Winter Displays: Pots And Tubs – When choosing plants for a winter container, see what is available in the garden. There are dozens of small flowering plants at this time of year, and while many are grown under deciduous trees, where they spread freely, many can also be grown in pots to add color inside the home.
An excellent example is Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite). It has bright yellow flowers offset by highly attractive leaves. You can also grow Cyclamen coum or its more tender relative, C. persicum. Cyclamen have sweetly-scented pink, red or white flowers through the winter months.
Do not keep them in a warm, dry room, however; they need a cool, airy place. This is also the time of year to wander round the garden collecting shapely stems (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’) and scented flowers (Hamamelis mollis) for display.
There are many small plants that can be grown in window boxes and small containers, such as scented hyacinths and hellebores, trailing Hedera (ivy), Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’, and young phormiums.
Many ivies have leaves that turn an attractive chocolate-brown color over winter, especially when caught by a frost. They also come in a variety of leaf shapes, from the large to the small and intricate, and many have excellent variegation. The Ophiopogon looks like a black-colored grass, and makes a good contrast with brighter greens.
And phormiums, especially P. tenax ‘Dazzler’, have red, orange and pink leaves. Eventually it will get too big for a container and can be planted outside. If it is going from a warm atmosphere to a cold one, make sure that it gradually acclimatizes to its new conditions and provide a deep dry mulch for winter protection.