Flowers That Thrive in Winter

Winter plants are great to add a bit of color and visual interest in a dismal season landscape. Flowers that thrive in winter can add blooms, plus berries and interesting growth can really accent your garden in a time when all others are dead and waiting for spring. Winter flowers can be the first reminder that spring is around the corner.

Autumn Crocus

The autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, is also called meadow saffron or naked lady and is from the lily family. Flowers are 5 to 7 inches tall and 2 to 3 inches wide and come in the shades of purple, white, pink or lavender. Leaves are 6 to 12 inches long and strap-like. Plant this one in full sun to partial shade in a well-drained soil. Propagate by dividing and grow in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 4 to 8.


The firethorn, Pyracantha coccinea, is also called scarlet firethorn and is from the rose family. It is an easy to grow and fast-growing evergreen that will attract birds to the landscape. This shrub gets up to 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide with white spring flowers in clusters. Winter interest is in the berries that range from red, green, yellow or orange. Plant this one in any well-drained soil in full sun, partial shade or nearly full shade. Propagate by hardwood cuttings and grow in USDA zones 5 to 9.

Lenten Rose

The Lenten rose, Helleborus orientalis, is from the buttercup family and is an evergreen perennial. Leaves are 18 inches long on a plant that reaches 16 to 20 inches tall. Flowers are 2 to 3 inches wide and white with a bit of pink, green or purple. Winter interest shows new foliage and flowers. Plant this one in loose well-drained soil in heavy to light shade. Propagate by seed or by division and grow in USDA zones 4 to 9. It will be evergreen in zones 6 through 9.

Witch Hazel

The witch Hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, is from the witch hazel family and fragrant. Leaves are 2 to 6 inches long and elliptic with flowers appearing in winter. The entire shrub gets 20 to 30 feet tall. Plant this one in sun but it will tolerate shade. Propagate by seeds, suckers, layering, or cuttings and grow in USDA zones 3 to 9.

Lily of the Valley Bush

The lily of the valley bush, Pieris japonica, is from the heath family and also known as Japanese pieris or Japanese andromeda. It is a fragrant evergreen that is a shrub. Bell-like flowers are white or pink in winter and spring. Leaves are red at the beginning then mature to green and are 2 to 3 inches long. This shrub gets 8 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide. Plant this one in any well-drained soil in light shade in southern United States and partial shade in northern United States. Propagate by tip cuttings or hardwood cuttings.

Keywords: winter flowers, flowers that thrive in winter, winter plants

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years (in health and gardening topics) and a writer for 20 years. She has one book, "A Georgia Native Plant Guide," offered through Mercer University Press. She is happy to be a LIVESTRONG writer.