Plants That Produce Pre-Season Blooms
These beauties can help brighten the dull landscape between winter and spring.
As we lean into the ups and downs of late-winter temperatures, there always seems to be a dead space between seasons, when the landscape looks especially brown and bare, and we ache to see something in bloom. If you don't have any of the plants shown in the following pages, you may want to consider adding them to your shopping list. Next year, late winter in your landscape could be a riot of color and rebirth.
Most hellebores have nodding flowers. 'HGC Josef Lemper' holds its blooms upright.
Japanese pieris (Pieris japonica) blooms in white, pink and reddish-pink fountains of flowers in later winter to early spring. USDA Zones 4b to 7.
Buttercup winter hazel (Corylopsis pauciflora) produces hanging tassels of yellow flowers in late winter. A wide-spreading, medium-sized shrub (4 to 6 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide), the buttercup winter hazel can handle full sun to light shade. USDA Zones 5 to 9. Image courtesy of Monrovia
Witch hazel's bright yellow (or orange or white) spidery flowers cover bare branches in late winter. Here, common witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), USDA Zones 3b to 8(9).
'Okame' is one of the earliest flowering cherries to bloom. USDA Zones 6b to 9.
The flaming red stems of this coral bark Japanese maple 'Sango Kaku' cradle a robin's nest in need of rebuilding for spring. The leaves of this small deciduous tree (20 to 25 feet tall) turn yellow in fall. USDA Zones 6 to 8.
Yellow flower tufts cover this Japanese cornel dogwood (Cornus officinalis 'Sunsphere') in very early spring. USDA Zones 5 to 8.
The giant-leaf paper plant (Edgeworthia chrysantha), a cousin to daphne, bears very fragrant white and yellow flowers on bare stems in winter. It is also called the paperbush plant. USDA Zones 7 to 9.
Of all the late-winter bloomers you've seen on these pages, the snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is the only one that has to be planted in fall. Plant the bulb at the same time you plant spring-flowering bulbs. A combination of perennials will keep your garden in bloom all year.