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Winter Flowers for the Garden

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The first frost in fall is the indicator that the flower growing season has ended. Colorful flower blooms will be gone for the next few months and the winter landscape will be bleak. Or will it? Winter flowers for the garden are a real thing! And the flowers that bloom in winter can bring a much needed splash of color to the yard and garden. 

hellebore blooms with grass in the background

Several flowers bloom in winter, even when snow is on the ground. Enjoy a colorful view of your landscape this winter by planting some of the winter-blooming flowers.

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Winter Bulbs and Blooms

Fill up your flower beds with a few of these colorful blooms perfect for the fall and winter!

  • Snapdragons- Some of this gardener’s winter favorites are snapdragons, whose bright pops of color prefer cooler temps. yellow, pink, and orange snapdragons
  • Violas, or johnny jump ups as they are commonly known, are also an excellent cool weather choice for both flower beds and containers. Their bright purple and yellow design is eye-catching, and they love to re-seed.
  • Pansies– If the sight of violas makes you think of a different flower, then you’re probably thinking about pansies. These cold tolerant bloomers work well in large groups and can be a real show stopper for your fall and winter containers and flower beds. cluster of purple and yellow pansies
  • Autumn Crocus– There are some fall blooming bulbs like the low maintenance autumn crocus, which comes in a variety of colors such as violet, mauve, pink, and white.
  • Autumn Daffodil, also known as the crocus of the south, has the classic daffodil yellow but with the flower shape of a crocus.
  • Cyclamen Coum– For those who want to try something new, consider cyclamen coum, a late winter bloomer with lovely pink blooms and beautiful foliage that follows afterwards. cyclamen coum purple blooms with green leaves

What if you don’t have fall-blooming bulbs already planted? Take advantage of the fall and early winter to plant bulbs for spring. (Here are my 8 tips for planting bulbs in the fall!) Most spring bulbs do you need an overwintering period. In fact, if you’re in a pinch for planting spring bulbs and live in zone 8 or warmer, you have the flexibility to plant spring bulbs well into January if they’ve had six to eight weeks of “chilling time” in the refrigerator first. 

Shrubs with Winter Blooms

Shrubs can also provide wonderful color for your yard and garden in the colder months. And since they are established year-round, they are easier to maintain in the landscape. Here are some blooming shrubs for you to consider:

  • Christmas Rose– Think about the white-blooming Christmas Rose (hellebores niger) for an elegant touch to your yard or garden.
  • Winter Jasmine- the pops of yellow from winter jasmine (Jasminium nudiflorum) will certainly brighten up the bleakest winter landscape. Bright yellow flowers appear in January on this deciduous perennial shrub. Hardy shrub that is not picky about the soil or sun exposure. Winter jasmine grows equally well in sun or shade.yellow blooms of winter jasmine in front of a window
  • Jelena Witch Hazel- The blazing orange of the Jelena Witch Hazel Shrub looks incredible when it’s in full color. Spirals of red and orange blooms will appear in January on this winter-blooming plant. Witch hazel blooms are a welcome burst of color in a stark winter landscape and are born on a small, deciduous shrub. Witch hazel is a native woodland shrub and grows best at the edge of a wooded area. 
  • Winter Daphne’s fragrant white blooms along with its slender leaves will also be a bright spot in the winter scenery.
  • Camellia Japonica- This classic winter blooming shrub comes in rich shades of red, pink, and white, and is easy to maintain and use for decor. I love the red especially! (Check out my article on How to Prune Camellias.)

And many of these shrubs are fairly low-maintenance, which means you’ll get the benefit of bright colors each winter with very little effort. And that is always a good thing!

More Winter Flowers

Algerian Iris (Iris unguicularis)

Colorful and fragrant, the Algerian iris begins to show up around Thanksgiving and will bloom until early spring. Tall, slender perennial produces deep lavender blooms. Hardy in most growing zones. Algerian iris goes dormant when the weather warms and needs full sun in the winter to bloom.

Hellebore (Helleborus)

This perennial winter bloomer is commonly known as the Lenten rose because they bloom around the same time as Lent. Hellebore is the first flower to bloom in late winter/early spring. The perennial will emerge from the soil and bloom even when snow is still on the ground.

hellebore with a purple bloom

Hellebore grows well in shade and will reach a mature height of 6-8 inches. Bloom colors include purple, white and green and are quite showy when several are planted together.

Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Here is another perennial plant that will bloom in late winter/early spring. Phlox is an excellent ground cover and requires no maintenance. A multitude of tiny purple blooms will appear on the plants before winter ends and spring arrives.

Snowdrops (Galanthus)

Snowdrop blooms look very much like a dropping snowflake. The pure white bloom is born on a slender deep green stem that will reach a mature height of 6 inches. This winter-blooming flower shows up in November and lasts until the end of December in colder climates. Climates with mild winters can enjoy snowdrop blooms from late fall until early spring.

With all of these options, how could the winter landscape be boring? Obviously, if you live in a zone that keeps snow on the ground for most of the winter, your choices may be limited, but if you long for pops of color in the “bleak midwinter,” then consider some of these choices for your yard and garden. Winter blooms can give you a taste of spring when you need it most!

I’d love to know if you have other suggestions for winter blooming plants. Comment below and share your favorite! Happy Gardening!


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