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.
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.
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.