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Winter-hardy balcony plants transform the balcony into a green refuge during the cold season, which doesn't give the gardener a headache despite the frosty temperatures. If evergreen and flowering potted plants are creatively combined, harmonious plant communities are created that provide floral moments of happiness every year. A diverse repertoire of hardy, perennial species and varieties leaves nothing to be desired in terms of design. The following selection introduces you to 33 recommended potted plants.

balcony plants

Evergreen, hardy balcony plants

Red carpet berry (Gaultheria procumbens)

The evergreen, perennial small shrub cheers up the gray winter season with elliptical, shiny leaves and bright red berries. With its aromatic fragrance and the graceful play of colors, the red carpet berry is at the top of the list of popularity for easy-care and frost-hardy potted plants. The compact, low-lying dwarfism of the plant is often used to stage it as a conspicuous underplanting of tightly upright balcony plants in large tubs.

  • Growth height: 10-20 cm
Red carpet berry

Red Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia 'Rubra')

With its evergreen foliage and an enchanting summer blossom, the frost-resistant ornamental tree is the ideal permanent guest for the balcony. If you are on the lookout for a floral gem to green a shady to semi-shady niche on the balcony, the red laurel rose as a solitaire in a large tub is a good choice. A feast for the eyes throughout winter are the lanceolate leaves, which are slightly lighter on the underside. Variegated, perennial purple bells harmonize with the stiffly upright small shrub when they lie decoratively at its feet.

  • Growth height: 80-120 cm
Red laurel rosette

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia 'Ginkona')

A lifelong companion for the balcony, it delights with evergreen, laurel-like leaves and colorful spring blooms. The easy-care and hardy mountain laurel is becoming increasingly popular among the ideal balcony plants for sunny and semi-shady locations. Once planted, the extravagant ornamental tree will stay with you for many decades.

  • Growth height: 100-150 cm
mountain laurel

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens 'Blauer Heinz')

The classic among evergreen, frost-resistant potted plants should not be missing from this selection. The 'Blauer Heinz' variety impresses with its dense, compact growth and bluish shimmering foliage. With a little creativity, you can give the ornamental shrub a pretty ball or pyramid shape with scissors. As a natural hybrid of the majestic Buxus sempervirens, the recommended variety remains at the ideal growth height to decorate the balcony not only in winter.

  • Growth height: 40-50 cm

Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea 'Red Column')

Firethorn is a feast for the senses when it thrives in a large bucket on the balcony. In spring, a splendor of white flowers rises above its dainty, oval, evergreen leaves, culminating in red-orange fruits. The hardy shrub does not lose its floral concept even in severe frost, making it one of the most popular potted plants for perennial cultivation. The only drawback is the reinforcement with strong, sharp thorns, which should be given special attention during maintenance work.

  • Growth height: 150-250 cm

Spoon illex (Ilex crenata 'Convexa')

An excellent and easy-care alternative to the traditional boxwood found its way from Japan to balconies, terraces and gardens. Where the infamous box tree moth spoils the joy of the classic, the equally evergreen and hardy spoon illex proves to be immune to the pest. The pretty small shrub with the slightly arched leaves is so tolerant of pruning that it is gaining ground as a year-round bonsai among the best balcony plants. One of its special advantages is that the spoon Illex grows densely and compactly in sunny, semi-shady and shady locations.

  • Growth height: 60-150 cm
Spoon Illex

White-colored shadowbell (Pieris japonica 'Variegata')

The white-colored shadow bell provides convincing proof that the winter balcony is not condemned to colorlessness. The evergreen, elegantly shiny ornamental leaves are decorated with a cream-white edge. From April to May, the Asian shrub presents distinctive bell-shaped flowers that dangle casually on curved panicles above the colorful white foliage. In order to embellish half-shady niches on the balcony with hardy potted plants, we therefore recommend the shade bell for the shortlist.

  • Growth height: 80-100 cm
White colored shadowbell

Lavender heather (Andromeda polifolia 'Blue Ice')

With its silvery-blue foliage and the delicate pink flower bells in spring, the lavender heather does a great job among the balcony plants. The distinctive ornamental shrub is almost twice as wide as it is high, which is equally advantageous for potted plants and window box plants to create a densely bushy appearance.

