Winter is approaching, which means the snow will soon begin falling. Unfortunately, along with winter comes the fact that your summer flowers will die and won't grow back until spring. However, what you may not know is that there are many winter flowers that grow well during these cold, snowy months. Today, let's take a look at these winter plants so that your home can stay vibrant all winter long.
Calendulas (Calendula officinalis)
Commonly called the pot marigold, calendula is a useful plant in any garden. It is often grown with vegetables because it benefits the soil, prevents pests, and is an edible herb. Although some varieties are short-lived perennials in zones 8-10, most gardeners grow calendula as annuals. Keep in mind that calendulas grow best outdoors when located in warmer climates. In the northern climates where the weather is colder, you may want to move your potted calendulas indoors. In warm climates, specifically zones 9-10, calendula can be grown almost year round.
Calendula plants are not frost-tolerant, but they do prefer cooler temperatures. In the south, calendulas may bloom from late winter into spring then die back during the extreme heat of summer. Calendula plants are usually seeded in autumn for late winter blooms. The seeds can be sown again in spring for an extended bloom time. If you live in a cooler climate, start your growing your calendula seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last expected frost.
Unlike other winter flowers, crocus cannot be harmed by the snow. In fact, snow actually acts as an insulator and keeps temperatures around the plant warmer than the ambient air. The foliage of crocus is very cold durable and can even continue growing when under a thick blanket of snow. It is possible for the new buds of crocus to become damaged, but even that is rare. If a heavy snow is coming, you can cover your crocus plants with a cover. Once the heavy snow has melted, the crocus plant will continue to grow and thrive. Crocus come in the colors white, purple, and yellow. With their colorful flowers, the crocus is a joyful sight to see in the dead of winter.
Cyclamen (Cyclamen coum)
The cyclamen grows well in zones 5 to 9. It comes in the colors white, pink, purple, and red. Unlike other winter flowers, the cyclamen blooms in November all the way through March. Make sure you place it somewhere it gets plenty of light, and don't forget to water it 2 to 3 times per week. Give it plenty of fertilizer, and if the weather is cold try adding some mulch.
English Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
Primrose species grow in many diverse locations from wet to dry and sun to shade. English primrose prefers cool climates, as do many other primrose species. Most gardeners sow the seeds anytime from January to the end of March. However, you can plant them sooner as long as it is not too cold for them. Fill small pots with a moist seed-starting mix to within 14 inches of the top. Then sow seeds sparsely and cover them with a thin layer of vermiculite. Put the pots outside, exposed to the weather, but on the north side of a building or under shrubs for protection from wind and the winter sun. Make sure to keep the soil moist. If the seeds dry out, there is a chance that they could die.
Often called the Christmas rose, the hellebore plant is one of the few plants that will grow throughout the winter. In warmer locations, you can expect hellebores to grow during early winter. As for colder climates, hellebores may not grow until late winter. Although they don't have colorful flowers, hellebores are still unique looking and offer a gorgeous look in the snow.
Kaffir Lily (Clivia miniata)
Commonly called the bush lily, this flower does not naturally bloom during the winter. That said, if the temperature is right, these winter flowers can be coaxed to bloom in late winter or early spring. They have beautiful orange flowers, although sometimes their petals are red. Although this flower has the name "lily" in it, the Kaffir lily is not actually part of the lily family. Instead, it is part of the Amaryllis family.
Pansies (Viola tricolor)
Many people add pansies into their garden during the summer, but surprisingly, pansies grow well during the winter too. Most plants in the viola group have always bloomed off and on through mild winters. Winter pansies are even more cold tolerant and are often seen blooming right through the snow. You can plant your pansies during the winter in the same manner as you would plant them in the spring. Some gardeners recommend planting pansies in an elevated bed, although this is not always necessary. If you are wanting a splash of color in your garden, consider planting pansies.
Are snapdragons one of your favorite summer flowers? If so, you'll be happy to hear that they also work great as winter flowers. Make sure you give your snapdragons plenty of water and have them positioned so they get plenty of light. If you live in a very cold climate, applying mulch around the snapdragons may be a good idea. Keep in mind that if the temperatures get really cold where you live, your snapdragons may not grow so well. If you notice that they are dying, transplant them into a pot and bring them indoors for the winter.
Of all the winter flowers that are in this article, the snowdrop plant may be the hardiest winter flower. Depending on your region, they will bloom in February or March. Sometimes snowdrops don't even wait for the snow to melt before they grow, which is why the word "snow" is in their name. Snowdrops take full sun to partial shade. Grow them in well-drained soil that has plenty of humus. This plant does not require particularly moist soil in the North, but in the South, it will need more water. They can be grown in zones 3 to 7. Keep in mind that snowdrops are very toxic. Make sure young children, dogs, cats, and any other pets you may have do not eat it. When you are planting the bulbs, remember to wear gloves. You can develop a skin irritation by handling snowdrops without gloves.
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Sweet Alyssum is considered a hardy plant. It can handle intense heat and drought, as well as cold weather. While it is not frost-tolerant, it does grow well during the winter in warmer climates. This flower has a sweet fragrance, hence the name. It is a member of the mustard family, as are all other alyssum plants. The blooms come in pink, salmon, purple, white, and yellow.
Winter Heath (Erica carnea)
Winter heaths have a unique look that other winter flowers don't have. They have needles along their stems, and they have bright, colorful flowers. This plant is actually considered an evergreen shrub, but it is small enough to be grown in pots. It prefers acidic soil, but it’s more tolerant than other heaths.
Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
Winter Jasmine is one of the earliest flowering plants to bloom, often in January. Unlike the other flowers in its family, Winter Jasmine does not have a scent. However, it does have colorful flowers that are bright yellow. Winter Jasmine prefers well-drained soil in full sun. This winter flower grows well in almost any type of soil. For vertical growth, remove the side shoots when the plant is young. Every few years as the stems turn brown and flower production declines, trim them after blooming to just a few inches above the ground. This will encourage the flowers to grow more. Winter Jasmine is not considered a climbing plant, but if you tie their stems to a trellis they will grow up it.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis)
While most people think of witch hazel as a skincare product you get from drug stores, witch hazel is also a beautiful shrub that grows well during the winter. Although all types of witch hazel grow well in the winter, winter witch hazel grows the best in the cold. Winter witch hazel is one of the earliest shrubs to bloom. They grow best in full sun but can withstand partial shade. Witch hazel has a beautiful fragrance, so consider planting it somewhere the scent can be noticed. Witch hazel is very easy to care for. They do not need to be pruned, and they like a rich organic soil. Not only does witch hazel look nice, but you can also make your own witch hazel skincare products from the bark of the shrub.
Final Thoughts On Winter Flowers
Just because winter is approaching doesn't mean that you still can't grow flowers. There are many different flowers that bloom in winter. Today, I went over these winter flowering plants and how you can grow them in your garden. Keep in mind that some of these winter season flowers cannot handle frost or extremely cold weather. Make sure you know your zone before you begin planting one of these winter flowers. I hope this article has answered all your questions about winter flowers. Have fun planting!