The cold always arrives too soon on our terraces, after months spent enjoying it around plants that often flower in summer… So that it remains beautiful and that we still want to stick our noses out when it In cold weather, the terrace deserves a thoughtful layout, favoring evergreen plants – conifers, shrubs and perennials – which will be able to resist the frost well, and which will take over from the deciduous foliage. Because a terrace is the outdoor space often extending the living room, very visible from a living room: it must offer a beautiful setting that is always green, but also ideally flowered.
To benefit from a pleasant and ornamental view on your terrace even in winter, we give you some advice on suitable plants that grow well in pots, aesthetic over several seasons . Your terrace will inevitably make you want to enjoy it even more!
Conifers are essential plants to adopt on a terrace to provide it with beautiful volumes, often with unusual foliage, and a palette of very nuanced greens , from yellow-green to bluish. They are also generally not very sensitive to pollution, so they are ideal for urban terraces. On their own, conifers of a reduced size chosen and pleasing in pots will bring real structure and graphics to a terrace . Depending on its size, we will choose one, two, or three for example. They will come to mark verticals by choosing a subject with a columnar habit, when a ball or erect conifer will be perfect for punctuating the other pots .
Among these “dwarf” conifers, growing very well in pots because of slow growth, we find Chamaecyparis , Pinus and Piceas to name only the best known. If you have a little space, combine two conifers whose leaf shape is unique ( take advantage of short or long needles and scales as a leaf variation ), or whose habit or color differs: for example, a Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana ‘ with flattened scales and another in a contrasting color, like the gold of a Cryptomeria japonica ‘Vilmorin Gold’ .
Along with conifers, there are also options for silhouettes structured by your shears that will also be honoured… You have understood that you absolutely must install at least one conifer on your terrace!
In order to make your terrace or balcony live in all seasons, until winter, it is wise to arrange your pots and large containers with several evergreen shrubs. With conifers, they are the ones that provide a beautiful presence all year round . If you also choose them with spring or summer flowering, you will kill two birds with one stone, by beautifying the terrace on sunny days. But evergreen shrubs with decorative foliage are not to be neglected , they are even terribly effective, offering leaf shapes and very varied plain or variegated colors. Also think about the different silhouettes including the hanging ports, very ornamental in high pot. Depending on your region and the exposure of your terrace, you will obviously not choose the same species.
Some are safe bets, as they prove to be rustic , and therefore implantable from the North to the South of France: Charcoals , Heathers , Rosemary, Berberis , Ilex , Rhododendrons, boxwood , lavender , Aucubas, etc. Others even bloom in winter, like the Daphnes !
You will have a vast choice among the sublime foliage of Pittosporums , Nandina domestica , Confused Mahonias with slender foliage, cloud-cut Ilex , sauce laurels or Ligustrums on stems. The delicate fragrance of a Sarcococca ‘Winter Gem’ , the feminine charm of Edgeworthia chriysantha flowering at the end of winter, the dazzling yellow of a beautiful mimosa on the stem or the gray foliage of a Leptospermum which will awaken its pink flowering in clement regions, shrubby speedwells and Abeliasvariegated or golden, the Ceanothes and Escallonias by the sea, the winter jasmines to lead on tontine are options just as attractive as each other… But also the dwarf bamboos , and many heather shrubs chosen from reduced size (Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Pieris , Skimmias , Kalmias , etc.)
Also think of ivy which can be used to highlight perennials in large planters, especially in the company of violets or cyclamen for a very romantic refinement.
Finally, in a sufficiently lenient region, exotic plants such as dwarf palms , Cycas , and other small Agaves will bring the perfect touch to a graphic terrace.
