How to: inject winter colour

Here's our top five tips for keeping your garden colourful this winter:


Look to winter bedding plants for an instant-colour hit – winter pansies and violas, heathers  and cyclamen are perfect for a patio pot or the front of a border and will flower for several months. Also consider winter-flowering shrubs for a border feature that will come back year on year – virburnum, skimmias and mahonia are all reliable choices. See what’s looking good in-store through the winter months, and use that as your starting point. 

Winter Colour Pansies2


First appearing in the autumn, many berries hold their colour through the winter months to create a beautiful display. Holly is an obvious choice, available with orange and red berries, although don’t overlook pyracantha, rowan and cotoneaster. For something different try callicarpa – it’s a real show stopper, with its vivid purple berries standing out from the often dreary colours of winter. See our top five plants for beautiful berries here

Winter Colour Pyracanthia


You may not think of stems being an obvious source of colour, but many come into their own when plants drop their leaves for the winter months. Cornus is the most obvious choice, with stems of red, yellow and even black all available depending on the variety you choose. Ornamental willows are also a good option for colourful winter stems, with many thriving in wet soil. And don’t overlook trees – our native silver birch has a striking white trunk and stems that really stand out in a winter scene. 

 Winter Colour Silver Birch2

Evergreen foliage

With the vibrant colours of summer out of the picture, every shade of green (however subtle) becomes important in a winter garden. Look to conifers  to create the backbone of a border, or provide structure in a container. Leaf shape and texture is important too, with architectural plants like phormiums really making an impact.

Winter Colour Conifer

Man-made colour

Sometimes nature needs a little helping hand, and there are a few things we can do to inject colour into the winter garden. Start by reviving tired furniture and fences with a lick of colourful wood preserver – it’ll give your garden a whole new look. Then consider stringing up colourful fairy lights to add sparkle as dusk arrives. Finally choose containers that are finished with a bright, colourful glaze – they’ll provide vibrant interest even when plants begin to fade.

Winter Colour Lighting

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