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3 Winter Safe Plants!

Soon the weather will turn, and so will many people’s homes look. The usual drill is to clear out your planters and drag them inside or leave them standing empty and lonely for the long, cold season. Not you! Not this year! Winter doesn’t mean you can’t still have beautiful planters!

With a little know-how about which plants to choose, your curb appeal can remain totally awesome all year long. Here are 3 recommendations of plants that will work no matter what, plus a few pro tips.


Dwarf shrubs look amazing in planters! Before the weather turns too cold, you can plant them in containers and enjoy their color, form, texture, and structure throughout the colder months.

A general rule of thumb for planting in containers is to choose specimens that are hardy to two zones colder than the one you are in (but with the warm winters we’ve been having the past couple of years, and will probably be okay). Some great choices are boxwoods, spruce, holly, juniper, and even tiny ‘Danica’ Arborvitae (pictured). These evergreen plants keep their needles or leaves all year and show off in various shades of dark green, yellow-green and cool blue. They add a solid visual backdrop for the other plants in your arrangement.

Shrubs do need to drink plenty of water during the colder months, especially in containers, so keeping up with their care is essential. If you’re already used to watering your plants, you’ll just get to keep it up and get some fresh winter air while you’re at it! Only when the soil is frozen solid will you not need to water. On any warm day above freezing, give them a check and a good drench if the top two inches of soil is dry.

Use a product called Wilt Pruf to spray the evergreen foliage and keep it from shrinking over time. It makes a big difference to keep your arrangement looking fresh until spring.

Best of all, when spring comes, you can remove the shrub you’ve been caring for all winter and put it somewhere in your landscape!


There are few things more lovely than the waving action of grasses. They’re hardy, usually on sale during the end-of-season sales of autumn, and have a wonderful easy-going attitude. They just want to live their best life, and they love to stand tall in the background or to the side of any arrangement while doing it. Prairie switchgrass, purple fountain grass, and Little Bluestem are excellent options. Again, after the winter is over, you can either pull them out of the container and plant them elsewhere in your landscape or leave them in, trim them down to six inches and watch them grow new grass as the weather warms.


This cousin of Scottish heather loves cold and snow well enough to bloom in it! Fine and dandy in Zones 3-6, winter heath actually bloom under snow–it’s evident how much fun they’ve been having under there when a melt reveals their flowers. Their colors vary from white to pink to deep purple to magenta. The bloom time is long, from November to May!

To protect them from winter burn during a long cold snap, use boughs from evergreen to cover your health until the temperature gets a little more reasonable.

Well-draining soil is important as they are susceptible to root rot, so make sure you keep rocks in the bottom of your planter for drainage and don’t overwater. A moisture meter comes in really handy if you want to make sure you know what’s really going on under the surface, deep down at the root level.

Look for Erica carnea and E.darleyensis by name for the kinds of heath that will do really well in our Zone 6.

Winter Planters Rock

Overall, winter planters are rather easy to care for. They keep your curb appeal flowing and provide a kind spot for the eye to land when everything else is stripped and barren and plain. For extra impact, you can add non-living elements like birch poles, boughs…even ornaments and ribbons for a festive touch at Christmas time!

We spend a lot of time here at Rooted Happiness coming up with designs that will thrive in every season, so take it from us: Winter planters rock, and they deserve more airtime because they’re worth it! Our subscription plan includes them for reasons that our clients can vouch for heartily. Sign up on the dotted line and put us to the test…, especially in wintertime. You will be delighted that you did when your planters are the only ones in the neighborhood that look amazing!

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