winter pansies are great winter bedding plants

Bedding plants in the depths of winter really need to work hard. For one thing there’s the limited choice of bedding plants that will consistently provide some colour in the deep, dark days of winter. For another, there’s your own state of mind to contend with. Those little plants have got to do something a bit special to raise your spirits significantly. As with most things in gardening (and life, for that matter) the answer is to keep it simple. Read on to discover our best winter bedding plants… 

Peak Performing Winter Bedding Plants


The best winter bedding plant by far, in my opinion. Although the flowers are small, there is a wealth of brilliant colours to choose from, some already combined into lovely tonal mixes. What they lack in size, they make up for in sheer sturdiness and repeat flowering. There are lots of good varieties but my top choice is the Sorbet series, especially the cheery golden Honeybee.

winter pansies are great bedding plants for the winter

Winter pansies:

These give you all of the above with larger flowers, although arguably less of them. As for varieties, again there are lots of good winter pansies to choose from but you can’t go wrong with the Universal series and I rather like Waterfall, which is perfect for winter hanging baskets.

Primroses are great winter bedding plants Primroses and Polyanthus:

There’s something to suit every taste with these long-lasting and long flowering plants. The difference between them is that Polyanthus flowers are held high on a tall stalk, like a drumstick, and are rather showy whereas Primrose flowers cluster among the leaves and are more natural looking. Choose from bright pinks, blues and reds or subtle soft creams and yellows. These are as tough as they come and last throughout the winter. My favourite varieties include Primrose Wanda and Husky series and for Polyanthus look out for the reliable Crescendo, a firm favourite.


protect winter bedding plants from frost and snowClassic Colours

Keep your colour schemes simple and vibrant in winter and the impact of your winter bedding plants will be so much greater. A jumble of mixed colours is a riot in spring and summer but in winter you want fresh, clear colours that have some ‘oomph’. Go for the classic winter combo of red, white and green. Warm reds and yellows make a good show, too. If you want something a bit more muted, icy blues and rich purples look classy and winter cool.


add some substance to your garden with winter bedding plantsAdd Some Substance

Winter bedding plants alone can be a bit ‘thin’, getting lost in plant pots and garden containers especially. Avoid that by adding a bit more substance in the form of perennial plants that you can use in the garden later on in the season. Why not dot in a couple of colourful Heucheras, some soft, feathery grasses or evergreens such as Rosemary, Heathers or even tiny, baby Box plants? These all add some heart to your scheme as well as giving a good backdrop for the flowering winter bedding plants. Don’t worry, they’re not going to grow like mad and take over the garden container either, precisely because it is winter and they’re not really growing much, if at all.

What do you like to plant in your garden in winter? Will you try out any of these winter bedding plant suggestions? Let us know in the comments.

Jane MooreJane Moore is a multi-award winning head gardener, speaker, writer and TV presenter. Besides her day job as Head Gardener at the prestigious Bath Priory Hotel, her career highlights to date include guest presenting on BBC Gardeners' World, as well as winning a Garden Journalist of the Year award and an RHS Chelsea Flower Show Medal.