As winter brings its cool soil and outdoor temperatures, many plants emerge to light up the landscape with their foliage and blooms. Winter-blooming plants bring vibrancy to the landscape and are oftentimes frost tolerant. They have the ability to withstand bad weather, when most other plants are in their dormant season. Tucked along a shaded flowerbed or lining a garden walkway, winter plants provide much needed color to the white winter garden.
Japanese camellia (Camellia japonica) is an evergreen shrub with a slow to moderate growth rate and medium texture. According to Fine Gardening magazine online, "Japanese camellias earn these shrubs their status as queens of the winter garden." Growing 8 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide, Japanese camellia shrubs have an upright, dense form that is pyramidal in shape. The semi-double to double flowers grows 3 to 5 inches wide and the blooms are offered in a wide range of colors including white, red and pink, with some variegated blooms that have more than one color swirled together. The leather-like foliage on Japanese camellia shrubs is dark green and grows 2 to 4 inches long. They require partial to full shade and acidic, well-drained soil that is high in nutrients. Plant Japanese camellia in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 7 to 9.
Hellebore (Helleborus --- hybridus cvs.) is a perennial flower with a moderate growth rate and clumping form. Growing 1 to 3 feet tall and wide, hellebore flowers emerge in late fall to last into the winter. The 2-inch-wide saucer-shaped blooms appear as if they are nodding down to the garden. The blooms grow in a wide range of colors including green, pink, white, yellow and purple. The leather-like foliage of hellebores is shiny and bright green and as an evergreen, hellebores keep their foliage and color throughout the winter. Frost tolerant, hellebore flowers require part to full shade and are neutral to alkaline soils. Tucked along a garden bed or border, hellebore flowers provide a showy garden display.They grow best in humus-rich soil that is well drained. To promote new growth, cut back the stems after flowering. Plant in USDA zones 4 to 9.
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora "Marginata") is an evergreen shrub variety that blooms in winter to last into spring. Growing 3 to 6 feet tall and wide, winter Daphne has a moderate growth rate and rounded form. The pink flowers on winter Daphne open to white to contrast with its variegated foliage. The bright green leaves are edged with yellow to create a striking color combination. Tucked along a garden wall or grown in masses along a backyard patio, frost-tolerant winter Daphne is a hardy and versatile winter plant. Winter Daphne requires full sun to part shade and nutrient-laden soil that is well drained and slightly acidic to alkaline. Plant in USDA zones 7 to 9.