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Plants that Flower in Winter

Spring and summer gardens are known for their bright colors and vivacity.  Fall has the beautiful changing leaves.  Winter has bare trees…and snow?  There are many plants that prefer actually prefer the cold weather and will bloom beautiful flowers amidst the falling snowflakes.  There are even a few that will die off in the warm weather and reappear every fall or winter, with very little maintenance.  Plants help bring a pond to life, adding color and fun.  In the fall, before the ground freezes, plant some winter blooming plants around the pond and as the temperatures drop, wait for the flowers to peek under the blanket of snow.  Your pond will look extra beautiful even if it’s shut down until spring.

How well a plant can handle climates is called “hardiness.”  In order to make life easier, the USDA has divided the United States into varying climate zones based on how hot they get in the summer and how cold they get in the winter.  In northern areas where the weather drops well below freezing in the wintertime, there are less plants that will survive and bloom, particularly in Zones 1 and 2.

Ornamental Cabbage or Kale
  • Zones 2-11
  • Full sun
  • Bright colors of purple, green, blue, pink and can withstand the snow
  • Edible but not as tasty as the less colorful varieties

 

 Winter Aconite
  • Zones 3-7
  • Yellow flowers
  • Blooms in the very last bits of winter and into early spring
  • Enjoys the sun or slight shade
  • Native to Southern France and Bulgaria
  • Bulb plant

 

Snowdrop
  • Zones 3-7
  • White flowers on bright green stems
  • Full sun or slight shade
  • Low maintenance but poisonous to people, wear gloves to protect skin
  • Bulb

 

Christmas Rose
  • Zones 3-8
  • Blooms from winter to spring
  • White flowers with yellow stamens
  • Enjoys the shade, especially under big trees to protect from wind
  • Perennial

 

Scilla
  • Zones 4-8
  • Light blue flowers with dark blue stripe down the middle
  • Plant in the fall, and blooms in last winter.  Often regrows years after year in the same spot.
  • Bulb

 

Candytuft
  • Zones 3-8
  • White flowers and very hardy
  • Bloom in spring and fall
  • Full sun
  • Perennial

 

Flowering Quince 
  • Zones 4-9
  • Vibrant red and orange flowers
  • Full sun
  • Bloom late winter
  • Deciduous shrub

 

Algerian Winter Iris 
  • Zones 4-9
  • Light blue flowers
  • Full or partial shade
  • Bloom typically in January and into March

 

Hellebore
  • Zones 4-9
  • Great varieties in color and height, some varieties are more or less hardy than others
  • Prefer shade
  • Late bloomers
  • Perennial

 

Winter Heath
  • Zones 5-7
  • Uniquely shaped pink flowers
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Bloom January to March

 

Witch hazel
  • Zones 5-8
  • Curls of yellow or red
  • Sun or some shade
  • Bloom January to March
  • Deciduous shrub

 

Winter Jasmine
  • Zones 6-10
  • Yellow flowers
  • January blooms
  • Sun or partial shade
  • Vine

 

Winter Flowering Camellia
  • Zones 7-9
  • Flowers range from pink to yellow
  • Native to China and Japan
  • Bloom from December to April depending on the weather
  • Partial shade

 

Gardening is a therapeutic hobby that can be enjoyed year round.  Winter brings a great change of scenery into the garden.  Gardening success is largely depends on climate and soil quality.  Some plants prefer the cold winter weather, while others prefer to bask in the hot sun in the summer.  When picking out plants always check to make sure they agree with your climate zone, kind of soil, sun, and water requirements before purchasing and introducing to your garden.  

 

Visit USDA.gov for more information on your plant hardiness region. You can even do a search by state or zip code!

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