As with shrubs, there are plenty of evergreen perennials and grasses that will stay beautiful in winter. To begin with, there are those that bloom when the others are asleep, such as Hellebores (or Christmas roses), marvelous on an urban terrace, where, raised in planters, they reveal more of their delicate flowering. We also bet on heather ( Erica darleyensis and Erica carnea ) which retain beautiful foliage in other seasons, and which offer very beautiful nuances in white, pink to purple colours. For these two winter must-haves, don’t hesitate to combine two varieties for long-lasting flowering. Other perennials like Cyclamensbring their charm asset in a large planter, mixed with heather for example. Wallflowers will illuminate the end of winter with their warm tones.
And then there are ornamental evergreen perennials, especially for their foliage, or which will bloom later in the season , such as Heuchera , Euphorbia and Carex , which you can combine in a large pot with many other perennials, or as a ground cover. small shrubs. Spectacular evergreen ferns will be perfect on the terrace in the North or East, a mugwort or a cushion of Iberis sempervirens in the South. All you have to do is pick from the wide range of greens, aniseed to bluish, or caramel to purple!
Finally, to bring personality to your terrace, you can install many plants with linear or erect foliage that make a strong impression according to its orientation: Horsetail , Aspidistra eliator , and on the sunny terrace Fescues , Phormiums , Cordylines, even potted Houseleeks , etc. .
BULBS FOR FRESHNESS
There are 3 undisputed stars of planters and pots to illuminate the terrace in winter . In the order of their appearance on the calendar : snowdrops , crocuses and hyacinths . These three are truly magical for bringing softness and radiance to your exterior, available in very soft, white, pink or blue tones .
They can be accompanied by some early Chionodoxas , tulips or Iris reticulata . For a very natural terrace, prefer delightful botanical dwarf crocuses or tulips. Your pots will be prepared in autumn, when you will think about the composition of your bulbous plants: by color, monochrome on a contemporary terrace, or two-tone, or by combining two plants, for example crocuses and early tulips. You will make sure to plant densely to obtain a good effect, it is all the more important on a terrace.
Finally, the containers of your bulbs will be chosen with care , they bring charm depending on whether you plant them in small decorative baskets, in zinc planters, in terracotta or glazed pots… Put them in good value, raised on a small table for example if you opt for a small basket, to be able to observe them warm from the living room!
Don’t forget certain deciduous shrubs that offer a very attractive winter colour, such as Cornus with decorative wood , which will offer very attractive foliage for many months, yellow or purple in autumn, and will reveal their orange to reddened wood in winter. They grow very well in large containers.
Shrubs offer rather attractive berries in the middle of winter, whose bright and shiny red wakes up the terrace in the winter cold. Among these shrubs with decorative fruits that are pleasant in pots, we find Wintergreens, Snowberry, Hypericum inodorum , but also small ornamental apple trees such as Malus ‘Appletini’ (or ‘Gulliver’) or Aucuba and Skimmias.
Also take advantage of the fruiting of Physalis , a common perennial in summer, which turns out to be very ornamental in autumn with its orange lantern fruits. Grown in pots on the terrace or a balcony, you will admire them all winter if you do not cut them for your bouquets.
Finally, if you have a little space, take advantage of a pretty trellis already installed to climb a beautiful, small winter clematis, such as Clematis cirrhosa ‘Jingle Bells’ with delicate white drooping bell-shaped flowers. , whose evergreen foliage turns bronze in winter.
FINAL TOUCH: A WARM DECORATION
The decorative touch will be the little extra soul that will make you want to enjoy your terrace even more! Start by giving it a cocoon side by decorating it with a few candles and pretty lanterns grouped together on a small table for example (all in the same style – wood or metal – for a beautiful harmony). If you are lucky enough to have a south-facing terrace, you can afford to install a few very regressive plaids and toupee cushions on one or two chairs, in mountain chalet mode, to enjoy them on sunny days! Your summer brazier can even resume service on the large terraces and depending on your region. A few large bare branches gleaned from the forestor in the garden will also be an opportunity to install a very trendy tontine on which some poetic led garlands will come to rest, just like demijohns converted into a magical light support: enough to spend beautiful evenings around a mulled wine , and invite your terrace to the party for the New Year’s Eve aperitif!