With the chilly weather on the horizon, now is the time to start thinking about which plants you want to keep in your outdoor pots. While some plants will need to be moved indoors for the winter, there are plenty of low-maintenance options that can withstand the cold and look great doing it! Here are some of the best Low Maintenance Outdoor Potted Plants for Winter
Winter Heath (Erica carnea)
A low-growing evergreen shrub, winter heath is perfect for filling in empty spaces in your winter garden. It’s tolerant of a wide range of conditions, including full sun or partial shade and dry or moist soil. And, if you’re looking for a plant that will attract birds and bees to your yard, this is it! The tiny pink flowers that bloom in late winter are a real treat for pollinators.
Winter Gem Boxwood (Buxus sinica var. insul. ‘Winter Gem’)
If you’re looking for an evergreen shrub that can take a little bit of abuse, look no further than winter gem boxwood. This tough little shrub is tolerant of both full sun and shade, as well as dry or wet conditions. It can also withstand heavy pruning, making it a great choice if you want to create a hedge or topiary. And, since it only grows to about 3 feet tall, it’s perfect for smaller gardens.
Japanese Skimmia (Skimmia japonica)
This compact evergreen shrub is perfect for adding some winter interest to your garden with its glossy green leaves and clusters of white flowers that appear in late winter or early spring. It does best in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil, but it will tolerate full sun if given enough water. Japanese skimmia is also fairly deer resistant, so it’s a good choice if you live in an area where deer are a problem.
Chinese Fringe Flower ‘Ruby’ (Loropetalum chinense ‘Ruby’)
This compact shrub is perfect for adding some color to your winter garden with its deep red foliage and clusters of white flowers that appear in early spring. It does best in partial shade and moist, well-drained soil, but it will tolerate full sun if given enough water. Chinese fringe flower ‘Ruby’ is also deer resistant and relatively drought tolerant once established, making it a great choice for low maintenance gardens.
Compact Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium ‘Compacta’)
This small evergreen shrub is perfect for filling in gaps in your garden beds or adding some winter interest to your patio pots. It has dark green leaves that turn a burgundy color in the winter, and clusters of yellow flowers that bloom in the spring. Compact Oregon grape is drought tolerant and does not require much pruning.
Dwarf Mugo Pine ‘Mops’ (Pinus mugo ‘Mops’)
This dwarf pine is a great option for adding some greenery to your outdoor space without taking up too much room. It only grows to about 2 feet tall, but it spreads out to about 6 feet wide. It has dark green needles and produces cone-shaped fruits that birds love. Dwarf mugo pine is very tolerant of cold weather and does not require much pruning.
Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
This coniferous tree is a popular choice for Christmas trees, but it makes a beautiful addition to any outdoor space. It has blue-green needles and can grow to be over 50 feet tall, but it can be easily kept smaller with regular pruning. Colorado blue spruce does best in full sun and well-drained soil.
Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Bay laurel is a classic herb that is often used in cooking, but did you know it’s also an excellent choice for an outdoor potted plant? It’s very tolerant of both cold and heat, so you don’t have to worry about bringing it indoors when the temperature starts to drop. Bay laurels prefer full sun but will also do well in partial shade. Zone 8-10.
Firepower Nandina (Nandina domestica ‘Firepower’)
This compact shrub is perfect for adding a touch of color to your winter landscape. Its foliage turns a beautiful crimson hue in the colder months. Firepower Nandina is tolerant of a wide range of soils and prefers full sun to partial shade. Zone 6-9.
Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
As its name implies, the cast iron plant is incredibly tough and can withstand just about anything Mother Nature throws its way. It’s also one of the few plants that can tolerate being in full shade, making it ideal for planting under trees or other shady areas. Cast iron plants prefer moist, well-drained soil. Zone 6-11.
Hens-and-Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)
Hens-and-chicks are perfect for adding texture and interest to your winter pots. They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, so you’re sure to find a variety that suits your taste. Hens-and-chicks are very drought tolerant and prefer full sun to partial shade. Zone 3-9.
Leatherleaf Sedge (Carex buchananii)
A member of the sedge family, this grass-like plant is known for its leathery, dark green leaves. It’s an evergreen, so it will keep your pots looking green all winter long! It’s also tolerant of a wide range of conditions, from full sun to partial shade.
Autumn Joy Stonecrop (Hylotelephium telephium ‘Autumn Joy’)
As its name suggests, this plant is a real showstopper in the autumn months. The flowers start out a deep pink color and gradually fade to a soft pink as they age. They make a great addition to any fall arrangement and will last well into the winter months. Autumn joy stonecrop prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’)
This compact evergreen shrub is perfect for adding structure and height to your potted arrangements. It has small, glossy green leaves that look great all year round. English boxwood is slow growing and prefers full sun to partial shade.
Dwarf Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa)
This evergreen shrub is perfect for those who want a little bit of greenery in their outdoor space all year round. It’s relatively low maintenance, as it only needs to be watered once a week and can tolerate partial sun to full shade. It’s also relatively small, so it won’t take up too much space on your porch or patio.
Golden Privet (Ligustrum ‘Vicaryi’)
Another low maintenance evergreen shrub, the Golden Privet is perfect for filling in empty spaces on your porch or patio. It’s tolerant of a wide range of conditions, from full sun to full shade, and only needs to be watered once a week. It’s also resistant to deer and rabbits, so you don’t have to worry about it being eaten.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
The Purple Coneflower is a beautiful addition to any outdoor space, and it’s also one of the few flowers that blooms in the winter. It’s low maintenance, as it only needs to be watered once a week and can tolerate both full sun and partial shade.
