South Texas Winter Flowers
The relatively moist, mild winter months of South Texas mean that a range of winter flowers will grow well throughout the region. The southernmost region of Texas falls within USDA plant hardiness zones 9 and 10, although some portions of the region are in zone 8.
Whether you're looking for annual bedding plants for a flower bed or a blooming shrub or vine for your winter garden, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Winter-Blooming Bedding Flowers
Annual flowers are those that you must replace each year, because they will not survive the winter months.
Many tender perennials are grown as annuals, because they will not survive the winter, but in warm South Texas, most will survive the coldest months. However, they may still need to be replaced if blooming diminishes after the first year.
Cool-weather bloomers such as pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 to 9 and will perform well as short-lived perennials in South Texas. The cheery, colorful flowers bloom continuously from autumn until early spring in warmer climates, so pansies should be near the top of the list for winter color in South Texas.
The velvety, clove-scented flowers of stock (Matthiola incana) are right at home in a winter garden. This species is typically grown as an annual but is actually a biennial or perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones 7a to 10b. Stock grows best in cool weather and will suffer damage when temperatures rise above 80°F, so they will need to be treated as an annual and replaced in autumn when grown in South Texas.
Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima) is an annual bedding plant with dainty, sweet-scented flower clusters that can last all winter long in warm climates such as South Texas. It is sometimes treated as an annual but will grow perennially in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. Sweet alyssum works well as a bedding plant, but it also thrives in containers and window boxes.
A handful of winter-blooming shrubs will brighten the winter landscape in South Texas. They will add height and structure to the landscape while also adding beauty and fragrance with their flowers.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) blooms throughout the winter months in USDA hardiness zones 6a to 10b. The showy yellow flowers are not fragrant despite the plant's common name, but they have a similar starry shape as jasmine flowers. Winter jasmine typically reaches a mature height of 4 feet but can reach 10 to 15 feet when grown as a woody vine.
The showy flower buds of Japanese andromeda (Pieris japonica) appear in late fall and last through the winter before blooming in very early spring. These slow-growing evergreen shrubs grow best in USDA zones 4b to 8b, where they are widely grown for their attractive foliage and clusters of showy, urn-shaped flowers.
Japanese andromeda shrubs are very disease prone, and every part of the plant is highly poisonous: Don't grow this plant in yards where children or pets play.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) blooms abundantly during the winter months, producing masses of bright yellow flowers. It grows in USDA hardiness zones 5a to 8b, so it's best suited to the colder end of the climate range of South Texas. Witch hazel not only adds color to cold-season gardens, the flowers emit a spicy-sweet scent when warmed by the winter sun, so they are a delight to the nose as well as the eye.
Winter-Blooming Perennial Flowers
A variety of flowering winter perennials are suited to growing in South Texas. Some of these showy, South Texas plants are bulb flowers, while others remain above-ground year round.
Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum; zones 4 to 9) is another good choice for winter gardens in South Texas. It grows and blooms best when temperatures stay between 60 and 65°F during the day and 50°F at night, so it is a true cold weather plant for warmer climates. Both the colorful, reflexed blooms and heart-shape leaves offer tremendous visual appeal, making cyclamen a versatile plant for garden beds and outdoor containers.
The delicate, nodding white flowers of the snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) emerge in late winter right at the cusp of spring. They grow best in USDA zones 3a to 9b, so they will perform well in all but the warmest parts of South Texas. Snowdrops grow well in full sun or in partial shade and can be grown in beds with well-draining soil, rock gardens and in pots.
Hellebore (Helleborus spp.) is one of the best winter flowers for gardens with moist soil and dappled shade. Sometimes called "Lenten roses" or "Christmas roses," these low-maintenance flowering plants grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 5a to 8b, where they will naturalize to create a mat of uniform growth similar in appearance to groundcover.
Hellebore plants are extremely poisonous to people and pets.
- Texas A&M Bexar County Extension: Cool Weather Color for Your Landscape
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Sweet Alyssum
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Matthiola Incana
- Texas A&M Extension: Gardening Regions for Texas
- Wisconsin Horticulture: Cylcamen
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Jasminum Nudiflorum
- North Carolina State University Extension: Pieris Japonica
- North Carolina State University Extension: Galanthus Nivalis
- North Carolina State University Extension: Hamamelis Mollis
Sasha Degnan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Anthropology. Her written work has appeared in both online and print publications. She is a certified Master Gardener and dedicated plant enthusiast with decades of experience growing and propagating native and exotic plant varieties.