White Winter Flowers
Fill your home with beauty during the cooler months of the year by adding houseplants that unfurl white winter flowers. These pretty bloomers grace indoor scenery with a lively touch of green, and the white blossoms create an air of elegance. Some white winter flowers also release heady perfume.
For decking the halls at holiday time, consider white blossomed poinsettias or Christmas cactus. Both of these traditional Christmas flowers blend beautifully with any holiday color scheme and won’t steal the spotlight from homemade goodies when drafted to fill out a holiday buffet.
Or try white winter flowers that spring from bulbs (translation: they’re easy to grow). Two common bulbs you’ll find are amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus. Both of these bulb bloomers add elegance to any setting for truly minimal effort. Amaryllis gladly reblooms in future years with little coaxing, while fragrant narcissus should head to the compost after the flower show subsides.
Other perfumed bloomers on the white winter flowers hit parade include jasmine and gardenia. These bloomers fill indoor spaces with lovely floral aromas guaranteed to relieve spring fever. Indoors, jasmine naturally flowers in winter, its vining stems demanding nights below 60° F for best bud set. Place it near a bright window in a cool room for best results.
Gardenia produces snow white, waxy blooms that ooze perfume. Plants frequently drop buds once you get them home. This could be due to cold drafts en route (make sure plants are sleeved for transport) or dry air at home (compared to the high humidity of a greenhouse). Hedge your bets by purchasing a plant loaded with flower buds. Place it in a bright window (lack of sunlight also causes bud drop), but not near a heating vent.
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.
One of the most artful and exotic white winter flowers is the moth orchid (Phalaenopsis). These exquisite bloomers open flowers that linger for weeks when nights are cool (50-60° F). Choose blossoms in pure white or with the faintest blush of pink. When selecting a plant, look for one with lots of fat flower buds and maybe one or two open blooms. Avoid plants that have already opened all their buds—you want to enjoy that magic show at home. Tuck plants in a bright window that can deliver sunlight during the day and cool temperatures at night.
A lesser known but beautiful white winter flower is cyclamen. This florist favorite comes in a variety of sizes, from miniature to full-size bloomers. Leathery leaves bear marbled silver patterns against a dark green backdrop. Blossoms open in white or shades of pink. Flowers stand tall above leaves with petals reflexed upward, making blooms resemble butterflies in flight.
Cyclamen is a rewarding houseplant, but success hinges on bright light and cool nights. Plants thrive when nights are 45-55° F, but do tolerate temperatures as high as 65° F, although plants won’t be as lush or flower as strongly when grown on the warmer side. Try growing cyclamen on a plant stand beside sliding glass patio doors or in an unused room where heating vents are closed.
Look for these white winter flowers at your local florist, garden center, or other retail floral outlets, like supermarkets or home centers. To ensure success, request that plants be sleeved in paper or plastic for transport during cold weather. Tops of sleeves should be folded and stapled shut.