Gardening Q&A:Can you recommend hardy plants to cheer up a patio during the winter months?

The experts at the RHS answer your gardening questions...

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Question: I would like to grow some pansies in pots to cheer up the patio. When I was at the garden centre the other day I noticed some packs of polyanthus in lovely bright colours. Are those hardy? Would they withstand winter weather?

Answer: Polyanthus, like pansies, violas, primroses and bellis are hardy.

They flower best in mild weather conditions and tend to flower less when temperatures drop and the days are very short. They should, however, give a good display over the winter months especially in sheltered city locations.

Try to deadhead winter bedding plants and remove any damaged leaves if they appear. You can mix the above flowering plants with contrasting foliage plants such as Carex Evergold and perhaps a shrub with berries, such as Skimmia or Gaultheria.

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