging baskets.

With an array of jewel-like shades available, these cold-weather champions are perfect for pairing with other plants, creating visually stunning displays.

But a wise word of warning – choose winter-hardy varieties that can handle the cold weather. Otherwise, they’ll likely die at the first signs of frost!

Some fantastic winter hanging basket ideas include pairing winter pansies and violas with Skimmia Kew White and a clump of trailing ivy.

And for a beautiful mix of colours, consider adding winter irises in blue and purple shades, such as Iris reticulata and ‘Blue Note,’ to your hanging baskets.

Plant your winter pansies and violas in moist, well-drained soil in either sun or semi-shade and watch them dazzle in your winter garden.

Cyclamen: Frost-Friendly Floral Beauty

Cyclamen plants are not only beautiful but also frost-resistant, making them ideal for winter hanging baskets.

These winter flowering plants produce an array of stunning flowers that will inject colour right into your garden. Plus, cyclamen blooms over winter for months, so you’ll get a near-continuous display of floral beauty in your winter hanging baskets!

Hardy varieties like Cyclamen coum and Cyclamen hederifolium can withstand freezing temperatures, ensuring your hanging baskets continue to bloom even in the coldest months.

Plant them alongside other frost-hardy plants to capture everyone’s attention!

READ NEXT: Cyclamen Care Guide: How to Grow Hardy Cyclamen in Your Garden

Hardy Perennials: Colourful Foliage for Winter Displays

Hardy perennials, such as Heuchera and Ajuga, offer colourful foliage for your winter hanging baskets, creating an attractive look that lasts throughout the colder months.

Some Heuchera varieties to consider for your winter hanging baskets are:

  • Heuchera ‘Appletini’
  • Heuchera ‘Paprika’
  • Heuchera ‘Silver Gumdrop’

These beautiful plants not only add colour but also provide texture and charm to your winter baskets.

Planting Heuchera alongside other winter plants like hellebores, evergreen ferns, and ornamental grasses can create a stunning display that catches the eye.

Trailing Evergreens: Architectural Interest and Coverage

Trailing evergreens like ivy brings architectural interest and coverage to winter hanging baskets.

These plants help to conceal the container, add an attractive foliage look, and make the plants stand out more, creating a visually appealing display.

Ivy varieties like H. helix ‘Little Diamond’ and Canary Island ivy are excellent choices for winter hanging baskets. But if you’re not a fan of ivy, don’t fret! They’re not the only trailing evergreen to choose from.

If ivy doesn’t tickle your fancy, why not try:

  • Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
  • Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

Trailing evergreens are essential for creating beautiful hanging baskets that provide a sense of depth and dimension. These plants guarantee your winter garden will remain captivating and full of life.

Evergreen Shrubs and Berries: A Feast for the Eyes and Birds

Skimmia Rubella, an evergreen shrub and red berries

Evergreen shrubs with berries, such as Skimmia Rubella and American Wintergreen (Gaultheria Procumbens), will not only provide visual interest in your winter hanging baskets, but they’ll also serve as a food source for birds during the winter months – it’s a win-win!

Skimmia Rubella is a glossy evergreen with bright berries – similar to Gaultheria Procumbens, which is also an evergreen plant with red berries and glossy leaves! However, while Skimmia Rubella grows as an upright, bushy shrub, American Wintergreen typically grows low as a cover plant. 

When planting evergreen shrubs with berries, it’s essential to choose the right environment for their growth.

For example, Skimmia should be planted in partial shade, avoiding bright, sunny spots. You’ll also need to ensure it has acidic or neutral compost. Otherwise, it may struggle to absorb the nutrients from the soil. This could lead to stunted growth, which we certainly don’t want!

These beautiful shrubs are perfect for adding a festive touch and an extra dimension to your winter hanging baskets.

READ NEXT: 7 Creative DIY Ideas to Transform Your Garden This Christmas

Ferns: Height and Texture in Your Winter Hanging Baskets

Why ferns, you may be asking? Well, incorporating ferns into your winter hanging baskets gives you something different to look at, doesn’t it?

Plus, these plants give a great texture, structure, and a nice backdrop for those bright blooms, ensuring your hanging baskets remain lush and visually appealing throughout winter.

Hart’s tongue fern and soft shield fern are great choices for a winter hanging basket.

Winter-Flowering Heathers: Pretty Purples from Late Winter to Early Spring

Winter-flowering heathers, a type of flowering plants, will be a beautiful addition to your winter hanging baskets, offering pretty flowers from late winter to early spring.

These low-growing, tough plants come in various colours, from pinks and whites to purples, adding some charm and texture to your winter baskets.

Varieties like ‘Ann Sparkes,’ ‘Challenger,’ and ‘Golden Starlet’ are show-stopping choices for winter hanging baskets, as they provide stunning rose, magenta, and white flowers, respectively.

Plant winter-flowering heathers in acidic soil, like ericaceous compost, to ensure they thrive and brighten up your winter garden with their beautiful blooms.

Ornamental Grasses and Sedges: Form, Movement, and Texture

Ornamental grasses and sedges, like Carex and Japanese sedge, are perfect for adding form, movement, and texture to your winter hanging baskets.

These plants create a visually captivating display that complements the colourful blooms and foliage found in your winter garden.

Incorporating ornamental grasses and sedges into your winter hanging baskets not only enhances the overall look but also adds an extra layer of interest.

Use one Carex as the focal point in the basket, then fill in around it with some flowering and trailing plants for a stunning winter look.

