My Journal

The best garden plants for winter colour

There’s a real magic about the depths of winter in the garden, when you’re able to spot the rich colours of evergreen and hardy plant life still brightening up the space. In the summertime, bold and colourful flowers are everywhere – but in winter, it’s important to be savvy with planting and choose plants based on their colours and structure.That’s right, your winter garden doesn’t need to be bare and bleak – there are lots of excellent plants for winter colour to choose from, and in this article, I’ll share my top picks with you.

When you’re choosing your plants think about different heights and textures, with the aim to place shorter plants around the outside of a border or container and tapering up to taller, more structural choices. The more interesting colours, stems and foliage you can find, the more dynamic your border will look through the colder, darker months – just the extra cheer you might need!


Heuchera is a great choice for winter colour, and it’s available in a whole spectrum of rich shades. Choose from purples, reds, greens and oranges and use them for excellent low-growing ground cover. As an added bonus, Heuchera sends up dramatic spires of pretty blooms in the summer months too, so it’s great all year round.

Plant in: Borders, containers, hanging baskets


Nandina is also known as false bamboo, or more whimsically as heavenly bamboo – but in reality, it’s not bamboo at all. This excellent semi-evergreen shrub has delicate red and green foliage which provides a great show all year round. Birds will love the bright red berries that appear in the winter! There are different sizes and heights available, and taller varieties look great at the centre of your planting scheme.

Plant in: Borders, containers


Winter heathers make excellent ground cover and add understated attractiveness with their small, spiny stems and miniature blooms. They’re completely unfazed by freezing temperatures, but they do like to get a bit of sun which helps them to grow in an orderly shape. My favourite flowering varieties are Erica carnea alba ‘Springwood white’, with delicate white flowers, and the gorgeous bronze foliage and hot pink blooms of Vivelii.

Plant in: Borders and containers


Pieris’ new foliage is a beautiful bright pink, perfect for winter colour. The foliage contrasts beautifully with the chandelier-like sprays of tiny white flowers in the spring. This shrub can grow large, but takes very well to trimming – just make sure to trim straight after flowering. Pieris loves acidic soil and a shady spot.

Plant in: Borders


Cornus sanguinea, a type of dogwood, looks relatively unassuming in the summertime with its plain green leaves. In the winter, however, this beautiful shrub comes into its own with its bare, vibrant red stems that add drama and structure to your winter garden. Keep on top of pruning in the springtime to ensure lots of fresh red growth.

Plant in: Borders


Cyclamen is a beautiful, low-growing flower with striking patterned leaves. It’s not fussy about soil but does require good drainage, so add a handful of gravel to the hole when you’re planting out the tubers. Cyclamen does really well in borders, and containers too – with a range of beautifully coloured blooms to complement all planting schemes. Keep deadheading them in the winter to encourage a fresh supply of flowers.

Plant in: Borders, containers


This dense evergreen shrub is a great choice for most gardens and will add stunning winter colour. It has rich, dark green and red foliage, with delicate bell-shaped flowers and berries around the festive season.

Plant in: Borders


No article on winter colour would be complete without beautiful pansies. We can’t not give them an honourable mention! They flower virtually year-round and are available in a huge range of stunning shades. They’re incredibly versatile and will grow happily just about anywhere.

Plant in: Borders, containers

Further reading:

Happy planting! Katie x

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