Planting winter flowers can keep the colours in your winter garden from matching the grey skies. Winter flowers come in a variety of styles, including bright, showy flowers and pale, delicate blossoms. Most flowers thrive under overcast skies, though few can tolerate excessive waterlogging. While the choices are seemingly endless, a few have become staples of winter gardens for their hardiness and attractiveness.
Winter honeysuckle shrubs, or Lonicera fragrantissima, are rapid growers that produce white- or cream-coloured flowers, with a pink or red blush in winter. According to North Carolina State University's horticulture extension program, these flowers give off a lemon scent. It is drought-tolerant and requires frequent pruning; otherwise, it can grow up to 10 feet tall.
Mahonias are holly-like shrubs that produce yellow flowers from November to March. They come in many styles, including the Oregon grape, which grows in Northern California up to Canada, and the dainty 'Winter Sun' hybrid, which has a stronger scent than other mahonias. They are adaptable to many types of soil, as long as it isn't overly wet, and can handle sun or shade. Garden designer Mary Keen at London's Daily Telegraph says they need frequent pruning.
The helleborus is a large, showy flower that brings life to many winter gardens. It comes in a wide range of colours, such as yellows, pinks and dark purples. The evergreen foliage often rivals the flowers in beauty. For instance, Helleborus foetidus 'Wester Flisk' has hints of red on its stems and leaves that sometimes extends to the flowers. Meanwhile, 'Blackthorn Strain' helleborus has very red stems. According to horticulture journalist Ketzel Levine on National Public Radio, the open petal look makes them exceptionally popular.
The snowdrop, or galanthus, is a pretty bell-shaped flower with tepals rather than full petals. It usually blooms late in the winter, or even early spring; as the BBC's Plant Finder feature states, "For many gardeners snowdrops herald the end of winter." They thrive under grey skies and prefer cold weather and moist soil.
Winter jasmine, or Jasminum nudiflorum, is a popular winter flower, according to the Telegraph's Keen. It is a hardy plant that thrives in partial shade or sun. In the winter, it produces bright yellow blossoms with delicate petals, often in a row along a stem. It is one of the showiest winter flowers, but keep in mind that unlike other jasmine flowers, the winter jasmine is unscented, according to horticulturalists at Clemson University Cooperative Extension.
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