Or try Gaultheria, also called Pernettya. It’s an evergreen shrub with long-lasting berries that come in pink, red or white. It grows nice and dense, and birds love to eat the berries too.
Skimmia also has lovely fleshy berries. The plants can be male or female, producing flowers or berries respectively. You can plant the two types together to create a self-pollinating skimmia and have the best of both worlds!
I’d also recommend Cornus, sometimes called Dogwood. It has stunning red or yellow branches that keep their colour when the leaves fall off. It is a great architectural plant for the colder months.
As the days get shorter and darker, there’s nothing better than seeing pots full of colourful plants when you get home. Here’s a great formula for autumnal containers:
Strong centrepiece – a dwarf conifer
This will give the pot evergreen structure and some height.
Structural spires – heather.
Winter-flowering varieties come in a range of colours and have lovely delicate flowers.
Foliage fun – ornamental kale.
This can have frilly or spiky-looking leaves, and comes in a range of colours.
Flowery fillers – winter-flowering pansies.
Choose varieties with big, floppy flowers and they will go on blooming for months if you keep deadheading them.
Cyclamen and chrysanthemums are also good choices for late season colour.
Care and maintenance
Raise containers off the ground over winter. This stops the soil getting waterlogged and keeps your plants healthy. You can buy special pot feet, or just prop them up on a few old wine bottle corks.
And remember, you don’t have to discard perennial flowering plants like chrysanthemums when they finish flowering. Simply cut them down to about one inch from ground level and plant out in the garden. Cover with a mulch and water well, and they should grow back next year.
Make use of all your available space with herby window boxes. Grow sage, rosemary and thyme all together – they smell fantastic. Keep cutting them throughout winter to encourage fresh new growth.
See more about late season colour here.