Winter conjures up visions of snowy landscapes and leafless tree limbs adorned with fragile icicles. Springtime is for new plant growth and emerging flower blossoms. Yet, there are plants which flower during the winter, bringing color to a warm region garden or into a home surrounded by snow.
Known as the Christmas flower, the poinsettia's colorful blossoms are actually modified leaves, or bracts, surrounding the plant's true flower. Popular as a potted plant during the winter holiday season, the poinsettia reflowers the next winter, providing special attention is given to the plant. By late spring, when the plant is finished flowering, it needs to be cut back, repotted and then fertilized every two weeks through spring and summer. If kept in a dark area for 14 hours a day, from late September through October, the poinsettia will flower come winter. Poinsettia bracts come in a variety of colors, including red, pink, white, orange, purple and marble.
While the winter honeysuckle or Lonicera fragrantissima does not produce showy flowers, the small white blossoms are extremely fragrant, with a lemony scent, and begin blooming mid-winter. Flowers can appear on bare branches, yet when it has foliage, the foliage is roundish and dark blue-green in color, with leaves measuring between 1 and 3 inches long. After winter flowers, come the plant's red fruit. The winter honeysuckle, which does well in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 4 through 8, reaches about 6 to 10 feet high at maturity and its branches arch outwards, about 6 to 8 feet. The winter honeysuckle makes an ideal plant for screening and is drought resistant.
The Dawe's aloe or Aloe dawei is a drought-resistant succulent, requiring little irrigation, and does well in desert regions of Arizona, Nevada and California. During the winter, its red flower spikes come into bloom and attract hummingbirds and other birds to the plant. Shrub-like in appearance, at maturity it grows to about 2 feet high and 3 feet wide. Its foliage is coarse textured and reddish-green in color, producing a minimal amount of litter. The Dawe aloe is a native of Africa and does well in full or partial sun.
For a flowering warm-weather winter vine, consider the lilac vine or Hardenbergia violacea, a drought-resistant plant requiring minimal irrigation. Beginning in winter its purple flower clusters begin to bloom. This twining plant is a fast grower and requires well-draining soil. A native of Australia, it grows to about 15 feet high at maturity and 10 feet wide.