There are several plants that can be used to make a winter garden to add color to that winter landscape. While some of the best winter-garden plants flower in winter, some bloom early enough in spring to add a little color, and others provide attractive winter foliage. Be sure that the perennials you choose grow well in your climate or zone.
Christmas rose (H. niger) blooms from December to April, with white or greenish-white flowers that turn purplish, and lustrous, dark-green foliage.
Forsythia shrubs have rounded leaves with pointed tips. Yellow flowers bloom from February to April.
Heathers are evergreen shrubs that don't bloom in winter, but are welcomed additions for their colorful foliage--which often changes color during the winter months.
Viburnum shrubs have evergreen varieties are primarily used for their foliage. Some have flowers and clustered berries that are attractive to birds.
Evergreen Clematis vines have glossy, dark-green leaflets that droop downward, and fragrant, glistening white flowers that bloom from March to April.
Mahonia are evergreen shrubs that look good year-round. Spiny-toothed leaflets and small, spikey, yellow flower clusters, are followed by red or blue-black berries that are very attractive to birds.
Sarcococca are evergreen shrubs that maintain a polished appearance. They bloom in early spring with small, fragrant, white flowers, followed by red or black fruit.
Firethorn are evergreen shrubs with glossy green oval or rounded leaves. All varieties bear flowers and fruit, and clustered flowers that are fragrant. Fruits vary in size, color, duration and season.
Early Spring Bloomers
Narcissus (daffodil) bulbs flower in early spring, and will brighten up any area where they are planted with splashes of yellow and orange.
Tulip bulbs are best adapted to cold winter climates, but will adapt to milder ones. A large variety of bright colors and bloom styles will add interest to any winter landscape.
Hyacinth bulbs have blue or blue-purple flower spikes that add both color and fragrance to your winter garden.
Reticulata Iris bulbs add scented, violet blooms from March to April (January to early February in mild climates).
Glory-of-the-snow has white and blue flowers that will be among the first to bloom in spring. It is evergreen in mild regions.
Snowdrops bring green-tinted white flowers from January to February in mild areas (March to April in colder regions).
Winter Flower Producers
Crocus corms add garden blooms in mid-winter. Some varieties don't bloom until very early spring. Shades of yellow, orange and lavender spruce up winter terrain.
Winter Iris bulbs bloom from November to March. Shades of lavender, blue, pink and white add color.
Winter jasmine is a deciduous shrub with glossy green leaves and yellow flowers that bloom from January to March, before the leaves unfold.
Witch hazel shrubs have fragrant flowers that range in color from yellow to red. It blooms from December to March.
Lily-of-the-valley shrubs have new growth that is bronzy-pink to red, and matures to a glossy dark green. Flower buds form drooping clusters in fall even before opening into white, pink or light-red flowers from February to May.