Exterior Deck, Patio & Porch

Liven Up Your Winter Porch with 8 Cold-Loving Plants

A spot of color and life on your front porch can ease the winter doldrums. So dust off your gardening gear and pot up a couple cold hardy containers. Plants in containers require different care than those in the ground. Being in a pot, there’s less soil around roots to hold moisture, so container plants require more frequent watering. Those roots are also less insulated, and receive more exposure to the cold. For best results, use plants that are cold hardy two zones colder than your own. And use containers that can withstand freezing temperatures, like wood, stone, concrete, or fiberglass. Come mid-winter, you’ll be grateful for the time spent, and will enjoy a lush view, even while sitting inside, sipping something warm.

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Skyrocket Juniper


The evergreen Skyrocket Juniper, reaches a narrow 12–15 feet when fully grown. Planted in a large container, it can make an impressive and formal statement flanking a front entryway. It’s very easy to care for once established and requires little maintenance. Zones 3–9. Available on Amazon; $6.99 for 12-inch plant.

Related:  6 Secrets to a Successful Container Garden

Hens and Chicks


Hens and Chicks is an alpine succulent, and therefore sustains both drought and cold well. Both easy and interesting as a container plant, it will add color and texture to your winter view. It requires little soil, and little water once established. So pick your favorite container large or small, plant it, and leave it be. Zone 4–9.Available on Amazon; $6.99.

Related:  11 Creatively Stylish Ways to Display Succulents

Picea abies ‘Pusch’

flickr.com via tony_rodd

This dwarf, slow-growing Norway Spruce, is a show-stopper, producing loads of bright red cones in spring. The tiny cones brown as they age, and provide interest throughout the whole year. It takes 10 years to reach its mature size of 3–4 feet tall and 2–3 feet wide, making it ideal for featuring in a container. Zones 4–7. Available on Amazon; $16.95.

Little Giant Dwarf Arborvitae


Little Giant’s small, globe-shaped habit, make it ideal for use as in containers. Slow-growing with rich, green leaves, this evergreen needs very little pruning to keep its shape. It grows easily in full to part shade, and overall, is very easy to maintain. Zones 3–8. Available at The Home Depot; $40.

Redtwig Dogwood

flickr.com via greeneyedesignllc

Redtwig Dogwood makes an excellent upright feature in a container all year long. Being deciduous, it looses its leaves after putting out great autumn color. Then, its bright red stems take center stage in winter. It needs regular watering, and will produce its best color when placed in full sun. Zones 2–8. Available at The Home Depot; $32 for one-gallon plant.

Variegated Boxwood


This evergreen shrub is often used as a hedge or foundation planting, but it works just as well in containers. The creamy white variegation on its small, dark green leaves provide special interest. Give it full to partial sun and regular watering, and it will make give your front porch a visual pop that adds to great curb appeal. Zones 5–9. Available on Amazon; $25.56.

Related:  10 Evergreens to Beautify Your Garden Year-Round

Golden Sword Yucca


This variegated yucca is slow growing, drought tolerant, and evergreen, making it ideal for a container plant. It is brightly striped green and gold, and looks spectacular and dramatic either on its own or among other plants. Zones 4–9. Available at The Home Depot; $35.92.

Goldthread Cypress


The golden-green color and feathery draped habit of the Goldthread Cypress make it popular plant in landscaping. But it’s just as beautiful when placed as an accent on the front porch. It grows leggy in shade, so make sure it gets partial or full sun. Prune it in fall to help keep its shape. Zones 4–9. Available at The Home Depot; $31.80.

Related:  12 Expert Tips for Eye-Catching Front Yard Landscaping