Guide To Fall And Winter Container Gardening

Flowers In Hanging Barrel Baskets
potted pansies
(Image credit: YourNikonMan)

Just because the weather is getting colder doesn’t mean you have to stop gardening. A light frost may mark the end of peppers and eggplants, but it’s nothing to hardier plants like kale and pansies. Does the cold weather mean you don’t want to trek all the way to the garden? No problem! Just do some fall container gardening and keep your cold weather plants within reach. Keep reading to learn more about container gardening in cold weather.

Container Gardening in Cold Weather

Fall container gardening requires some knowledge as to what can survive. There are two groups of plants that can fare well in fall container gardening: hardy perennials and hardy annuals. Hardy perennials include:

These may stay evergreen all through the winter. Hardy annuals will probably die eventually, but can last well into the autumn, and include:

Container gardening in cold weather also requires, of course, containers. Just like plants, not all containers can survive the cold. Terra cotta, ceramic, and thin plastic can crack or split, especially if it freezes and thaws again and again. If you want to try container gardening in winter or even just fall, opt for fiberglass, stone, iron, concrete, or wood. Choosing a container that’s bigger than your plant needs will make for more insulating soil and a better chance of survival.

Container Gardening in Winter and Fall

Not all plants or containers are meant to survive the cold. If you have a hardy plant in a weak container, put the plant in the ground and bring the container inside to safety. If you have a weak plant that you want to save, bring it inside and treat it as a houseplant. A hardier plant may survive in a garage or shed as long as it’s kept moist.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.