Winter can be a tough season for a lot of us. Less sun and colder temperatures make life seem to come to a halt. Many plants drop their leaves and go dormant until the spring. For others, winter is just another season for growing! Certain plants, even edible ones, thrive during the colder months of the year. This makes it possible for a gardener to enjoy a variety of colors over the winter. Here’s our list of 10 of the best flowers to grow for a winter garden.
1. Calendulas (Calendula officinalis)
Some of the most popular winter bloomers are calendulas. Another common name is the pot marigold, because they grow well in pots and planters. They can last long in vases too, making good indoor flower arrangements. They’re easy to take care of, even when you’re on vacation. These yellow to orange daisy-like flowers like to grow in full sun and can blossom from late fall to early spring.
2. Pansies (Viola tricolor var. hortensis)
Another go-to winter flower is the pansy. These are some of the most popular flowers to buy in a garden store, and for good reason. Pansies come in many different varieties, so you can choose exactly what colors you want in your garden. Like calendulas, pansies do extremely well when grown in a pot, and they can thrive indoors. Their close relative, the violet, is a similar winter-blooming flower.
3. English Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Primroses are a favorite flower of England. The English primrose makes another good choice for a winter garden flower. These often bloom in mid to late winter, although in colder climates you won’t see them until early spring. The English primrose is a good choice for beginner gardeners because it’s much hardier than its cousins, the fairy and the Chinese primrose.
4. Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
This Chinese ornamental plant is an excellent choice for your garden. Winter jasmine is a vine that becomes established easily and covers a lot of ground. The flowers will bloom as early as January before any leaves begin to grow. Place it in full sun for a plant that will be easy to take care of, and produce bright yellow flowers every winter.
5. Hellebores (Helleborus spp.)
There are many different hybrids of hellebores, all with winter blooms that can last for several months! Because their flowers hang downwards, it’s a good idea to plant them in a raised flower bed or even on a hillside. This way you’ll be able to fully enjoy the colorful flowers during the cold winter months.
6. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
This large shrub is a favorite among gardeners, and for good reason. Witch hazel can grow to be up to 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide, so it’s often considered a tree. No matter how big they get, these plants have abundant yellow flowers in the winter. They are also incredibly fragrant, giving your winter garden a nice aroma. Witch hazel has various medicinal properties too. It can help soothe sensitive skin, among other remedies.
7. Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
Another shrub with abundant winter blooms is the Japanese andromeda. This evergreen grows dark red flower buds in late fall, which stay on the plant until they open in early spring. The fountain-like flower clusters can add beautiful accents (and some fragrance) to your winter garden.
8. Camellia (Camellia spp.)
Camellias are some of the most famous winter flowers. Each bloom can last for weeks from late fall to spring, so they’ll give you color all winter long. Originally from eastern and southern Asia, these popular bushes are now found all over the world. Their compact habit makes them easy to fit in with other plants in your garden. There are over 3000 varieties in a remarkable array of colors, shapes, and sizes.
9. Crocus (Crocus spp.)
You may recognize these flowers from lawns and parks in your neighborhood. They are popular and hardy flowers that are sure signs of spring in most places. Sometimes they even flower in the dead of winter. The bulbs can be bought from many garden stores. Once planted, usually in the fall, they lay dormant until conditions are just right to bloom and thrive.
10. Dogwood (Cornus spp.)
Although this one isn’t exactly a flower, there are several types of dogwood that add much needed color to a winter garden. The stems and branches of these small shrubs can be bright red or yellow. They can really stand out, especially amongst a fresh winter snow. You’ll only need to plant it once to enjoy the warm colors of these plants winter after winter.