As the temperatures plummet and snow begins to fall, many winter-blooming flowers emerge to light up the garden with color and texture. Grown in a wide range of colors, sizes and shapes, winter flowers have the ability to grow and bloom in below freezing temperatures. Oftentimes, winter plants are evergreen, meaning they retain their foliage throughout the season to help provide warmth to the landscape.
Giant snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) is a winter-blooming bulb that springs up through the soil in late winter and is a sign that spring is on its way. Giant snowdrops reach a maximum height and width of 6 inches and have a clumping growth habit and moderate growth rate. The four-petaled, white, waxy, bell-shaped flowers on giant snowdrops appear to be as if bowing down to the garden. The 4-inch bright green basal leaves on giant snowdrops appear after flowering. Giant snowdrops grow best in full sun to part shade and cool, moist soils that are humus-rich. They are suitable in USDA zones 3 to 9.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis --- intermedia 'Arnold Promise') is a large winter-blooming deciduous shrub that is suitable in USDA zones 5 to 9. It has an upright, spreading habit and vase-shaped form that makes for an ideal specimen plant within the garden. Witch hazel grows 12 to 15 feet tall and wide, creating a commanding landscape presence. Known for its fragrant flowers, witch hazel bares clusters of 1-inch long, yellow and red, ribbon-like flowers that are crinkled. The oval green leaves on witch hazel grow up to 6 inches long to turn yellow and orange in fall. Witch hazel grows best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, acidic and nutrient-rich soil. Plant witch hazel in USDA zones 5 to 8.
Lenten rose (Helleborus odorus 'Double Queen') is a mid-winter blooming perennial flower that grows best in USDA zones 4 to 9. Known for its nodding, double flowerhead, Lenten rose flower colors range from deep pink to pale pink and creamy white. They reach a height and spread of 1 to 3 feet and have a moderate growth rate. The dark green, leather-like foliage on Lenten rose helps to make up the clumping growth habit they are known for. Lenten rose flowers have the ability to bloom in below freezing temperatures, creating a hardy winter flower variety. As an evergreen, they retain their foliage and color throughout the season. Lenten rose grows best in full to part shade and nutrient-rich soil that is somewhat alkaline to neutral in nature. They are tolerant of humidity and heat.