As the leaves begin to turn and the first frost falls, very few people think of getting out the gardening hoe and starting a colorful flower bed. But despite the winter weather, a number of colorful, festive blooming plants can turn the bleak winter landscape into a delight for the eyes.
Throughout the southern regions of the United States, winter temperatures rarely drop below 15 degrees, and a variety of plants will do well in this mild winter season.
The pansy, a descendant of the viola, is an all-weather plant that is well known for its ability to tolerate cool temperatures. According to Aggie Horticulture, part of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, pansies often grow in gardens during the winter in the South or Southwest and during the summer in the North. These delicate-looking flowers are easy to grow, they will tolerate most soil conditions, and they provide color, texture and life in the otherwise barren winter flower beds. Pansies come in an array of colors including red, pink, purple, blue, black and orange.
The Lenten Rose is a winter blooming perennial that is often used to bring color and visual interest to the winter landscape. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden's Kemper Center for Home Gardening the Lenten Rose, which blooms in January and Febrauary, is a "true harbinger of spring." The Lenten Rose comes in various shades of white, pink, and rose-purple. In addition the Lenten Rose is easy to grow and generally not associated with any insects or disease problems.
According to the University of Florida Extension Service, camellias have been a part of the southern landscape for 200 years. In addition, UFES states that camellias can be used as foundation plants such as screens, accent plants, background groupings and hedges. Camellias bloom in fall and winter. They come in white, red and pink. Camellias prefer fertile soils that are rich in organic materials, and they will not grow in extremely wet locations.
Erica Carnea, a heather variety, has a long winter blooming period, from March to early April. According to the University of Connecticut, this heather plant has large showy blooms as well as small ornamental fruit. In addition, heather comes in either red or pink. These plants need little winter care and are the hardiest of the heather cultivars.