Best Winter Hanging Baskets – A Buyers Guide (2022)

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For many people, as winter arrives it brings with it dark evenings, trees without leaves and a bland, empty garden. But, it really doesn’t have to be this way! There are so many plants that will thrive in winter as well as during the summer, so although we admit that your choice may be slightly more limited – this is no reason to give up with your garden! We adore winter hanging baskets, as they are the perfect way to brighten up the front of your home or your back garden over those winter months, when most of your other plants seem to have gone into hibernation! 

Another perfect excuse to purchase a winter hanging basket, is the way that they can then help you to prepare for the spring! Many winter hanging baskets can have spring bulbs added, that can then mature and prepare themselves over the winter months, ready to come to life at the first sign of spring! 

If you are new to creating a winter hanging basket and are wanting some guidance on the best styles and plants to go for then look no further! This article includes all that you need to know about winter hanging baskets, including some of the plants that we would recommend adding! 

In A Hurry?

If you are sick of the front of your door looking dark and gloomy when you get home, or maybe you are itching to get out in your back garden but have trimmed and removed all of your plants ready for winter – then don’t panic! Here is all the key information that you need to get out and purchase a winter hanging basket quickly! 

The Basket 

One of the essential components to a winter hanging basket is the basket itself! In general, when you are looking for a hanging basket you are going to need one that will be durable, weather resistant and long-lasting – but this is even more the case for a winter hanging basket, as it is going to be coming up against worse weather than it would during the summer. 

For this reason, we would always recommend opting for a winter hanging basket that is made from metal – even better if this metal is powder or paint coated to protect from rusting. This is going to be a strong enough material to cope against those winter winds, with the coating there to prevent rusting when the metal is exposed to the rain and snows of the winter months! 

There are winter hanging baskets that are going to be made from PVC or from wood – both of these materials will be fine, but you can’t guarantee that they are going to be as strong and long lasting. Wicker in particular will struggle over winter months with constant exposure to wet weather which doesn’t really give the wood time to dry out. Other types of wood may be more durable, providing it has been pressure sealed, but you do stand the risk of it cracking or breaking in strong winds if it is banging against a wall for example! 

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Viola Pansy Pre-Planted Hanging Basket Lucky Dip Hardy Perennials Bright Colourful Flowers Easy to Grow Perfect Winter Display 1 x Pre-Planted Hanging Basket Lucky Dip by Thompson and Morgan
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Size 

It’s really important that the size of your winter hanging basket is right….if you are wanting your plants to survive over the winter months then you need to give them the best chance of doing this! 

Generally, you will need your winter hanging basket to be larger than a summer hanging basket if possible, as the roots need space to bed down. Some start at around 20cm in diameter and work all the way up to around 40cm. Don’t forget to think about the depth of the hanging basket too – particularly if you are planning on planting bulbs as you will need more depth for this! 

Winter Hanging Basket Plants

Once you have decided on the material that you are going to need for your hanging basket, here are some of our favourite winter hanging basket plants…

Trailing Ivy (Hedra Helix)

Ivy is a perfect option for your winter hanging basket for a number of reasons. Firstly it is an evergreen plant, so you can rely on it looking green and healthy all throughout those winter months. The fact that it is an evergreen and relatively hardy plant also means that you can transition it to a summer hanging basket or to somewhere in your garden through the summer months if you should want to. 

Ivy is one of those plants that isn’t always recommended for gardens, due to the way that it quickly takes hold and can cause damage to properties, but this is why it is perfect for hanging baskets because it will hang down the sides of the basket and is easy to remove if it starts to take over! 

Ivy is also relatively easy to get hold of from many different garden centres and if you buy it in bulk then you will be able to split it between a number of hanging baskets! 

Winter Pansies 

Pansies are a regular feature throughout the summer, taking up bedding areas, pots and summer hanging baskets. For some reason they are then forgotten about over the winter months but they really don’t need to be! There is a wide range of colours and styles of winter pansies that will be hardy enough to survive our british winters. 

We particularly like the fact that winter pansies won’t stop flowering through those winter months, so providing you deadhead them and keep them well fed through the winter, they will continue to thrive and grow. They can add a fantastic amount of colour to your garden over the winter months providing you treat them right. 

TOP TIP: Although winter pansies will continue to flower, the actual plant itself won’t really grow much, so make sure that you plant them relatively close together and do so in September/October so that they have time to become established before winter really sets in! 

