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Winter Flowers in the South

hellebore image by Alison Bowden from

While many plants in the South go dormant during the summer, you can fill your garden with winter-blooming flowers. Many winter plants have evergreen foliage that never looks dull when viewed after a fresh coat of snow. Many winter plants also bare winter flowers that bloom in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes. Keep in mind that much of the South is within USDA zones 5b to 10b, so stick to plants that thrive within those zones.

Lenten Rose

Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) is a winter-blooming evergreen flower that grows 12 to 18 inches tall and has an erect, clumping form and coarse texture. The nodding, saucer-shaped, solitary flowers on Lenten rose grow in white, pink and lavender and retain their color throughout the winter in the South to provide a constant source of color to the landscape. The leather-like, shiny, dark green leaves on Lenten rose have a toothed edging that provides a cheerful feel to the landscape. Frost-tolerant, Lenten rose flowers bloom in below-freezing temperatures for a hardy winter flower. They grow best in part to full shade and well-drained, moist soil that is neutral to alkaline in nature. To promote new growth, cut back the spent flowers as soon as possible. Plant Lenten rose in USDA zones 3 to 8.

Winter’s Hope Camellia

Winter’s hope camellia (Camellia 'Winter's Hope') is a slow-growing evergreen shrub that produces striking flowers. It grows 8 feet tall and wide and has a spreading form. Winter’s hope camellia has white, 4-inch-wide, semi-double flowers with contrasting yellow centers that bloom from fall into winter. The alternate, leather-like, dark green leaves on winter’s hope have an oval shape. Winter’s hope camellia grows best in light shade and well-drained, moist soil. They are suitable to grow in USDA zones 6 to 9.

Winter Daphne

Winter Daphne (Daphne odora 'Marginata') is a winter-blooming shrub with a moderate growth rate and rounded form. Growing 3 to 6 feet tall and wide, winter Daphne bares rose to pink flowers that open to white. Blooming from winter until early spring in the South, winter Daphne provides a much-needed burst of color around the garden. The foliage on winter Daphne is edged with a thin strip of yellow to provide an attractive contrast to the green leaves. Winter Daphne grows best in full sun to part shade and nutrient-rich, slightly acidic to alkaline soil. Grow winter Daphne in USDA zones 7 to 9.

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