Outdoor plants

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots

Matthew Nesbitt
By Matthew Nesbitt, Writer and researcher. November 23, 2022
Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots

Keeping plants indoors means we are able to establish, monitor and adjust the atmosphere around them. We can have plants from all over the world since we can mimic the climate of their original ecosystems. Unfortunately, we are not able to have such control if we want to keep our plants outdoors, whether on a terrace, balcony, garden or anywhere else exposed to the elements. In summer, these plants may be exposed to an excess of heat and in winter they may vulnerable to frost. For many plants, this is means they will either be severely damaged or not survive at all.

For this reason, thedailyECO provides our list of 39 winter outdoor plants for pots. These plants are frost resistant meaning they should survive in cold climates, but it is important to remember that no plant will survive if the temperature is sufficiently low. This is a great advantage of potted winter plants since you can take them inside when it gets a little too chilly.

You may also be interested in: White Flower Plants for the Garden
  1. Oleander
  2. African agapanthus
  3. Japanese maple
  4. Cast-iron plant
  5. Bougainvillea
  6. Common red bottlebrush
  7. Cherry plum
  8. Lemongrass
  9. Leyland Cypress
  10. Dwarf lilyturf
  11. Carnation
  12. Clematis
  13. Natal lily
  14. Chrysanthemum
  15. Kidney weed
  16. laurustinus
  17. Scarlet firethorn
  18. Red tip photinia
  19. Other outdoor winter plants for pots
See more >>


We start our list with one of the most well-known frost resistant outdoor shrubs for gardens and patios, oleander (Nerium oleander). It is also sometimes called nerium and presents in a wide range of color.

Oleander is one of the best choices if you're looking for a hardy plant that doesn't require a lot of care. Just keep in mind that if eaten or used as firewood, its smoke can be toxic to pets and children. Otherwise, it is widely used for its brightly colored flowers that bring life to any garden, although its blooms only last until around September.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Oleander

African agapanthus

The African agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus), also known as the African lily, is one of the most popular outdoor plants for winter. It is noted for its beauty with lush foliage and beautiful flowers presented in florescent white, shimmering blue, lilac or crimson. Although it can be grown in the garden soil as a ground cover, it is more often found in pots, making it the perfect choice hardy potted plants to be placed outdoors.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - African agapanthus

Japanese maple

Also known as Palmate maple, the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) is one of the most widely distributed plants of East Asian origin. Although this is an ideal potted plant, we need to ensure the pot is sufficiently large. This is because it can grow up to 10 m (39'), although it averages around half that height in most conditions. While it is hardy in winter, it will also fair well in summer temperatures up to 38 ºC (100.4 ºF) with plenty of watering.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Japanese maple

Cast-iron plant

This plant is so hardy in cool climates that it has been given the name the cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior). Although it fares well in warm temperatures, it is a patio plant which can withstand temperatures as low as 0 ºC (32 ºF). This means it is incredibly frost resistant. It also has been given its name because it can survive for incredibly long periods, even when neglected. This does not mean we shouldn't look after it, but it does mean it will probably survive if we forget to water it for a few days.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Cast-iron plant


Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea sp.) is a climbing plant and widely used to cover trellises and pergolas. It is particularly appreciated for its abundant flowering and can thrive under minimal care. You can maintain it with little effort and enjoy it in both warmer and cooler months. It tolerates drought well, but we do need to be careful with waterlogging, meaning drainage is vital. It will survive well in winter, but will not flower until it is warmer.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Bougainvillea

Common red bottlebrush

Commonly known as red bottlebrush, crimson bottlebrush, or lemon bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus), this is one of the hardiest evergreen shrubs. It can be grown in pots or directly in soil. When planted in soil, it can reach more than 3 m (3.2') in height.

It is widely used for its thorny red flowers which decorate the corners of gardens, terraces and patios. It is a shrub that prefers direct exposure to the sun.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Common red bottlebrush

Cherry plum

One of the most widely used deciduous trees outdoors, the cherry or Myrobalan plum (Prunus cerasifera) is so popular thanks to its hardiness. This makes it a particularly good winter outdoor plant for pots. It is capable of reaching up to 15 m (49') in height. It is used for its great ornamental value thanks to its reddish trunk and its spectacular flowering in early spring. It can easily withstand temperatures up to 38 ºC/100.4 ºF in summer and -15 ºC/5 ºF in winter.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Cherry plum


You probably know this plant because it is one of the most effective natural ways to repel mosquitoes. This shrubby, lemon-scented plant is also a more than perfect choice for patios and gardens. Although a good winter outdoor plant, you may want to cover the West Indian lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) in case of frost. It is great to place near where you sleep during the summer as its aroma is both very pleasant and acts as a repellant for bugs.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Lemongrass

Leyland Cypress

The Leyland cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) is a hybrid between the cypress plants Cupressus macrocarpa and Chamaecyparis nootkatensis. The result is a strong-growing plant, capable of gaining a foot and a half in height per year, which differs from the usual cypress hedges. This plant is widely used for enclosed gardens and outdoor areas such as patios, to avoid prying eyes from neighbors.

