Winter Flowers For Your Garden
Hellebores in Winter
The Joy of Flowers that Bloom in Winter
It always used to make me feel sad when the summer ended because I knew soon all of my flowers would be gone until spring. Then a few years ago I discovered that I didn't need to resign myself to spending the winter without beautiful, colorful blooms in my garden. I learned that there are numerous shrubs that bloom in winter that will grow in the Pacific Northwest where I live and many are hardy enough for even colder climates. In addition to the joy it gives me to see the flowers, many also provide a much needed winter food source for the hummingbirds and insect pollinators that I like to attract to my yard.
Although not intended to be a comprehensive list of all of the winter blooming flowers, I hope by sharing some photos and information about some of the winter blooming plants in my garden, it will give others some ideas for some plants they may be able to incorporate into their own winter garden.
All photos by author, Vicki Green, unless credited otherwise.
Do you have any winter flowers? - Please take part in my poll about winter flowering plants
Do you grow plants in your garden that flower in the winter?
This 232 pages, this book by Michael W. Buffin is a great resource for selecting and growing winter flowering shrubs.
Winter Gardening Ideas - Resources for Creating a Beautiful Winter Garden
For anyone who is interested in learning about how to have a beautiful garden in the winter, including winter flowers, I found this book to be a great resource for ideas.
Can I Grow Winter Flowers?
If you live in the US, the USDA Hardiness Map is a handy way to help determine which of these winter flowering plants can be grown successfully in your area. With each plant featured on this page, I've included the USDA hardiness zones where they can be grown. For more detailed information click on the map below to go to the USDA website where you can enter your zip code to find out exactly which zone you live in.
USDA Hardiness Map - What's My Zone?
Camellia sasanqua 'Yuletide'
Winter Blooming Camellias
There are many varieties of winter blooming camellias, but my favorite is a sasanqua camellia named "Yuletide". It has fiery red single flowers surrounding a center of bright yellow stamens and, as is suggested by its name, it blooms at Christmas time! In my area of the Pacific Northwest (USDA Hardiness Zone 8b) it blooms from November through January and helps to brighten up my yard and my spirits in the darkest days of winter. It can be grown in USDA zones 7-10
The Delicate Hellebore Flowers - Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose
If you can't decide which color Lenten Rose you like best, you can be surprised with these hellebores in mixed colors.
Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose
Hellebores are commonly called Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose because of their winter blooms. They are available in several colors mostly shades of white, green, pink, red and purple. Although they look delicate, these hardy plants can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8 which includes a large portion of the US. In my garden in the Pacific Northwest they flower from November through January.
Winter Blooming Heather
Calluna Genus Heather
Silver knight is a heather in the Calluna genus grows best in zones 5-7. It is more cold hardy than the heathers in the Erica genus.
Genus Erica and Genus Calluna
Heathers are a lovely evergreen ground cover year round, but the winter blooming varieties also provide flowers in white and various shades of pink. They are a good food source for bees and other pollinators that might be out and about in the winter and early spring. There are two different types of winter blooming heathers - genus Erica and genus Calluna. Genus Erica can be grown in USDA zones 7-10 and genus Calluna are more cold hardy and are happiest in zones 5-7, but can sometimes be grown in zones 3 and 4 with some special care. Both types grow best in acid soil, so may need special fertilizer or soil additives in areas with higher ph soil.
Winter Jasmine in my Garden
Winter Jasmine is more like a vine than a shrub and can use a trellis or fence for support. Winter Jasmine blooms in my yard from November through January. Unlike its more fragrant cousins, I don't detect much (if any scent) from winter jasmine, but the sunny yellow blooms really brighten up the winter landscape. I also appreciate the plant because it is visited by Anna's Hummingbirds which are year-round residents in my area and I like to help provide winter food sources for them in my garden.
Winter Jasmine can be planted outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 6-9 or can be grown in a container and brought indoors during the winter in colder areas.
Winter Blooming Daphne
In addition to lovely flowers on an attractive evergreen shrub, winter blooming Daphne Odora has a strong heavenly fragrance that I enjoy every time I walk through my garden while they are in bloom. Native to Asia, Daphne Odora will grow in USDA zones 7 through 9.
Witch Hazel - Yellow, Red or Orange Flowers in Winter
There are several different species of witch hazel including 3 that are native to North America and 2 that are native to Asia. Depending on the species the flowers are yellow, orange or red and most can be grown in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 9, with some of the North American species hardy to zone 3. There are also several hybrids available. In addition to the colorful blooms, witch hazel are also fragrant.
(Photo by Yola de Lusenet on Flickr - Creative Commons License 2.0)
Indian Plum Flowers
Indian Plum - Oemleria cerasiformis
Another one of my favorite winter blooming plants is a Pacific Northwest Native - Oemleria cerasiformis - commonly called Indian Plum which will grow in USDA zones 6 through 10. Most people have probably never heard of Indian Plum, but I've included it on my list of winter blooming flowers to encourage others to look around to see what native plants in their area bloom in winter or early spring. Many are under-appreciated, but beautiful and are usually beneficial to wildlife. Native plants can sometimes be difficult to find in nurseries, but can often be propagated by collecting seeds or taking cuttings if you can find a plant growing in the wild. I have found the annual plant sale sponsored by my local county conservation district to be a great source of native plants at inexpensive prices.
Hot Pink Hummingbird Magnets
Red Flowering Currant
Since spring doesn't technically begin until March 21st, I'm including another one of my favorite Pacific Northwest native plants, the red flowering currant (aka Ribes Sanguineum) that blooms in early March. Although the flower comes in many shades from white to red the ones that I like the best for color are the hot pink and red ones. The blooms that emerge on bare branches are a hummingbird magnet in my area for both the year-round resident Anna's hummingbirds and the migrating Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds. Red flowering currants have become popular landscape shrubs in the UK and other places around the world that are comparable with USDA hardiness zones 5 through 7.
© 2014 Vicki Green