Flowers that bloom in January will restore missing color and form to your mid-winter garden. Many January-flowering plants are surprisingly hardy. Some of them, according to the University of Oregon Extension, bring the added bonus of fragrance. These flowers may be on winter-blooming shrubs, or perennial plants. In either event, they will perform reliably to brighten your winter garden for years.
Witch Hazel 'Orange Beauty'
Witch hazel ‘Orange Beauty’ (hamamelis x intermedia ‘Orange Beauty’) is a hybrid of Japanese and Chinese witch hazels. Hardy to minus 20 degrees F, this deciduous shrub stands from 8 to 12 feet high and wide. It has erect, spreading branches with reddish stems They bear fragrant clusters of yellow or yellow-orange blooms between late January and March. The 1-inch flowers, with four narrow, wrinkled petals, emerge before the shrub's oval green leaves. Witch hazel has red, orange or yellow autumn foliage.
Use 'Orange Beauty' as a tall hedge or in a shrub border, where its autumn color and winter flowers are noticeable, suggests the Missouri Botanical Garden. For best flowering, give it full sun to partial shade. It performs best in fertile, moist, acidic (pH below 6.8) soil. Prune as necessary after the shrubs finish flowering.
An evergreen shrub, Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus) grows between 6 and 12 feet tall with a slightly smaller spread. Generally hardy to 0 degrees F, it sometimes experiences leaf damage below 10 degrees F, according to the Clemson University Extension. This largely pest-resistant plant has clusters of white flowers--opening from pink buds--from January to April. Laurustinus ‘Spring Bouquet’ is a compact, red-stemmed cultivar standing from 5 to 6 feet high. Tolerating sun or shade, this shrub accepts any well-drained soil.
Native to China, fragrant, or winter, honeysuckle (Lonerica fragrantissima) is a deciduous spreading, stiff-branched shrub hardy to minus 30 degrees F. Reaching between 6 and 10 feet tall with a similar spread, it blooms any time between January and April. Fragrant honeysuckle’s lemon-scented, white tubular flowers appear along its branches before the dark-green oval leaves emerge. Small red berries follow the flowers in summer. Plants are mildly vulnerable to blight, leaf spot and powdery mildew. They may also attract several pests including aphids, whiteflies and webworms.
Use this easy-to-grow honeysuckle, recommends the Missouri Botanical Garden, as a background plant or hedge. Give it full sun to partial shade and dry to averagely moist, well-drained soil. It performs best in moist loam. Prune to shape after flowering.