Figuring out how to brighten up the winter landscape is simply a matter of knowing what flowers bloom in December. The first step to figuring out what flowers bloom in December outdoors in your area is to know what U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone you are in. By calling your local extension agent or consulting the US National Arboretum web version of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, you can determine this.
Cyclamen hederifolium and Cyclamen coum are the two varieties of hardy cyclamen that are commonly grown.
Cyclamen hederifolium will grow in full sun or part shade. The pendulous blooms of pink and white begin in September and continue through most of the winter. Also known as ivy-leaf cyclamen, this particular variety is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Cyclamen coum begin flowering in November and keep going strong into February or March. This variety prefers to be grown in full shade, but can tolerate filtered sunlight. This particular variety is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. It may survive in USDA plant hardiness zone 4 if it is planted in a protected area.
For a riot of color from late fall to early spring, plant hardy cyclamen under deciduous trees intermixed with early-blooming miniature daffodils, crocus and snowdrops.
Helleborus niger, commonly known as the Christmas rose, is the one species of hellebore that requires a little bit of lime in the soil to make it really happy. The common name was given to it because the large white flowers begin blooming around the 25th of December.
It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
Of course, other varieties of hellebore may be in bloom in December too. One such variety, Helleborus foetidus typically blooms in late winter. The green flowers may not be noticeable unless you watch for them.
When deciding what flowers bloom in December, read the bloom times of each hellebore variety carefully. Varieties that begin blooming in the middle of November or later may still be in bloom in December. Another option is to choose hellebore that typically bloom in January and hope the weather conditions encourage them to bloom early so you get blooms in December.
Gardeners in mild winter climates have long known growing pansies for winter color was something they could do. In recent years, hardier varieties of winter pansies have been developed allowing gardeners in cooler climates to grow pansies all winter long as well.
Fall planted pansies often bloom all winter, even under snow. They may appear to die back in late winter, but generally re-emerge in early spring ready to give another round of blooms.
Commonly known as icicle pansies or winter pansies, the botanical name to look for is Viola x Wittrockiana.
Gardeners in cooler climates should mulch the root zone of their winter pansies to help protect them from extreme cold during the winter. A layer of mulch can also prevent heaving. Heaving is when the plant is pushed above the ground due to the natural freeze, thaw, freeze winter cycle. When plant roots are exposed to the weather elements, the plants are more likely to die.