12 Winter Garden Ideas to Keep Growing While It’s Snowing

Don't worry, you can keep gardening in winter. These winter garden ideas and activities will keep plant lovers happy until spring.

gardening in winter, winter garden ideasAfrica Studio/Shutterstock
Grow a mini succulent garden on a windowsill

Winter is a rough season for gardeners in most parts of the country. Unless you live in Florida or Southern California, you’re probably stuck inside watching snow storm after snow storm sweep through. Take heart, gardeners! As the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley remarked, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” In the meantime, here are some ways to keep you gardening in winter. These winter garden ideas will help you keep growing through even the coldest months.

Don’t forget to stock up on winter garden books to keep your green thumb busy.

1. Buy New Houseplants

Indoor house plantRhisang Alfarid/Getty Images

If you haven’t been to the houseplant section of your garden center for a while, then it’s time to pay it a visit. Growing houseplants is one of our favorite winter garden ideas. Pick out something you’ve never heard of before, and give it a new home on your windowsill.

“My houseplants spend the warmer months outdoors, but I bring them in during the cold months. They add a little green to winter. This year, I have some potted herbs I’m keeping indoors,” says Megan Long of Red Wing, Minnesota.

Check out the top 10 blooming houseplants to grow indoors.

2. Plan Next Year’s Garden

As the snow piles up, start planning your gardens for the coming growing season. Think about new plants you would like to grow. “Lots of flower catalogs help me plan for an even better flower bed the coming year,” says Ginny Price of Taylors, South Carolina.

Also start a garden journal. Make this year the one you finally start documenting your garden experiences. Sketch your ideas, make lists from catalogs, capture inspiration, record what works… and what doesn’t. Try the simple route with a notebook, expand your journal with photo pages, or go hi-tech and start a blog or other online journal.

3. Grow Annuals Indoors

Geranium, winter garden ideasletty17/Getty Images
Geranium in bloom

If you didn’t bring your own annuals indoors for winter, find a friend who did. Take a cutting from theirs and start some plants of your own. You have nothing to lose, and they just might make good houseplants until spring.

“I bring in my pots of geraniums, cut them back and set them on the windowsill in the basement. They get watered when I do laundry and seem to be quite happy,” says Mary Clark of Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Learn how to overwinter begonias indoors.

4. Conquer Kitchen Scraps

Have fun with your winter garden ideas and try to grow kitchen scraps. This is definitely experimental gardening at its finest. Try to get an avocado pit to sprout some roots, plant carrot tops, or put a pineapple top in a jar of water. It’s exciting to see what happens. Also don’t stop composting in winter.

“In winter, we compost our biodegradable matter. Coffee grounds, egg shells, vegetables and fruit all contribute to the pile. We aerate it with a pitch fork,” says Sue Steele of Essex, Maryland.

5. Plant A Few New Herbs

Mixed Herbs In PotsSilviaJansen/Getty Images

If you have a sunny windowsill, experiment with winter herb gardening. You’ll need to keep an eye on temperature, especially if your windows aren’t well insulated. Challenge yourself to try herbs that are completely new to you. If your go-to options are basil and thyme, then try growing rosemary and tarragon instead. All your favorite soups will definitely benefit!

Check out the top 10 herbs to grow for cooking.

6. Grow Cold Weather Crops

winter garden ideas, Brussels sprouts in winter on field covered snowxtrekx/Getty Images
Brussels sprouts in winter

If you live in a milder growing zone, you might be able to keep growing food outside year-round. For best success, grow veggie plants that can handle colder weather.

“I plant a cover crop of cereal rye alongside broccoli and Brussels sprouts,” says Mike Buckler of Ringgold, Georgia.

Psst—these winter interest plants add color and beauty to your yard.

7. Eat Microgreens

winter garden ideas, Harvesting microgreens using scissors at home for saladMint Images/Getty Images
Harvest microgreens at home for salads

Microgreens have been on the gardening scene for a few years. If you haven’t tried them, now is the time. Throw a handful of extra sunflower seeds (sprouting or organic) in a container. Once they sprout and have grown an inch or two, it’s time to harvest. Or try a microgreen growing kit. And remember, those little sprouts pack a punch of nutrients.

Get the top 5 tips for growing tomatoes indoors.

8. Experiment With Air Plants

An air plant hanging in a glass terrarium.Shutterstock / luca85

If you haven’t tried air plants yet, you’ve been missing out. Air plants practically grow themselves because they don’t even require soil to live! They brighten up a dark space, too. Many folks enjoy winter gardening with potted plants, but if you have pets or small children you might worry about potential messes. Air plants are the perfect solution! These beauties, known more formally as tillandsias, don’t require soil at all. They thrive best in humid environments, but you can simulate that by misting regularly. These plants are especially fun to use in craft projects. Try making an air plant aquarium garden.

9. Try a Mushroom Growing Kit

BacktotherootsmushroomkitVia Merchant

Mushroom growing kits are fun winter garden ideas for the whole family. Many of the kits are small enough to keep on your countertop. Kids will love seeing the mushrooms grow—and then you can enjoy them for dinner.

10. Water Plants in Winter

Trees and shrubs need watering until the ground freezes. “Since I live in Florida, gardening for me is a year-round activity. My main concern is watering,” says Karen Lynn of Plant City, Florida.

Add color to your backyard with the top 10 pretty winter plants.

11. Decorate your Pots

Mosaic Flower PotsBirds & Blooms

Now’s a great time to dress up your indoor or outdoor pots to show off your personality. Cover a terra cotta pot in mosaic tiles, make a stacked planter, or turn a chair into a unique plant holder.

12. Grow Your Own Indoor Salad Garden

One of the best parts of summer is fresh produce on the dinner table. Enjoy the taste of summer in the middle of the cold months by growing a salad bowl garden. Leaf lettuce, arugula, and watercress are all great choices. Click here for help making your salad garden successful and delicious.

Next, learn how to prepare your garden for winter in two days.

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Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and environmental communications from the University of Illinois. Lori enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for pollinators in her backyard gardens. She also is an avid bird-watcher.