December can be a difficult month to be out in the garden, especially if you live in a place where there is a lot of snow and ice. As you move through the winter, it is delightful to have a few plants that flower in those winter months to remind you that spring is coming. While most plants flower in the spring, summer, or early fall, a few outdoor plants do flower in December.
Several taller viburnums are lovely shrubs for the wintertime. Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn' flowers white in the wintertime. Viburnum farreri has deliciously scented white flowers. Viburnum tinus is common in winter weddings and has white or pink flowers. These shrubs are a good complement to low-lying flowering plants like the hellebore or the snowdrop. Winter viburnums will survive in zones 5 to 8.
While the rich scent of the honeysuckle seems to be an ever-present summer scent, two honeysuckle varieties do bloom in the winter months. The climbing and fragile Lonicera fragrantissima has tiny white flowers in the winter and the spring. Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty' is a honeysuckle hybrid that is best planted at the side of the house as a small shrub or low climber. Its flowers give off a delicate lemon scent. These honeysuckles are hardy to zones 4a to 8b.
The hellebore is popular in winter gardens. This is a smaller flower that is suitable for areas near the house or under trees where it will be sheltered from the snow. The flowers of the hellebore, or the Lenten rose, are pink, purple and white, often with greenish tones. The hellebore blooms from November to March. Hellebore hardiness varies by the type of hellebore, but some are hardy to zone 6.
Camellia sasanqua is a winter-flowering camellia that is somewhat winter-hardy. It flowers in the late fall and will also flower in the early winter if the weather is not too cold. The flowers look like apple blossoms and are a good reminder of the coming spring. Winter camellias will survive in zone 5b and warmer.
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