How to Add Flower Power to Your Garden in Winter

Winter can be a dreary time in the garden. But by planting a few winter-flowering plants, you can enjoy delightful blooms even in the cooler months. Best of all, winter-flowering plants help pollinators get through the winter when there is little else on offer.

Here is my selection of winter-flowering ornamentals, which I will be updating regularly. They typically flower in late winter and can be easily found in most well-stocked garden centres.

Shrubs

Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis)

Fantastic golden-yellow flowers, clustered in small unruly bunches, make Chinese witch hazel a centrepiece of the winter garden. The cheery flowers are fragrant and pop up on the leafless branches of this large and hardy shrub.

Mimosa (Acacia dealbata)

With delicate feathery leaves and spiky yellow flower balls, a mimosa adds delightful texture to any space. Whether grown as a tall tree, shrub, or climber, the mimose will never fail to add a sunny glow to your winter garden.

Mahonia (Mahonia × media)

If you have a shady garden, you can rely on a Mahonia to thrive and provide beautiful winter blossom. The yellow flower spikes shoot up to the sky and are followed by black, juicy berries.

Photo Credit.

Viburnum (Viburnum farrerii)

Delicate flowers burst out of pink buds on this hardy shrub.Viburnum farrerii flowers from late autumn through spring along graceful arching branches.

Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox)

Native to China, wintersweet is highly ornamental in winter, sometimes reaching the size of a small tree. The almost translucent flowers are highly fragrant and grow directly on leafless branches. It requires a sheltered position in full sun.

Sweet box (Sarcoccoca hookeriana var. humilis)

A compact shrub reaching 60cm with creamy white flowers topped with crimson tips. The flowers are followed by glossy black berries.

Pieris japonica ‘Bonfire’

Another compact shrub, Pieris has dark pink flower buds that open up into sprays of urn-shaped flowers.

Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha)

The leafless silvery stems of Edgeworthia carry large clusters of pale yellow flowers. They have a light fragrance and look graceful on very flexible shoots.

Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica)

Native to Northern Iran, this small tree creates a spectacle of striking crimson foliage in autumn. Yet even in winter, Parrotia doesn’t fail to impress, showing off small clusters of bright pink flowers on bare stems. Well worth its space in a small garden.

Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera purpusii “Winter Beauty”)

This delightful shrub grows to medium size, bearing creamy white flowers on bare stems, followed by red berries. Plant it in the front garden or near a path where the heavenly scent of the flowers can be enjoyed.

Bedding

Winter daphne (Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’)

This winter daphne will fill your garden with a delightful scent from as early as Christmas until April. Dark green glossy leaves with golden edging surround the fragrant pink flowers. Highly sought after, this daphne is also the winner of an RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Hellebore (Christmas Rose)

It is hard to think of a more versatile plant to brighten up the shady corners of a winter garden. The gently arching flowers will open as early as January, heralding the start of the new year, in shades from fresh green to whites and pinks. Opt for a sheltered spot when planting hellebores, as strong winds can damage the delicate flowers.

Climbers

Clematis cirrhosa

A lovely evergreen climber growing up to 3m tall, Clematis cirrhosa bears delicate creamy flowers, sometimes spotted inside, among dark green leaves. It flowers from late winter to spring, when the flowers transform into furry seedheads.

Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)

Long trailing branches carry striking daffodil-yellow flowers. This jasmine heralds the end of winter with blooms emerging in February.


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