Cypress can also be kept as a potted plant, but it is better in a bed if you want to create a hedgerow. It is undemanding to the soil and is resistant to both the salinity of coastal areas and severe cold, making it suitable for keeping outside during winter.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Leyland Cypress

Dwarf lilyturf

Also known as mondograss or monkeygrass, the dwarf lilyturf (Ophiopogon japonicus) is a herbaceous plant native to Korea, Japan and China. It is very popular as an ornamental plant, especially as an edging plant or ground cover. However, it is also a great winter outdoor plant for pots.

Lilyturf forms a thick clump with a large number of long, narrow, ribbon-like leaves. It is a species of great capacity for growth and expansion and its small flowers give rise to very showy blue fruits which are round or oval and very beautiful. It grows well in full to partial shade and is not difficult to water unless it is grown in full sun.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Dwarf lilyturf


The common carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is a classic in balcony planter pots. This brightly colored flower is undoubtedly an excellent choice for filling the exterior of your home with life. To grow and flourish well, this plant prefers a location where it receives direct sunlight and receives continuous watering to encourage flowering. It is one of the best heat and cold resistant outdoor plants. It will only flower in warm months, but will likely survive the winter to flower again.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Carnation


Clematis (Clematis spp.) is another of the most popular flowering climbing plants used by those who don't have time to continually tend their garden. This plant is very resistant all year round to both frost and direct sunlight making it a great winter outdoor plant. They also have a pleasant fragrance similar to that of jasmine. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that it tends to be quite invasive, so it is best to prune it if it starts to creep too far across your garden or balcony.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Clematis

Natal lily

The natal lily (Clivia Miniata) was very common in gardens and patios a few years ago, but is becoming more and more present in our urban environments. This is partly thanks to its great resistance and attractive appearance. It is a herbaceous plant that stands out both for its large, elongated, flat leaves of a beautiful dark green. It is also noted for its remarkable annual flowering.

Natal lily is not a difficult plant to maintain. It tolerates low winter temperatures and semi-shaded locations very well. Care must be taken with exposure to direct or intense sunlight as it can damage its leaves. In order for it to flower in the spring, the plant must be kept cool and the watering stopped at the end of autumn for about eight weeks.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Natal lily


The chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp. ) is one of the most representative flowering plants of Japan, known as the land of the rising sun. Their large flowers present in a wide variety of colors, from pinks and reds, to whites and yellows. These flowering plants adapt easily to cold climates, but should not receive direct sunlight. Just place it in a cool place, preferably in partial shade, to take full advantage of its spectacular flowering.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Chrysanthemum

Kidney weed

The kidney weed plant (Dichondra repens) is one of the most used plants in gardens, but not only because of its incredible resistance to climatic changes and winter temperatures. The creeping plant is often used as a ground cover or grass substitute. However, their curious kidney-shaped leaves make them just as attractive if you want to keep these as winter outdoor plants in pots.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Kidney weed


Best known as laurustinus or laurentine (Viburnum tinus), this is a potted shrub native to the Mediterranean coast. Not only is the plant able to survive in winter and is frost resistant, but it actually blooms during the winter months. Unlike some of the winter outdoor plants for pots on our this, the laurustinus is best during winter thanks to its beautiful and delicate white flowers.

Although it can be used in pots, many people use it for borders and hedges. Laurentine is widely known for its great resistance to cold and heat, as well as shade and sun. It is versatile plant that stays green all year round, even in the cooler months.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - laurustinus

Scarlet firethorn

Although the scarlet firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea) is a thorny shrub, it is also one of the species of outdoor plants best known for its vivacity. This shrub can be great in pots or hedgerows and has a beautiful white inflorescence. This remains remains in place throughout the spring and summer and produces small, round, red fruits which are borne in abundant clusters. It is common to see it used both as a wall decoration shrub and as an isolated hedge away from the wall, but it should be noted that it prefers partial shade.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Scarlet firethorn

Red tip photinia

Red tip photinia (Photinia x fraseri) is a fast growing evergreen shrub that can reach 3 m (10') in height. It is used for its elongated leaves which change color, being red in spring and purple in summer. In winter and the rest of the year, they remain deep green. It is a very resistant plant that can grow without problems in any type of soil and be exposed to the sun without suffering damage. It is also known as a Christmas berry.

Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Red tip photinia

Other outdoor winter plants for pots

While we have gone into detail about some of the most common frost-resistant plants you can use in your garden or terrace, here is a list of some more winter outdoor plants for pots you may want to discover:

  • Texas privet (Ligustrum texanum)
  • Geranium (Geranium spp.)
  • Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Ivies (Hedera spp.)
  • Southern jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • German bearded iris (Iris x germanica)
  • Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
  • Roses (Rosa spp.)
  • Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis)
  • Clover (Trifolium spp.)
  • Prickly pear (Opuntia maxima)
  • Chinese windmill palm (Trachycarpus Fortunei)
  • European fan palm (Chamaerops humilis)
  • Petunia (Petunia spp.)
  • Garden pansy (Viola x wittrockiana)
  • Agave (Agave spp.)
  • Japanese pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira)
  • Yucca (Yucca spp.)
  • ZZ plant or (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)
Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots - Other outdoor winter plants for pots
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Winter Outdoor Plants for Pots