  • Growth height: 20-25 cm
lavender heather

Cushion barberry (Berberis candidula)

The cushion barberry has all the attributes that we want from excellent balcony plants for perennial cultivation. The evergreen, hardy shrub develops a cushion-shaped habit that is very popular among potted plants. In spring, the plant puts on its flower dress, which consists of innumerable, small, yellow bells. Thanks to a slow growth, pruning is rarely required, which the gardener with limited time will appreciate. The advantages are rounded off with a pleasing flexibility, because the cushion barberry tolerates all sunny, partially shaded and shady locations.

  • Growth height: 60-100 cm
Pillow Barberry

Red medlar (Photinia fraseri 'Red Robin')

The uncrowned queen among the evergreen flowering and ornamental fruit trees also pulls out all the stops on the wintry balcony. The 'Red Robin' variety boasts copper-green leaves and bright red shoots. From May to June, white flowers appear in umbrella panicles, which turn into red berries in autumn. If you still have a wind-protected, semi-shady corner free on the balcony, the red medlar is the ideal candidate for greening for several years. Since the winter hardiness is limited to -12 degrees Celsius, the easy-care ornamental tree is grateful for a winter coat of coconut mats when young. The older the red medlar becomes, the more pronounced the winter hardiness becomes.

  • Growth height: 150-250 cm
Red medlar

flowering plants

Flowering plants that stand up to frost on the balcony

Winter heather (Erica carnea)

Winter-blooming balcony plants are few and far between in the garden center and nursery supply. It's a good thing that the heather family has given us bud bloomers that don't let frosty temperatures stop them from the blossom festival. The spectrum ranges from the white flowering variety 'White Perfection' to the pink flowering beauty 'Kramer's Rote' to the variegated snow heather 'Antje'. Due to its ideal growth height, the colorful series of frost-resistant varieties is suitable for use as pot plants and balcony box plants with a never-ending flowering period from November to April

  • Growth height: 20-40 cm
winter heath

Christmas rose (Helleborus niger)

When balcony plants unfold white bowl blossoms at Christmas time, the native Christmas rose performs this floral masterpiece. The blooming beauty, hardy down to - 40 degrees Celsius, throws further attributes into the balance. These include the hand-shaped, leathery and shiny leaves with the delicately serrated edge, which only withdraw in spring. The dark red stems also provide subtle color contrasts. The Christmas rose gains more presence from year to year if left undisturbed. It is therefore considered a prime example of perennial, winter-proof potted plants and window box plants. The 'Praecox' variety inspires after a few years with up to 100 flowers per winter season.

  • Growth height: 10-30 cm
Christmas rose

Palm leaf snow lily (Helleborus foetidus 'Wester Flisk')

The palm leaf snow rose is characterized by a robust and natural character. As a completely hardy perennial, it draws an atmospheric picture from January to April with its green-white, red-edged bell-shaped flowers. If you are looking for pot plants that do not need to be planted again every year, you cannot avoid the palm leaf snow lily. With a view to the tightly upright habit of the 'Wester Flisk' variety recommended here, the winter beauty likes to associate with early flowering snowdrops, crocuses and March crushers.

  • Growth height: 30-50 cm

Amur Adonis (Adonis amurensis)

Yellow flowering potted plants cause a sensation on the wintry balcony. This highlight of a creative design can be easily realized with Amur Adonis roses. The perennial, which is winter-hardy down to - 40 degrees Celsius, comes up trumps with its 4 cm large golden-yellow flowers when winter has a firm grip on us. Until then, the Amur Adonis is not idle and sets decorative accents with its pinnate, reddish-green leaves. It is important to note when purchasing your new potted plants that it is not the European Adonis (Adonis vernalis), which flowers late in spring, but the robust Asian Adonis species.

  • Growth height: 20-30 cm
Amur Adonis

Pansies (Viola wittrockiana)

Sown in July or planted in August, the large-flowered pansies transform the balcony into a sea of flowers as hardy potted plants. The flowers, which are up to 6 cm in size and come in beautiful shades of colour, last well into spring. Only when the frost is below -20 degrees Celsius do the balcony plants retreat into their root balls. But only to wait for milder temperatures and get the blossom festival going again. There are only a few winter-blooming flowers that stand out as easy-care and hardy pot plants as the distinctive pansies.

  • Growth height: 25-35 cm

pot plants

Hardy potted plants with a Mediterranean flair

Mediterranean Snowball (Viburnum tinus)

The evergreen, blooming Mediterranean snowball spreads a Mediterranean holiday feeling in the middle of winter. The unique ornamental tree owes its name to the globular, white umbels of flowers that tower above the shiny foliage from November to April. The young flowers unfold in a soft pink, creating a multi-faceted play of colors. The stunning cultivar 'Gwenllian' should definitely be on the shopping list for hardy perennial balcony plants.

