Are you looking for colourful winter plants?
Even in the long dark days of winter, looking out on to the city, my heart is always lifted by winter plants. They continue to give colour and add life to my balcony garden. The view beyond, across London during these months before spring, can sometimes be a little gloomy.
So, I always think of winter plants with some thought to how they will look from the warmth of my open plan living space. The room is full of bright colours, orange, saffron and ochre against white. So it’s great to pick these up again in the white Elho planters I use on the balcony.
There are lots of colourful winter plants that can survive the exposed conditions of the 14th floor, and put on a pretty good show. Viburnum tinus is particularly good at this time of year, with its pink flower heads bursting into life. I like ‘Eve Prince’ a variety that doesn’t seem to mind being in a container. Then we have the Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’. This is a shrub with lime-green leaves in summer but in winter the stems turn a fiery red colour. But the leaves don’t like wind, so you need to keep it protected.
Little Pittosporum ‘Tom Thumb’ is hardy plant with purple leaves and you can shape it into a mound or ball. One plant I tried this season is Lorapetalum chinese ‘Ever Red’ which looks great but suffers a lot in the wind. I’m not sure she will make it to produce her tiny pink flowers in late winter. But that’s the thing about gardening – even in the sky – you have to try things, see what works. Sadly some plants just can’t survive happily up here, so we find something else!
Winter flowering plants
The trick always with container planting design, is to make sure you have some strong structural plants. They will give you evergreen (or in this case ever-purple and red) performance and structure.This means they look good all year round and if they are doing well it allows you to ‘underplant’ them. You are basically creating a family of plants that support each other.
From late autumn, I plant cyclamen and hellebores both of which are winter flowering. They add incredible splashes of colour to those pink and purple soft shades. It’s good to know that there some winter flowering plants that will keep your balcony garden looking interesting all year round.
If you want help designing and planting a balcony garden, get in touch with me 🙂