General gardening topics

20+ Winter Flowering Plants For Pots and Flower Beds

Last updated on May 20th, 2021

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Does your garden start looking bare as the cold winter months draw in as many of your plants and shrubs go into dormancy or die back for the winter.

In winter a garden full of stunning colors and fragrance may seem like an unlikely option but this does not have to be with a little bit of careful planning.

Fortunately for you this does not have to be, as there are many winter flowering plants that add colour and a new lease of life to your garden, some even flower on the coldest days of winter and add a whiff of scent to the air on them frost glazed, chilly morning.

Plants with winter interest don’t just have to include flowering plants

As there are other aspects which add colour including brightly coloured stems such as that on Cornus (dogwood), brightly coloured berries as seen on Pyracantha and Cotoneaster and evergreen shrubs with interesting dramatic foliage such as Fatsia. It’s time to bright up your garden this winter!

Winter flowering plants includes some interesting plants including helleborus (Christmas rose) with there delicate white rose flowers and evergreen hardy Mahonia ‘Apollo’ with a show of spiked bright yellow flowers produce a focal point in the garden.

Things to consider when adding colour to your garden this winter

  • Planting plants in tubs so they can be moved to areas where they can be enjoyed.
  • Consider planting fragrant plants near door ways where they can be appreciated.
  • Try to get plants that offer different interested at different times such as Autumn, winter and late winter.
  • Try adding brightly coloured bird feeders to add colour and help birds survive winter.
  • Consider evergreen plants as good candidates for all year round colour.
  • Use lighting as brighten the garden up in shady areas.

Top plants to add winter interest and enhance your garden

Deciduous Winter Flowering shrubs

Hamamelis offer winter colour as flower appear between December and March, flowers can range from yellow to orange depending in the cultivar you choose. Eventual height is around 6-8ft so all ways plant ahead allowing plenty of space

Daphne is a hardy shrub that grows to around 5ft tall and produces red flowers from around February.

Cornus provide colour as there vibrant bright stems stand out and are often red or yellow depending in the variety. They can be pruned hard in spring and the new summer growth provides the vibrant colours in winter.

Abeliophyllum distichum grows to around 6-7ft and its fragrant white flowers produced colour in February.

Evergreen winter shrubs

Mahonia often seen in gardens produces spikes of yellow flower around December and grows to around 15ft but they can be pruned to keep them more manageable. A favorite of many gardeners and can even be purchased as a standard plant.

Elaeagnus pungens ‘Maculata’ has been awarded the RHS award of garden merit  and produces small white silvery flowers from October and into December. Grows to 8-16 ft

Arbutus unedo is another evergreen shrub that was awarded a garden merit by the RHS and flowers from October and into December. A large shrub growing to 15ft

Other shrubs that offer Autumn / winter interest include

  • Skimmia japonica
  • Viburnum
  • Callicarpa profusion
  • Corylus avellana Contorta (Corkscrew hazel)
  • Sarcococca hookeriana humilis (christmas box)
  • Lonicera purpusii Winter Beauty
  • Ilex (holly) many varieties available
  • Fothergilla major
  • Garrya elliptica
  • Euonymus europaeus Red Cascade
  • Jasmine Nudiflorum
  • Winter heathers

Winter bedding plants

As your summer bedding is starting to look past its best it time to see what autumn and winter bedding will brighten up your borders and pots and provide a show of colour through the winter.

Winter bedding is also know as autumn bedding and is usually planted from September on wards and will give a splash of colour through out the winter and then a burst of colour in spring.

Winter bedding are perfect for tub and planters as well as hanging baskets. There not the large choice available like with summer hanging basket plants but here out top 10 winter bedding plants.

Top 10 winter bedding plants

Top 10 winter bedding plants
Top 10 winter bedding plants
  1. At the top spot is winter pansies and for good reason, they will flower right the way through Autumn, winter and right into spring and no other winter bedding plant flowers as much. Keep removing spent flowers to keep them flower for longer. Ideal for tub and planters and also look fantastic in hanging baskets with a conifer in the centre and some ivy trailing over. Available in many colours no other plants comes in as many colours.
  2. Viola’s could also have been put at the top spot but come in second only really by my personal choice. There flowers are small than pansies and flower just as long, also available in many colours and ideal for plants and hanging basket. Some varieties even had a sweet scent from the delicate small flowers
  3. Cyclamen coum available in many colours from pink, red to white and is a try hardy winter flowering plant. Usually available from September they will provide a show of small nopping flowers in January and February.
  4. Primula is a cottage garden plant and with many new varieties which will flower through out the winter they will provide a beautiful show of flowers in many colours.
  5. Ornamental Cabbage is as the name suggest a cabbage but a non edible variety but offers colour right throughout the winter with its tense foliage of vibrant colours.
  6. Bellis have small daisy flowers
  7. Forget-me-not are a winter bedding plant that will produce a vibrant show of colour in Spring. Traditional available in blue here also now available in white and red.
  8. Stocks are are excellent for plants to give a show of colour in spring and into early summer.
  9. Sweet William is another bedding plant which can be planted in Autumn and will give a fantastic show of colour in Spring.
  10. Polyanthus are very similar to primula except of the flowers that are produced on top of long study stems. Flower from Autumn.

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