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Coral Bells are another beautiful winter flower that adds color and life to any outdoor space. They’re low maintenance, as they only need to be watered once a week and can tolerate both full sun and partial shade.
Winter Pansies (Viola hiemalis)
Winter Pansies are one of the few flowers that bloom in the winter, making them a welcome addition to any outdoor space. They’re low maintenance, as they only need to be watered once a week and can tolerate both full sun and partial shade.
Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)
With its dazzling red berries and glossy green leaves, winterberry holly is a showstopper of a plant. It’s also relatively low maintenance, requiring little more than full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Winterberry hollies are dioecious, meaning that you’ll need both a male and female plant in order for the females to produce berries. But once they start bearing fruit, you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of colorful berries that last all winter long—hence the plant’s name.
Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
These cheerful flowers are perfect for adding a pop of color to your winter landscape. Primroses come in a wide range of colors, including yellow, pink, purple, and red, so you’re sure to find one that fits your taste. They prefer partial sun and cool temperatures, making them ideal for growing in pots outdoors. Just make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy since too much moisture can cause the roots to rot.
If you’re looking for an aromatic plant to add to your outdoor space, catmint is a great option. This member of the mint family is easy to grow and can tolerate both full sun and partial shade. It’s also drought tolerant, so you won’t have to worry about watering it too often. Plus, the leaves release a gentle scent whenever they’re brushed against or disturbed, making it a perfect choice for placing near walkways or doorways.
Flowering Kale (Brassica oleracea)
Ornamental kale is technically a type of cabbage, but don’t let that discourage you from adding it to your potted plants collection. This leafy green comes in a variety of colors—including white, pink, purple, and red—and adds a beautiful touch of texture to any outdoor arrangement. Flowering kale is also quite resilient and can withstand colder temperatures better than most other plants. Just make sure to give it plenty of room to grow since it can get pretty big!
Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
As its name suggests, winter jasmine is a flowering plant that blooms during the colder months when most other plants are dormant. It’s relatively low maintenance and can tolerate both full sun and partial shade. Winter jasmine also has a sweet fragrance that will fill the air whenever the wind blows or you brush past it. And since it’s evergreen, this plant will provide visual interest all year round.
The serviceberry is a deciduous shrub that typically grows to be about 15 feet tall. It’s a fast-growing plant that is relatively easy to care for, making it a great option for those who are new to gardening. The serviceberry produces small white flowers in the springtime and edible berries in the summer. This plant is also known for its beautiful fall foliage, which ranges in color from yellow to orange to red.
When it comes to watering, the serviceberry is drought tolerant and does not need to be watered very often. However, it’s important to make sure that the soil does not dry out completely as this can damage the roots. For best results, water your serviceberry once a week or as needed. When it comes to fertilizer, use a slow-release fertilizer in the springtime and avoid using too much as this can burn the roots.
Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)
The star magnolia is a deciduous tree that typically grows to be about 10-15 feet tall. It’s a slow-growing tree that produces small white flowers in early springtime. The star magnolia is known for being one of the first trees to bloom in the spring, making it a welcome sight after a long winter. This tree is also deer resistant, which is an added bonus if you live in an area where deer are a common problem.
Japanese Camellias (Camellia japonica)
Japanese camellias are evergreen shrubs that typically grow to be about 6-10 feet tall. They produce large, showy flowers in shades of pink, red, or white and are known for being one of the longest blooming flowers. Japanese camellias are relatively easy to care for and make a great addition to any garden.
Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
Winter aconites are herbaceous perennials that typically grow to be about 6 inches tall. They produce small yellow flowers in early springtime and have dark green leaves that appear after flowering has finished. Winter aconites are relatively easy to care for and make a great addition to any garden.
Hardy Winter Viburnum Shrubs (Viburnum)
Viburnum shrubs are a great option for winter because they are very hardy and can take the cold temperatures. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so you can find one that fits your space perfectly. Viburnum shrubs also produce beautiful flowers in the spring, so they are a great way to add some color to your winter landscape.
Viola Odorata (Sweet Violet)
Sweet violets are another great option for winter because they are very low maintenance. They don’t need much water and they can tolerate colder temperatures. Sweet violets also produce beautiful blue or purple flowers in the spring. If you’re looking for a plant that will add some color to your winter landscape, sweet violets are a great choice.
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
This native North American grass is perfect for adding texture and interest to your winter pots. It has fine, blue-green leaves that turn a beautiful reddish-bronze color in the fall. In the winter, the seeds heads turn a silvery color that is simply stunning! Little bluestem is drought tolerant and does best in full sun.
Creeping Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
This low-growing groundcover is perfect for filling in those shady spots in your garden that are too dark for other plants to thrive. It’s also very drought tolerant, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking for a plant that doesn’t require a lot of water. In the winter, the foliage takes on a beautiful burgundy hue, and the plant produces small white flowers that give way to bright red berries.
European Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis)
If you’re looking for a palm tree that can withstand colder temperatures, then the European fan palm is a good option. It’s a slow-growing palm that can reach up to 10 feet tall, but it can be easily kept smaller with regular pruning. It has blue-green leaves that are divided into segments, and it produces yellow flowers in the spring.
Coral Bark Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Fjellheim’)
This small deciduous tree is perfect for adding some color to your winter landscape. It has bright red bark that contrasts beautifully against the white snow, and its leaves turn a golden yellow in the fall before falling off in the winter. Coral bark Japanese maple grows best in partial sun and moist, well-drained soil.
Sky Pencil Japanese Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’)
This evergreen holly is perfect for planting in small spaces thanks to its narrow, columnar shape. It’s also deer and rabbit resistant, making it a great choice if you live in an area where those pesky critters are a problem. Sky Pencil hollies prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. Zone 5-9.