How to plant colourful winter window boxes | Alys Fowler

Our gardening expert suggests ways to lift your soul on dark December mornings

You are a fickle lot: in summer, you had pots full of annuals and window boxes dripping with colour, but when the first frost came along you and your bedding gave up the ghost. A pot half-full of compost will not lift your soul on a dark December morning, but something in flower may.

The selection for winter bedding plants is limited; the obvious choices are violas and pansies. In the darkest days of December and January, they don’t flower much, coming back into play as the days lengthen, so the best displays will have something else in the pot, such as erica species heathers that flower from December to April. The white and cream is the least offensive and can be incorporated among ivies and cyclamen to create a restrained look.

Related: Just add water: how to take cuttings from houseplants

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