Winter Flowers

Satisfy your cravings for living color by decorating your home with winter flowers. Discover bloomers that thrive indoors and out.
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Winter Flowers Offer Interest in Early Spring

Winter Flowers Offer Interest in Early Spring

Hellebores are among the best blooming plants in winter. They flower in mid winter into spring, especially under bare trees in light shade. These blooms are a welcome sight to a winter garden.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Brighten the shortest days of the year with winter flowers. By filling your home with blooming color, you’ll dodge the winter blues by adding other hues to your scenery. Winter blooming flowers thrive indoors in all regions, but in warmer areas, you can also ignite some floral fireworks outside. Learn what kinds of winter flowers you can count on for a taste of spring—in the heart of winter.

Outdoors, there’s no shortage of flowers that bloom in winter, provided you live in Zone 6 or warmer. You might even squeak by with a little floral color in colder zones, but during a typical January and February, blooming petals can’t stand up to frigid temperatures. Classic annual winter flowers for outdoor enjoyment include nemesia, sweet alyssum, flowering stock and calendula.

Pansy is the cold weather champ for reliable winter flowers. These cheery plants can even freeze solid and jump back into blooming following a thaw. Johnny jump-ups or violas also perform like winter pansies. Paired with colorful ornamental cabbage and dusty miller, pansies and violas can fill winter scenes with steady color from Christmas to St. Patrick’s Day—and beyond.

Indoors, draw upon winter flowering plants to fill your home with inspiring beauty. Many potted plants that thrive in cool weather are available, including cineraria, kalanchoe and azalea. Orchids typically blossom in winter, and moth orchids are exotic and easy. Cyclamen offers eye-catching leaves topped with fluttering blooms. These pretty plants crave nights in the 45- to 55-degree range.

15 Striking Plants for Winter Color

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Cabbages and Kales

Ornamental kale and cabbage are some of the most popular winter annual plants. They lend a completely different texture to a winter landscape bed. Once the plants are hardened by cooler night temperatures they can survive most cold winters.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Camellias

Camellias prefer acidic, moist yet well-drained soil that is high in organic matter. They flower in the fall and winter when their display of colorful blooms is most appreciated. The waxy-petalled flowers linger long on plants, displaying shades of red, pink, coral, white and bicolors. Plants are evergreen, growing to form shrubs or small trees. Once established, camellias are drought-tolerant.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Winter Jasmine

Jasminum nudiflorum or winter jasmine is an exceptionally trouble-free plant to grow.

Holly Bush

Hollies bring an eye-catching display of evergreen leaves that is often punctuated with bright red or gold berries.

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Winterberry Holly

Winterberry hollies are deciduous, and the berry-bedecked branches truly stop traffic. (Even this lizard stopped to take a gander at the beautiful berries!)

Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster is another leafy evergreen that you can depend on for a dazzling berry show in even frigid winters. It's a fast-grower and can be used as a striking groundcover.

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Japanese Maples

Japanese maples often have artistically shaped trunks. The contorted branches on this shrub or small tree come into focus as winter arrives.

Nandina

Nandina shows off its berries in areas with milder winters. Tuck these plants in front of solid backdrops so the berries can shine.

Native Serviceberry

Native serviceberries also earn rave reviews for snow-covered branches. Watch for white blossoms in spring, followed by tasty berries in June. Birds love the berries, so if you want any for a pie, net trees. Fall color features shades of red and orange.

Doublefile Viburnum

Doublefile viburnum has a symmetrical, tiered branch structure that’s beautiful when covered with snow.

Red- and Yellow-Stemmed Dogwood

Red and yellow twig dogwood each inspire with their colorful winter stems, which show up best against dark evergreens or a snowy landscape.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel, a native shrub or small tree, opens strappy flowers in late winter to early spring. The blooms offer shades of yellow or orange and a sweet fragrance. Fall foliage is a striking gold, so this plant pulls double-duty in terms of seasonal interest.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Star Magnolia

Star magnolia opens pale blush to white flowers with a sweet fragrance in late winter to early spring.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Ben Ford

Snowdrops

Close out winter with a flourish of color, courtesy of bulbs and perennials. Snowdrops grow from bulbs and return reliably year after year. Make sure to plant the bulbs during fall to give them the chilling period they need to bloom.

Lenten Roses

Lenten roses (hellebores) offer leathery evergreen leaves accented with rose-like flowers in shades of pink, red, maroon, chartreuse and white. Plants self-sow readily, forming low-maintenance colonies.

Draw upon fragrant winter flowers to enhance living spaces with color and sweet floral perfume. Potted gardenia and jasmine unfurl blossoms that exude luscious scents. Paperwhite narcissus bulbs can also fill a home with fragrance—and they’re a cinch to grow. Just perch them over water and watch the magic unfold. Stems emerge, stretch and pop open to reveal crisp white blooms packed with intense perfume.

Another bulb that makes an enchanting winter flower is amaryllis. These chubby bulbs give rise to towering stems topped with velvety trumpet-shaped blooms. Look for flowers in a wide variety of hues including Santa Claus red, snow white, and shrimp pink. There’s even an amaryllis that resembles candy canes with red and white streaked petals.

Forced spring flowering bulbs, such as tulips, hyacinths and daffodils, provide another option for winter flowers. Watch for forced bulbs at your local grocery store or florist, and grab a few pots to fill your home with color. Choose hyacinth, and you’ll be bringing home a fresh floral fragrance.

Creating your own winter floral arrangements offers another option for adding fresh flowers to your home. You’ll find buckets of blooms at your local florist, including cool-weather favorites like snapdragon, ranunculus, anemone and freesia. You might even be able to find cut bleeding-heart flowers, which last more than two weeks in a vase.

For Christmas, celebrate with classic winter flowers, like Christmas cactus or poinsettia. Choose from poinsettias in a host of hues, such as red, white, pink and marbled blends. Many florists now spray paint poinsettias in shades of blue or purple. There is literally a color to please every palette.

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