Winter Blooming Flowers

Christmas rose Helleborus
Christmas rose, Helleborus orientalis, also known as Lenten rose blooms in winter.

Flowers can bloom in the winter garden. Clear away the thought that winter is only about conifers and broad-leaved evergreens as the dominant feature in winter.

Blooming flowers can give the winter garden a feeling of warmth.

This list of winter-blooming flowers is aimed at gardens near 40 degrees North latitude (this latitude runs from Toms River, New Jersey, through Philadelphia, through Columbus Ohio, through Boulder, Colorado to Humboldt County in far northern California).

The list pre-supposes that the ground is not frozen or blanketed with snow. If you live where winter is deep in snow, you will want to look at the list of shrubs and trees for the winter garden. That list features showy bark, berries, and plants notable for their leafless form.

If you can grow flowers where you live in winter, you may find that the plants on this list bloom a bit earlier or later. Gardeners further north will find that their flowers will bloom later, and gardeners to the south will have earlier blooms.

This list includes annuals, bulbs, and perennials.

Winter blooming Adonis vernalis, known as Adonis
Winter blooming Adonis vernalis, known as Adonis

Adonis, amur Adonis. Perennial. Blooms late winter to early spring depending on location. Zones 4-7. Grows to 16 inches (40cm) tall. Shiny bowl-shaped golden yellow flowers are similar to daisies to 1½ inches (4cm) across. Plant in humus-rich, well-drained soil; plant in full sun or partial shade. Use in beds and borders. Flower buds are susceptible to slugs.

Japanese anemone

Anemone, windflower. Tuberous perennial. Blooms late winter in warm climates. Zones 6-10. Grows to 36 inches (90cm) tall depending on cultivar. Poppylike flowers to 3 inches 97.5cm) wide; choose from blue, pink, purple, red, and white. Plant in autumn in zones 8-10; plant in spring in zones 3-7. Plant in humus-rich, well-drained soil; plant in partial to full sun. Used beds, containers, edgings. Susceptible to birds, deer, and fungal diseases.

Spring meadow saffron, Bulbocodium vernum

Bulbocodium vernum, spring meadow saffron. Perennial. Blooms late winter to very early spring. Zones 7-9. Grows 1½ to 3 inches (3-8cm) tall. Crocus-like, pinkish-purple flowers, occasionally white to 3 inches (8cm) long. Plant in autumn in humus-rich, well-drained soil; plant in full sun. Use in beds, mass plantings.

Pot Marigold, Calendula officinalis

Calendula officinalis, pot marigold. Annual. Blooms in winter flowers in mild climates. Zones 2-10. Grows 12 to 24 inches (30-61cm) high; can be branched or mounded. Round, double flowers to 4 inches (10cm); choose from deep orange and light or bright yellow. Plant in spring in loamy, well-drained soil; plant in full sun. Use in beds, borders, containers. Susceptible to spider mites, whiteflies.

Glory-of-the-snow, Chionodoxa

Chionodoxa, glory-of-the-snow. Bulbous perennial. Blooms late winter to early spring depending on location. Zones 3-8. Grows to 12 inches (30cm) tall. Six-pointed, star-shaped flowers to 1 inch (2.5cm) on stalks with ascending, vertical-tiered clusters; choose from blue, lavender, pink, and white. Plant in autumn in humus-rich soil with good drainage; plant in full sun to partial shade. Use in borders and containers; naturalizes. Resists pests and diseases.

Larkspur, Consolida

Consolida, rocket larkspur. Annual. Blooms in winter in warm climates. Zones 4-10. Grow 1 to 5 feet (.3-1.5m) tall. Tiers of 7-petaled flowers to 1.5 inches (3.8cm); choose from blue, pink, rose, violet, and white. Plant in spring in zones 4-7; plant in late summer in zones 8-10. Plant in loamy, well-drained soil; plant in full sun to partial shade. Use in beds, borders, massed plantings; good cutting flower. Resists pests and diseases.

Winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis

Eranthis hyemalis, winter aconite. Tuberous perennial. Blooms late winter to early spring, depending on location. Zones 6-11. Grows 2 to 8 inches (5-20cm) tall. Star-shaped, often aromatic flowers ½ to 1¼ inches (1.2-3.2cm) long, with pineapple-like bracts; choose from green, white, and yellow. Plant in spring in humus-rich soil with good drainage; plant in full sun to partial shade. Use in beds, borders, drifts, edges, mixed plantings; naturalizes. Resists in pests and diseases.

Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis

Galanthus nivalis, snowdrop. Bulbous perennial. Blooms in late winter to early spring. Zones 4-7. Grows 6 to 9 inches (15-23cm) tall. Lone, nodding, circular, single, parasol-shaped, white flowers 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5cm) wide. Plant in humus-rich soil that is well-drained; plant in filtered sun to partial shade. Use in beds, borders, containers, edgings, mixed plantings; naturalizes. Resists deep, insect pests, and disease.

Christmas rose, Helleborus niger

Helleborus niger, Christmas rose. Rhizome perennial. Blooms in late winter in warm climates. Zones 4-9.  Grows to 12 inches (30cm) tall. Nodding, pendulous stalks of showy, cup- or bell-shaped flowers to 3 inches (7.5cm) wide; choose from cream, green, lavender, pink, and white. Plant in early spring in humus, moist soil; plant in partial to full shade. Use in beds, borders, containers. Resists pests.

Candytuft, Iberis sempervirens

Iberis sempervirens, perennial candytuft. Blooms late winter in mild-winter climates.  Zones 3-10. Grows to 12 inches (30cm) tall. Round or flat clusters of tiny, white, 4-petaled flowers to 5/8 inch (16mm) wide. Plant in spring in humus-rich, moist soil with good drainage; plant in full to filtered sun. Use as an accent; plant in borders, containers, and edgings.

Netted iris, Iris danfordiae

Iris danfordiae, netted iris, Algerian iris. Blooms late winter to early spring. Zones 5-8. Grows 4 to 6 inches (10-15cm) tall. Solitary yellow flowers to 2 inches (5cm) across with tiny greenish-yellow markings. Plant in spring in humus-rich, well-drained soil; plant in full sun. Use in beds, border, as a groundcover.

Sweet alyssum, Lobularia maritima

Lobularia maritima, sweet alyssum. Biennial. Blooms in winter in mild climates. Zones 7-11. Grows to 12 inches (30cm) tall. Clusters of tiny, simple, 4-petaled flowers to ¼ inch (6mm) wide; choose from pink, purple, and white. Plant in spring in loamy, well-drained soil; plant in full to filtered sun. Use in hanging baskets, borders, containers, edgings. Susceptible to slugs and snails.

Stock, Matthiola incana

Matthiola incana, stock. Perennial. Flowers in winter flowers in mild climates. Zones 7-9. Grow 12 to 36 inches (30-91cm) high. Tall spikes of single or double, fragrant flowers to 1 inch (2.5cm) wide; choose from blue, cream, pink, purple, red, and yellow. Plant in spring in zones 3-7; plant in autumn in zones 8-9. Plant in sandy loam with good drainage’ plant in full sun to partial shade. Use in beds, borders, containers; good cutting flower. Resists pests and diseases.

English primrose, Primula polyantha

Primula x polyantha, English primrose. Annual. Flowers in winter to early spring in the South and West Coast. Zones 5-8. Grows 8 to 12 inches (20-30cm) tall. Open, deep-throated flowers to 2 inches (5cm) wide; choose from blue, purple, red, white, and yellow. Plant in spring in zones 5-6; plant in autumn in ones 7-8. Plant in humus-rich, well-drained soil; plant in full sun to partial shade. Use as an accent; plant in containers, massed planting, formal gardens, rock garden. Susceptible to slugs and snail and bacterial leaf spot.

Siberian squill, Scilla siberica

Scilla spp., squill. Bulbous perennial. Blooms late winter to early spring. Bulb. Zones 3-10. Grow 10 to 12 inches (25-30cm) tall. Lone short or tall stalks with tiered clusters of multiple star-shaped flowers to 1 inch (2.5cm) wide; choose from blue, pink, purple, or white. Plant in autumn in humus-rich, well-drained soil; plant in full sun to partial shade. Use in borders, containers, edgings, mass plantings; good cutting flower; naturalizes. Resists pests and diseases.

pansies
Pansy, Viola x wittrockiana

Viola x wittrockiana, pansy. Annuals or perennials. Blooms in winter in warm climates. Zones 5-9. Irregular, 5-petaled flowers, 2 to 5 inches (5-12.5cm) wide; choose from blue, brown, burgundy, lavender, red, violet, white, and yellow. Plant in spring or autumn in loamy, well-drained soil. Plant in loamy, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Use in borders, containers, mass plantings. Susceptible to slugs, snails, and anthracnose.

Also of interest:

Spring Blooming Flowers

20 Fragrant Annuals and Perennials

Rabbit-Resistant Flowering Plants

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