Wonderful Winter Garden Containers

During the cold months of January and February, when the setting is bleak and the sky is gray, winter containers can cheer up the soul and provide a colorful punch to the landscape. Many gardeners give up on their potted creations in the fall, but that can be a horrible waste because winter is when color and interest are most vital.

http://judyscottagegarden.blogspot.com/2013/12/winter-container-gardens.htmlWith the holidays fast approaching, it's easy to neglect your outdoor spaces in favor of creating a festive atmosphere indoors. For easy outdoor embellishment, create this elegant evergreen planter that will not only bring holiday cheer to your home, but last the whole season long.

Creating a winter design is not difficult. The general rule for container-plant survival through the winter is to use plants hardy to at least two zones colder than your USDA Hardiness Zone; this, however, is not always a steadfast rule. Many trees, shrubs, and perennials that are hardy in your zone will live and even thrive in containers through all four seasons.

 potIn this case, a frostproof pot with a drainage hole is important. Fiberglass, lead, iron, heavy plastic, and stone are the best weather-resistant containers to use; terra-cotta will eventually expand and crack with repeated freezing and thawing.

http://www.plowhearth.com/decorative-containers/category_s2008_d3004_c1199.htmlContainer gardening doesn’t have to stop when the growing season is over. Taking advantage of strong plants and seasonal cuttings keeps your pots going into spring.

Many people don’t consider winter a season in their gardens but there are a good number of plants that look good or interesting or attract wild life all year round. These plants generally have wintertime berries, beautiful bark, hold their structure in the harsh winter months or have great textures. Below are some ideas for plants that at least one if not many of these characteristics:

Select the Right Container Material for Winter

First select a pot that can hold up to freezing temperatures. Concrete, stone, wood, fiberglass and cast iron are good choices for winter. Avoid containers that are cracked and terra cotta because it is soft and porous. Frozen water in cracks and pores can cause the terra cotta to chip or crack. 16" sq. x 30"HSelf-Watering Cottage Planter

Cold Hardiness of Plants in Containers
Plants in containers are less cold hardy than those planted in the ground because the roots are not insulated as well. For the best results choose plants that are suitable for regions that are at least two zones colder than your own. For example, red twig dogwood is cold hardy to zone 4 so I can plant it in a container in my zone 7 garden and expect it to winter over. If you are not sure what your zone is, click here to see a cold hardiness zone map.

Using a large container will provide the roots with more soil for insulation and a layer of mulch on top will keep them extra cozy. Be sure to keep the mulch away from the plant crown to prevent rot. The crown is the area where the stems meet the soil.

Caring for Your Winter Container Garden

Try to pot up your container in time to give the plants several weeks to get established before the first hard freeze. Water the container once a week if the weather is dry; check on it once a month if rain is plentiful. If it gets cold enough for the soil to freeze, you can stop watering all together. Spraying evergreens with an anti-transpirant like Wilt-Pruf will help them retain moisture. Winter container garden recipe Because blooms and color are minimal in winter be bold with form and texture.

Cold Hardy Plant List

Arborvitae • Daffodil 'February Gold', species crocus & Galanthus–Tuck a few early season bulbs into your container for late winter blooms. • Deciduous hollies • Dwarf evergreen hollies • Dwarf junipers • Dwarf spruce • "Green Gem' boxwood • Hellebores • Ivy • Ornamental cabbage • Ornamental kale • Pansy • Primrose • Viola • YuccaBirch logs • Magnolia tips • Seeded eucalyptus • Ontario cedar • Red pine • Decorative mentola balls • B.C. hemlock • Italian cotoneaster What you need: Magnolia tips Cotoneaster spp. branches Red pine branches Hemlock branches White (Ontario) cedar branches Seeded eucalyptus branches Paperbark birch branches

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