  • Growth height: 100-130 cm
Mediterranean Snowball

Olive tree (Olea europaea)

A sheltered niche on the balcony paves the way for the olive tree to expand the perennial community of your balcony plants. In contrast to the field, the conditionally hardy, evergreen tree finds a microclimate here that corresponds to the conditions of its habitats in the Mediterranean region. The purchase of young plants from regional tree nurseries is advantageous. As part of the cultivation, these olive trees are already well hardened to assert themselves as winter-proof potted plants on the balcony. If you also decide on a self-fertile variety, the original, gnarled wood not only serves as a year-round eye-catcher, but also brings the first olive harvest after 7 to 8 years.

  • Growth height: 150-250 cm
olive tree

Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)

Regardless of its Asian origin, we associate star jasmine with a Mediterranean lifestyle. The evergreen climbing plant accompanies us with fragrant, white star-shaped blossoms through summer and into autumn. In winter, the shiny, green leaves take over. If a suitable climbing aid is available, star jasmine covers sunny, wind-protected walls on the balcony with its dense foliage. As a container plant, the woody climbing plants give off an imposing appearance when an obelisk or a pyramid is integrated into the container.

  • Growth height: 200-300 cm (with climbing aid)
star jasmine

Camellia (Camellia japonica)

Winter-hardy camellias are indispensable for a luxurious design on the balcony. Thanks to their royal blossoms, they are called 'roses of winter'. Exquisite varieties such as 'Lady Campbell' fascinate us from February to April with their double, red flowers. Until the beginning of the flowering period, the fascinating potted plants adorn the winter balcony with their elliptical leaves, which are dark green on top and light green on the underside. Incidentally, the floral jewels can only be moved to their flower spectacle in the open air, because without a cold stimulus they keep their flowers under lock and key.

  • Growth height: 150-200 cm

Dwarf Palm (Chamaerops humilis cerifera)

The Mediterranean, winter-hardy plant community for the balcony is only complete with a dwarf palm. The fan palm with the blue-green, stable fronds is native to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, which is a good frost hardiness of up to - 15 degrees Celsius. In order for the small palm trees to feel at home as container plants, a sunny, warm and sheltered location is important. Otherwise, the exotics prove to be easy-care potted plants, as long as they don't have to be thirsty. When purchasing, please note that the similar-looking dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) is not a hardy balcony plant.

  • Growth height: 100-200 cm, rarely up to 300 cm
dwarf palm

ornamental grasses

Winter-hardy ornamental grasses for pots and balcony boxes

Blue Iris (Koeleria glauca)

When snowflakes glitter on the filigree stalks in the winter sun, the balcony is transformed into an enchanted place. The picturesque spectacle continues when the summer wind plays with the feathery spike blossoms. Arranged in small groups, the blue iridescent grass with its hemispherical cushions forms eye-catchers in the tub and balcony box all year round. Since the ornamental grass is native to our latitudes, it has a reliable winter hardiness down to - 30 degrees Celsius.

  • Growth height: 15-40 cm

Crested sedge (Carex comans 'Bronco')

Are you still lacking ideas for a hardy, perennial planting in a bucket with a volume of 5 to 10 liters? Then we recommend the easy-care and robust 'Bronco' crested sedge, whose bronze-colored culms are enhanced by red-brown spike flowers from August to October. The ornamental sourgrass was named Perennial of the Year in 2015 to pay tribute to its ornamental value and longevity. Cultivated as a container plant, the extensive urge to spread is also under control, which often causes headaches outdoors.

  • Growth height: 30-40 cm
Stiff sedge

Dwarf blue fescue (Festuca cinerea hybrid 'Zwergenkönig')

Popular as dainty foot soldiers for majestic balcony plants, we don't want to withhold the dwarf blue fescue from you. As the name of the variety promises, the hardy ornamental grass remains small, which does not detract from its ornamental value. The blue frosted stalks look just as delightful as planting underneath potted plants as they do as companions for blooming balcony box plants.

  • Growth height: 10 cm
blue fescue

White-motley bird's-foot sedge (Carex ornithopoda 'Variegata')

The multifaceted family of Carex grasses makes a colorful splash on the balcony. The white-motley bird's-foot sedge is therefore the second species that has qualified for this selection of recommended potted plants for the balcony. A glance at the green and white striped culms and the yellow-green spike blossoms in spring is proof enough of the floral charm. A substrate volume of just 3 liters is sufficient to present 'Variegata' as perennial pot plants on the balcony all year round. Since the winter hardiness to - 23.3 degrees Celsius only builds up over the years, a sheltered location and light winter protection make sense.