Hardy Cyclamen

You may not have heard of Hardy Cyclamen but they are perfect for your winter hanging baskets and – similar to the winter pansies – will flower through those winter months in shades of red, white and pink. They aren’t too keen on direct sunlight, which makes them perfect for those dull winter months, you may just need to be prepared to plant them in some shade over the summer months as the weather gets warmer! 

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Last update on 2022-06-21 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Primroses 

Another colourful option to add to your winter hanging baskets are primroses – just make sure that these are the hardy, winter kind rather than just standard summer primroses! They aren’t going to be as tall as some of the other options that you may have for your winter hanging basket so you just need to make sure to plant them towards the front of the hanging basket so that you can guarantee they will be seen! 

It is worth mentioning that they won’t flower as well as pansies will, so they are better suited for autumn rather than through the thick of winter! 

Hardy Perennials 

Perennials are a great way to add colour to your winter hanging baskets – as you won’t just be guaranteed colours from the flowers, but from the leaves as well! It is important to note that you must make sure you are opting for winter perennials, as otherwise your plants just won’t make it through the harsh weather! The leaves range in colours from standard greens, to silvers, reds and purples! This means that you will have a wide range of colours to choose from! 

Evergreen Shrubs

Evergreen shrubs are a great way to add height and colour to your hanging baskets. Place them in the middle so that they don’t block the visibility of your smaller plants and they will add lovely depth and variety to your hanging baskets! We also love that they can then be planted in your garden through the summer months to continue thriving! 

If you are wanting more than just an evergreen shrub then look out for ones with berries, such as a Gaultheria or Pernettya as these will add a splash of colour with the berries! 

Planting Bulbs

Your other option for your winter hanging basket is to plant winter bulbs. Although these aren’t going to flower and add colour to your garden through the thick of the winter months, it is the best way to prepare your bulbs for spring, so that as soon as the weather improves they will grow shoots and add lovely colour to your garden! 

Some bulbs that you could plant are snowdrops, mini daffodils, bluebells or crocuses. 

Extra Winter Hanging Basket Features 

By now you should know what size and material you need for your winter hanging basket, but here are some of the things you may not have thought of yet….

  • Hanging – Make sure to check whether your hanging basket actually comes with a hook and a chain to allow you to hang it – and how substantial this is going to be. Some hanging baskets can actually be fitted to walls which will give them more stability over winter months!
  • Liner – It is really important to think about the liner for your winter hanging basket, even more so than in summer. This is because the hanging basket – and the soil within it – are going to be coming up against much more water than through summer! You can either opt for liner bags that will be made from plastic but you will have to make sure that they have a considerable amount of drainage. Your other option is going to be a more natural liner such as mosses but there is the potential of these becoming weather damaged!
  • Style – There are various different styles of winter hanging baskets that you will be able to choose from. They begin with the more traditional looks of semi-circular or a cone shape, but there are more winter and Christmas themed designs if you are wanting something that will stand out more! 

How to Prepare Your Winter Hanging Basket 

If you aren’t purchasing a winter hanging basket that is pre-planted then you will need to know how to prepare it too. Good preparation is the key to having a successful and thriving hanging basket all through those winter months. 

  • Choose a liner that is going to ensure the soil stays in place but also offer good drainage for the rainwater – as there can be a lot of it over winter.
  • Look out for a compost that comes with slow-release food in it (or if not then make sure to purchase some slow-release food separately). Many winter hanging basket plants won’t enjoy being fed over winter as they would in summer and will actually survive better from just good quality soil when they are first planted. 
  • Consider how you are going to position your plants and the selection that you are going to buy. As a general rule you need one or two trailing plants (such as ivy), a taller plant (like an evergreen shrub) and then some smaller plants to fill around the gaps (for example winter pansies). 
  • Once you have decided on the position of your plants, simply dig a reasonable sized hole (add the feed if you haven’t done already) and plant your plants! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can you plant a hanging basket over winter? 

Yes! Provided you select your plants a little more carefully and choose ones that are going to be able to thrive over winter there is no reason why you cannot have a winter hanging basket! They are also a good way to keep shrubs and smaller plants healthy over winter if they are not established enough to remain in the main part of your garden! 

Do I need to feed hanging basket plants over winter? 

As a general rule, you won’t need to feed your hanging basket plants over winter – and this can actually do more harm than good if you do! We would recommend ensuring that the plants have good quality soil/compost with slow-release food included, and just make sure that your plants have enough water!

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