Many plants begin their dormant season in winter when outdoor temperatures plummet, while others emerge to light up the oftentimes colorless landscape. Available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colors, each with its own distinct growing requirements, winter-blooming flowers are a garden essential. Some winter flowers are evergreen to retain their color throughout the year, an added bonus. Flanking a front yard pathway or nestled along a garden wall, winter flowers provide vibrancy to the landscape.
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora 'Marginata') has fragrant blooms that emerge in winter to light up the garden with color. Growing 3 to 6 feet tall and wide, winter Daphne has a moderate growth rate. The pink blooms on winter Daphne open to white for a classic display. The variegated and shiny foliage is deep green with a thin yellow edging. Tucked along a backyard patio, winter Daphne provides a striking source of color in winter. Winter Daphne requires full sun to part shade and fertile, nutrient-laden soil that is slightly acidic to alkaline. Winter Daphne does not tolerate dry soils and resents being transplanted. The USDA hardiness zones for planting are 7 to 9.
Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis), also called Lenten rose, is an evergreen with a slow growth rate and course texture. Growing 12 to 18 inches tall, hellebore flowers bloom in winter for a burst of color to the landscape. The 2-inch, saucer-shaped blooms grow in a wide range of colors including, pink, white, lavender and yellow. Hellebore grows in erect clumps that have a nodding-like appearance as if they are bowing to the garden. The shiny, dark green leaves of hellebore are leather-like with a toothed edging. Frost-tolerant, hellebore plants can be divided after flowering to grow in other areas of the garden like under a favorite shade tree. Hellebore requires light to moderate shade and well-drained, humus-rich soil. The zones for planting are 3 to 8.
Signaling spring is on its way, giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) blooms appear in winter to light up low areas of the garden. Nodding in shape, the blooms sit atop the tall, bright green stems. Growing less than 6 inches tall and wide, giant snowdrops have small white flowers that grow in upright clumps. Planted along a garden walkway or flowerbed border, giant snowdrops create a showy winter display. Frost-tolerant, giant snowdrops have the ability to be divided after flowing to replant throughout the garden. Giant snowdrops require full sun to part shade and well-drained soil that is moist. The zones for planting are 3 to 9.