For a gardening enthusiast, the winter months can be long and dreary. Knowing what kinds of flowers bloom in the cold months can fill a gardener's winter with colour and life. Many winter shrubs have the advantage of blooming flowers that are long-lasting and fragrant.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) gives off cascading yellow blooms all winter long and grows to be 2 to 4 feet tall. According to the United States Hardiness Zones (see Resources), winter jasmine grows in zones 6b to 11a. This fast-growing shrub needs partial sun to full sun exposure to thrive.
The camellia sasanqua shrub provides early winter flowers in a variety of colours, including lavender, pink, orange, red, yellow and white. In zones 7b to 9a, this shrub grows to be 10 to 15 feet tall. The flowering shrub needs partial shade to full sun exposure.
A sweet osmathus (Osmanthus fragrans), also known as tea olive, is a winter shrub that gives off a sweet scent. This holly-like tree has white blooms and can grow from 15 to 25 feet tall in zones 7b to 9a. Although it is generally slow-growing, it has a long lifespan, with blooms lasting from early to late winter. This sweet-scented shrub needs partial shade to full sun exposure to flourish.
The wintersweet shrub (Chimonanthus praecox) has very fragrant yellow blooms in mid and late winter. In zones 7a to 9b, it grows to be 6 to 10 feet tall. Its distinctive sweet scent is similar to the smell of jasmine. This shrub blooms in partial shade to full sun exposure, and grows at an average rate. A wintersweet shrub may stop blooming early if exposed to extremely low temperatures.
Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) blooms in early and mid winter. Its flowers can be orange or yellow and are often fragrant. Witchhazel grows in zones 3b to 8b and can reach a height of 15 to 25 feet. Shade to full sun exposure is best for this slow-growing shrub.
Winter daphne (Daphne odora) has blossoms of fragrant pink and purple flowers in early, mid and late winter. This slow growing shrub has a height of 3 to 5 feet, and grows in zones 7a to 9b. In partial shade and partial sun exposure, winter daphne will provide colour to a garden all winter long.
Perennials and Annuals
Many perennial and annual flowers do well in the winter. The Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) produces flowers from fall to early spring. This slow-growing perennial grows in zones 4 to 8 and thrives in partial sun and partial shade. It is typically no more than a foot tall. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are annuals that have red, pink, purple, yellow or white flowers and grow in zones 6 to 10. They can grow from half a foot to 3 feet tall in partial sun and partial shade.