Or alternatively, allow your grasses to trail down the side of your hanging basket, placing a tall focal plant in the centre!

READ NEXT: 34 Evergreen Grasses for Pots

Winter Brassicas: Decorative Edges and Visual Appeal

Winter brassicas, such as ornamental kale and cabbage, add decorative edges and visual appeal to winter hanging baskets.

These plants, with their frilly leaves ranging from deep green to purple, offer a unique and eye-catching addition to a garden, whatever the time of year!

But these decorative plants can handle temperatures as low as -15 C, so they’re undoubtedly a perfect choice for winter hanging baskets in the colder months.

Plant winter brassicas in a sunny spot to ensure their optimal growth and vibrant colours.

Creative Winter Hanging Basket Materials: Think Beyond Traditional Moss-Lined Baskets

Moss-lined baskets? Everyone has those!

Get creative with your winter hanging basket materials by thinking beyond traditional moss-lined baskets.

Consider alternatives like zinc, terracotta, or upcycled wooden crates to create unique and visually captivating winter looks that complement a whole range of styles. 

These materials add charm and character to your winter garden and provide a sturdy and durable base for your winter hanging basket plants.

I recommend steering clear of plastic-coated wire hanging baskets lined with moss. Why?  and opting for materials like zinc, terracotta, or upcycled wooden crates instead.

Why? Two reasons.

  1. Everyone has one, so they can seem quite plain and uninspiring.
  2. These shop-bought hanging baskets can sometimes hinder proper drainage as the moss retains moisture. When combined with the plastic coating, this can create a waterlogged environment that promotes root rot and other fungal diseases. Not what you want!

Choosing alternative materials will give your winter hanging baskets a fresh and modern look while showcasing your creative flair and personal style. Plus, your plants will be happy as you’ll be meeting their drainage needs!

Frost-Hardy Plant Combinations: Creating Visually Appealing Winter Displays

To create visually appealing winter hanging baskets, combine frost-hardy plants with a mix of tall, trailing, and filler plants.

This combination will give you hanging baskets that wow, remaining vibrant and captivating throughout the winter months.

Choose plants that complement each other in colour, texture, and growth habits to create a well-balanced and visually striking winter garden.

For example, mix colourful winter pansies and violas with evergreen shrubs and berries like Skimmia Rubella and Gaultheria Procumbens for a feast for the eyes and birds.

Alternatively, combine frost-resistant cyclamen with trailing evergreens like ivy and vinca for architectural interest and coverage.

The possibilities are endless, and the result will be a breathtaking winter display that adds life and colour to your outdoor space.

Planting and Timing Tips for Winter Hanging Baskets

To ensure your winter hanging baskets are ready for the winter season, plant them in September or October.

This timing allows your plants to establish themselves before the colder weather arrives, ensuring your garden looks stunning throughout the winter months.

When planting your winter hanging baskets, use a hand trowel, gardening gloves, secateurs/snips, and a watering can for the best results.

Deadhead flowers, ensure good drainage, and keep an eye on the watering to maintain a healthy and vibrant winter display.

With the right care and attention, your winter hanging baskets will provide a beautiful and colourful addition to your outdoor space all season long.


Winter hanging baskets are an excellent way to add life, colour, and charm to your garden during the colder months.

With a diverse range of plants suitable for winter baskets, including winter pansies and violas, hardy perennials, trailing evergreens, ferns, and winter brassicas, you can create stunning displays that brighten up your outdoor space.

By choosing frost-hardy plants, considering creative materials for your winter hanging baskets, and following planting and timing tips, you can transform your winter garden into a true winter wonderland.

So why not give it a try and create your own stunning winter hanging baskets this year?

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I grow in a winter hanging basket?

If you’re looking to brighten up your winter hanging basket, consider planting pansies, violas, thymes, ivies, little cyclamen, primroses, Buxus (Box), Crocus, Gaultheria, Iris reticulata cultivars, Hedera (ivy) – either variegated or plain, Carex (ornamental sedge) and Erica carnea (winter-flowering heathers).

Don’t forget to add some trailing plants to help the basket spill over its edges!

What is a good hanging plant for winter?

A great choice for winter hanging baskets is a combination of pansies, violas, thymes, ivies, little cyclamen, primroses, Buxus, Crocus, Gaultheria, Iris reticulata cultivars, Hedera, Carex, Primula and Erica carnea.

You’ll have an array of lovely blooms and foliage spilling over the edges of your basket!

How many plants in a winter hanging basket?

It’s recommended to have 6-10 plants in a winter hanging basket, depending on its size. If you have a 12” basket, you’ll need 6-7 plants; 14” requires 7-8; 16” needs 8-9; and an 18” should include 9-10 plants.

What are some good plants for winter hanging baskets?

Winter hanging baskets are the perfect way to spruce up your outdoor space, and plants like winter pansies, cyclamen, evergreen shrubs and berries, and hardy perennials will make a beautiful, eye-catching display.

Plus, you can also add things like ferns, winter-flowering heathers, ornamental grasses, sedges, and winter brassicas for an even more colourful and vibrant effect.

When should I plant my winter hanging baskets?

To enjoy your winter hanging baskets throughout the colder months, I recommend planting them in September or October.

If you enjoyed this and want to know more about winter gardening, you’ll love our article on Making the Most of Your Winter Garden

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.3 / 5. Vote count: 6

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

Scroll to Top