When the days are grey and miserable, we yearn for mood-lifting tasks – such as picking out the perfect winter flowers for hanging baskets to add a splash of colour to our lives.
Ideal for any outdoor space, be it a patio, balcony, or garden, these little beauties aren't just a summer treat; far from it, in fact.
And, while you likely already know how to plant a hanging basket, and you've probably already got a list of Christmas hanging basket ideas as long as Santa's Naughty 'n' Nice list, it's always a good idea to know which winter flowers will thrive if you dangle them in containers around your home.
Thankfully for you, we have all the answers on that front...
The best winter flowers for hanging baskets
One of the easiest ways to add colour to your winter garden, sourcing an array of winter flowers for hanging baskets is one of our favourite things to do during the colder months.
And, thankfully, there are more than a few blooms to choose from, if you'll only glance your eyes downwards...
Hellebores, much like this striking specimen of helleborus from Crocus, are one of the best winter flowers for hanging baskets – not least of all because they're available in so many colours.
'Helleborus, also known as the winter rose, is a stunning perennial that produces beautiful, cup-shaped flowers in a range of colours, from deep purples to pinks and ivory whites,' says Charlotte McGrattan, head nursery stock buyer at Hillier Garden Centres.
'When planted in the centre of your hanging basket, helleborus takes the spotlight with its striking blooms. These resilient flowers have a long flowering period that lasts well into spring, making them a perfect choice for creating a vibrant winter landscape.'
Where to buy hellebores:
- Crocus: an outstanding selection of helleborus
- Thompson & Morgan: plenty of hellebores to choose from
- Sarah Raven: a wide variety of hellebore plants
2. Winter pansies and violas
Pansies and violas are a pretty easy garden idea at the best of times, so you'd best believe that they are counted among the best winter flowers for hanging baskets.
'Winter pansies add a vibrant splash of colour to hanging baskets and pair beautifully with violas and skimmia,' says Morris Hankinson, director of Hopes Grove Nurseries.
Morris Hankinson is the founder and managing director of Hopes Grove Nurseries Ltd, the UK’s only specialist grower-retailer of hedging plants, which he established after graduating with a Commercial Horticulture Degree from Writtle College, Essex in 1992.
'Pansies are very resilient and have a long blooming period, usually until the spring,' adds Morris.
'This makes them ideal for planting in hanging baskets over the winter months. And winter violas, too, flower from the autumn all the way through to the spring and can survive frost (although this will depend on how severe the frost is).'
Winter violas boast deep purple and blue flowers that stand out and brighten up hanging baskets.
Where to buy winter pansies and violas:
- Crocus: a stunning selection of winter pansies and violas
- Thompson & Morgan: cut a corner or two with the Viola (Ice Babies) 'Teardrops' Pre-Planted Hanging Basket
'Cyclamen is another winter flower for hanging baskets,' says Charlotte, adding that its 'charming, delicate petals come in a variety of shades of pink, red, and white'.
'These graceful blooms add a pop of colour and are perfect for creating a beautiful yet long-lasting winter basket – or even to your garden border, if you prefer.'
Where to buy cyclamen:
A popular garden trend, especially at this time of year, skimmia is considered one of the best winter flowers for hanging baskets for a reason.
'Skimmia produces bright red berries in the winter that look fantastic against a backdrop of green plants, such as ivy,' promises Morris. 'They can also make your hanging baskets look very festive.'
Where to buy skimmia:
5. Winter heathers
One of those truly gorgeous Scandi garden design ideas you'll want to steal, winter heathers – also known as erica carnea – is a brilliant way to add some colour to your hanging basket over the colder months.
'This low-growing evergreen shrub produces dainty, urn-shaped flowers in shades of pink or white during the winter months,' says Charlotte.
'These hardy plants are perfect for adding a ground cover effect to your hanging basket, providing a beautiful carpet of colour beneath any taller plants. When combined with other winter plants, erica carnea can create a radiant winter basket that will brighten up any space.'
Where to buy winter heathers:
- Crocus: a huge selection of winter heathers
- Thompson & Morgan: try the Erica x darleyensis 'Darley Dale' for a pretty flash of pale purple
Another brilliant winter flower for your hanging basket, heuchera is guaranteed to make your floral display pop.
'Fill out your hanging basket with heuchera of different colours,' advises Morris.
'With various types boasting red, green and purple leaves, they make a bright and vibrant addition. Heuchera are hardy and very low maintenance as well.'
Where to buy heuchera:
- Crocus: plenty of heuchera plants to choose from
- Thompson & Morgan: try the Heuchera 'Mosaic' or the Heuchera 'Paris' for superb colour
Ivy is a classic choice for winter hanging baskets due to its evergreen nature and trailing vines that create a cascading effect.
'Technically not just a winter plant as it's evergreen, English Ivy creates a beautiful trailing effect where the plants spill out of the basket,' says Morris.
'This adds character and a more natural effect to any hanging basket, and the green of the ivy compliments the brightness of the other winter flowers.'
Where to buy ivy:
What flowers can you put in hanging baskets in winter?
There are plenty of winter flowers that work well in hanging baskets, whether that be a hardy heather, a blushing cyclamen, or winter pansies and violas in abundance. Ivy, too, is a great way to add some texture and colour to your display – and don't forget to consider the charms of hellebores and skimmia, too.
Depending on the time of year, you could also opt for thyme, primroses, dwarf irises, or even Daffodil 'Tete-a-Tete'.
Can you put winter pansies in a hanging basket?
Winter pansies aren't just for your garden borders; these pretty little flowers also thrive in containers and hanging baskets, too. They will stand out and brighten up your display no end!
Now that you know which winter flowers are made for hanging baskets, we recommend popping one up by your front door before Christmas rolls around.
Trust us: it's a brilliant way to welcome family and friends, not to mention spread a little festive cheer to all who see it as they walk by.
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Kayleigh Dray became Ideal Home’s Acting Content Editor in the spring of 2023, and is very excited to get to work. She joins the team after a decade-long career working as a journalist and editor across a number of leading lifestyle brands, both in-house and as a freelancer.
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