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Names of Plants that Flower in January

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Names of Plants that Flower in January

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January-flowering plants can be the perfect transitional elements between year-end festivities and the approaching spring. Several perennials and shrubs--both native and exotic--bring January color to the garden, according to Oregon State University Extension's home horticulturist Niel Bell. Some of them provide fragrant, long-lasting January flowers even where winter means temperatures well below zero.

Virginia Springbeauty

Virginia springbeauty (Claytonia virginica) is a low-growing perennial. This January bloomer grows wild in organically rich woods from Vermont south to Alabama and west to Wisconsin. Its thin 4-inch to 1-foot stems have smooth, grassy green leaves. Between January and May, white or pink flowers with pink veins hang in clusters from the upper stems. After producing seeds, plants go dormant and their foliage disappears. Large colonies of Virginia springbeauty make exceptionally attractive early spring displays, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. The plants grow from edible, chestnut-flavored tubers. Plant them where they will have room to spread in partial shade and moist, humus-rich acidic (pH below 7.0) soil.

Winter Heath 'Springwood Pink'

Winter heath (Erica carnea) is a broadleaf evergreen of the heath family hardy to minus 20 degrees F. Standing 6 inches to 1 foot high, it can spread more than 20 inches. It's commonly found in the European Alps. Plants have 1/4-inch, needle-like green leaves. In optimum conditions, winter heath will make a thick ground cover. "Springwood Pink," a winter heath cultivar, has bronze-tipped foliage and single-sided spikes of 1/4-inch pink blooms between January and March. Use it, suggests the Missouri Botanical Garden, to provide year-long interest in rock gardens and on slopes. Give it peat-amended, well-drained sandy loam. Plants in full sun have the heaviest flowers. All of them, however, benefit from afternoon shade where summers are hot. Prune, if necessary, immediately after they bloom.

Ozark Witch Hazel

Ozark witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) is a round, deciduous shrub native to the central and western United States. Hardy to minus 30 degrees F, it usually grows between 6 and 10 feet tall. This is an exceptionally early blooming witch hazel variety, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It flowers for up to four weeks from January into February or even March. Most often pale yellow, its fragrant flower clusters may have red calyxes (outer bracts protecting the petals). Oval green leaves become yellow in autumn. Plant Ozark witch hazel as a specimen, screening hedge or in a woodland garden. For best blooming, give it full sun to partial shade and moist, organically rich, acidic soil that has a pH below 7.0. It tolerates heavy clay. Prune suckers as they appear to keep it from becoming invasive.

Keywords: January blooming plants, winter flowering plants, winter garden color

About this Author

A freelance writer, Judy Wolfe has owned Prose for the Pros, a freelance writing business, since 2006. She's been an inveterate traveler since 1961 and draws on her travel experiences to provide articles for such websites as Chincoteague Island Vacations and Berlin Dude. Wolfe holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from California State University at Pomona.