As snow falls and the outdoor temperatures drop, winter-blooming flowers emerge to light up the landscape with color and texture. Oftentimes, many winter flowers are evergreen, meaning they retain their foliage throughout the season to provide a much-needed shot of warmth to hanging baskets and containers. Grown in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes, the best winter plants have a clumping, spreading habit to help fill out a hanging container.
Hellebore (Helleborus --- hybridus cvs.) is an evergreen perennial flower that blooms from late fall through the winter for a burst of color to the landscape. They have a clumping growth habit and moderate growth pace, ideal tucked into a hanging basket or container. The nodding-like flowers on hellebore grow in a wide range of colors, including pink, purple, white, yellow and green. The leather-like, evergreen, bright green foliage on hellebore retain their color throughout the winter and help to create the clumping habit. Frost-tolerant, hellebore flowers are able to bloom in below freezing temperatures and amongst snow. They grow best in full to part shade and neutral to alkaline soil that is nutrient-rich and well-drained. Hellebore is tolerant of humidity and heat. They are suitable to grow in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 4 to 9.
Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis 'Viridi-apice' ) is a perennial bulb that begins blooming in late winter. It grows just under 1 foot tall and has a maximum spread of 1/2 foot. Snowdrops have the ability to naturalize or spread and form large colonies, an ideal quality for a hanging container. The common name "snowdrop" refers to the resemblance of the flowers to a drop of snow. The 1-inch-long, single, bell-shaped, waxy, white flower on snowdrops contains six tepals, three outer and three inner, with green marks on both inner and outer tepals. The grass-like, 1/4-inch-wide, basal, 2- to 3-inch-long leaves of snowdrops grow to 4 inches long after the snowdrops flower. Snowdrops grow best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, humus-rich soils. Plant in USDA zones 3 to 7.
Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis, E. cilicica) is a small, winter-blooming flower that grows in ground-hugging clumps. It grows 6 to 8 inches tall and wide, making for an ideal flower to grow within a hanging container or tucked into the crevices of rock walls. Nestled together in a container with snowdrops, the contrasting colors of yellow and white make for a striking winter display. The small, yellow, buttercup-like blooms of winter aconite open during the day to close at night. They grow best in full sun to part shade and moist, humus-rich soil. Plant winter aconite in USDA zones 3 to 7.