Winter flowers spruce up the landscape during the coldest months of the year and enhance the appeal of the otherwise bare and weary landscape. Tolerant of frost and hard freezes, these hardy flowering plants add a cheerful note to the garden or container and a touch of life to the area. Similar to spring and summer flowering plants, these too come in different shapes, colours and sizes, offering the gardener a wide variety during selection.
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Belonging to the iris family, crocuses are hardy, cold-tolerant goblet-shaped that liven up dull winter days. Each plant features a thick stem and a pale purple flower composed of six petals, with a contrasting bright orange stamen arising from the middle. Fast-growing crocuses emerge through a blanket of snow and multiply quickly to fill the planting site with their attractive forms. These perennials thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 (lowest average temperature being -40F) to 8 (10F) in well-draining soil.
Also called Lenten rose, the Christmas rose (Helleborous odorus) is a hardy flowering perennial that thrives in containers and gardens beds during the winter months. Growing 3 feet tall and up to 3 feet wide, the Lenten rose features saucer-like nodding blooms in bold colours including green, white, purple, pink and red. Tolerant of below-freezing temperatures, the hardy plant thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 (-30F) to 9 (20F) in well-drained, nutrient-rich soils that receive full or partial shade.
Also called milk flower or common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis), snowdrops are hardy winter flowers that push their way through the ground despite traces of snow. Growing 4 to 5 inches tall at maturity, the plant produces white flowers and leafless stems. True to its name, the plant produces three white flowers that hang off the tip of its stem resembling drops of milk. Hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 7 (0F), the flowering perennial plant well-draining soil exposed to full or partial sun. The small-sized plants draw attention when planted in a large mass. Snowdrops perform well in containers and hanging baskets.
A suitable choice for bedding or container gardens, winter or ice pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) are tender perennials that brighten up the winter landscape. Each clumplike plant grows 6 to 10 inches tall and 5 inches wide and features happy face-like flowers in bold colours. Winter pansies attract winged beauties such as butterflies to the garden, enhancing the appeal of the area. Thriving in all USDA hardiness zones, the easy-to-grow plants prefer well-draining soils exposed to partial sunlight.
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