  • Growth height: 15-25 degrees Celsius
Blue-green sedge

Curled male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas 'Crispa Cristata')

When boastful summer flowers go into hibernation, it's time for prehistoric ferns. Representing the hardy family of real ferns, we recommend the distinctive male fern, whose 'Crispa Cristata' variety enchants with curled pinnate leaves. With regard to winter hardiness, it occupies the undisputed top position in this selection with - 45 degrees Celsius.

  • Growth height: 40-50 cm

window box plants

Window box plants for winter decoration

Medlar (Cotoneaster dammeri 'Coral Beauty')

Hanging balcony box plants, which do not lose their beauty all year round, are rare. Entrusting the medlar with this task is a clever move in the design planning. Evergreen, glossy leaves adorn the arching, creeping branches that dangle gracefully in the window box. In May and June, hosts of white flowers contrast with the dark green foliage. As a spectacular finale, coral red berries take the stage in winter and linger well into spring.

  • Growth length: 40-60 cm

Purple bells (Heuchera hybrid 'Plum Pudding')

Winter-hardy foliage plants with small stature are predestined as perennial balcony box plants. Crimson Bells do their job especially well in this regard. We recommend the innovative variety 'Chocolate Ruffles', which comes up with brown-violet, ruffled decorative leaves that shine crimson on the underside. From May to June, the purple bells bloom in beautiful pink and white, so that they can certainly compete with majestic balcony plants.

  • Growth height: 20-30 cm

Almond Leaf Purple Spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea')

The purple spurge inspires creative balcony design with a festival of colours. The floral magic is based less on the green-yellow spring blossoms and more on the colorful foliage. The brown-red to purple leaves have wine-red tips when they sprout. In winter the color of the foliage changes to an elegant mahogany on red stems. The sunnier the location, the more exciting the contrasts. The easy-care perennial does not require pruning. The plant should only be protected from the blazing winter sun with attached fir fronds.

  • Growth height: 30-40 cm

Autumn cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium)

Cyclamen are by no means limited to being houseplants. It is still little known that autumn cyclamen thrive as hardy and evergreen ornamental foliage plants. With an autumn flowering period, the little beauties let us get over the goodbye to the beautiful season. From November, the focus is on the beautifully drawn heart leaves, which only appear in spring. So that the robust perennials develop their frost hardiness in good time before the onset of winter, they should be used as window box plants in spring.

  • Growth height: 10-15 cm
Autumn Cyclamen

Horned violet (Viola cornuta)

As a dainty counterpart to large-flowered pansies, the neat horned violets set decorative accents as flowering window box plants. The violets bloom tirelessly all year round. If you cut out the withered flowers regularly, you will keep the flowers in mild winters. The flowers do well down to -17 degrees Celsius, retreat in colder weather and magically reappear when the mercury column rises.

  • Growth height: 10 cm
Horned Violet

Red Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis)

Hellebore plants have the reputation of being balcony plants for eternity. The Helleborus orientalis thus fits seamlessly into the noble series of species that includes the winter-blooming Christmas rose. When the flowering period of a Helleborus niger is coming to an end, it passes the floral baton on to the red hellebore, which sets the scene with purple cup-shaped blossoms well into spring.

  • Growth height: 20-40 cm
Red Hellebore

Bergenia (Bergenia hybrid 'Snow Queen')

In the garden and along the edges of trees, expansive bergenias are a familiar sight. If you don't want to do without the charismatic perennial on the balcony, we recommend the compact 'Snow Queen'. Its magnificent, ruffled-edged leaves are green throughout summer and turn a reddish-brown tint in wintertime. Pinkish-white inflorescences rise above the foliage on sturdy, red stalks from April to May. In the large flower box, the hardy perennial finds enough space for many years of cultivation. If the dimensions become too large over time, a division in the spring solves the problem.

  • Growth height: 25-35 cm

Dark Bugle (Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop')

Empty, shady locations on the balcony are a thing of the past if you put your trust in dark-leaved buggers. The robust, hardy ornamental perennial likes to spread out its dark red leaf rosettes in the flower box, which do not lose their shiny color even in deep shade. In partially shaded locations, deep blue flowers do the honors from May to June.

  • Growth height: 10-15 cm
Dark Bugle

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