Zone 8 Winter Flowers
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Zone 8 runs across several southern states, including California, Texas, Louisiana and Florida. This gardening Zone typically experiences mild winters and long growing seasons. Zone 8 also sees high temperatures during the summer. While the southwest areas have dry summers, the southeast regions experience humid summer weather. The lowest average winter temperature in Zone 8 ranges from 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Various flowers thrive in Zone 8 during the winter months.
The camellia (Camellia reticulate), a broadleaf evergreen in the Theaceae plant family, does well in USDA Zones 8 to 10 when planted in partly shady positions with acidic, moist soils. Mature camellias reach up to 10 feet in height and 8 feet in width. Deep red flowers bloom from October through December. Potential problems include petal blight, black mold and anthracnose. Scale, spider mites and aphids sometimes feed on the foliage. Zone 8 gardeners often use camellias as shrub borders and background plants.
Hellbore (Helleborus orientalis), an herbaceous perennial in the Ranunculaceae family, is native to the Balkans and winter hardy in USDA Zones 5 to 9. This clump-forming plant reaches 12 to 18 inches in both height and spread. Red to purple flowers featuring bright yellow center stamens bloom in December and January. Hellbore prefers humus-laden, rich soils in partially to fully shady positions. The roots, leaves and stems contain toxins. Crown rot and leaf spot occasionally affect this plant. Gardeners often group hellbore plants in borders and woodland gardens.
The snow crocus (Crocus chrysanthus), also called a golden crocus, belongs to the iris family (Iridaceae) and thrives in USDA Zones 3 to 8. These winter flowers display bright yellow and purple blooms in February and March. Snow crocus plants reach 3 to 6 inches in both height and spread. This crocus variety needs well-drained soils in partly to fully shady locations. Snow crocus flowers open in the mornings and close up again at night. The flowers also stay closed on cloudy and rainy days. Zone 8 gardeners often mass plant snow crocus flowers in rock gardens and woodland gardens.
The Christmas rose (Helleborus niger), a perennial belonging to the Ranunculaceae plant family, comes from Europe and does well in USDA Zones 3 to 8. This clump-forming plant matures between 9 and 12 inches high and 12 to 18 inches wide. The Christmas rose needs well-drained, humus-rich soils in partly to fully shady positions. Large flowers bloom in February and March. The petals emerge white, but turn pale pink with age. Gardeners in Zone 8 should protect the plant from winter elements. The stems, roots and leaves contain a poisonous substance. The Christmas rose occasionally suffers from crown rot and leaf spot diseases. Gardeners often mass plant Christmas roses as ground covers, borders and walkway edgings.
Chinese fringe-flowers (Loropetalum chinense), evergreen plants in the witch hazel family (Hamamelidaceae), grow well in USDA Zones 7 to 10. Mature Chinese fringe-flowers range from 3 to 8 feet in height and 3 to 6 feet in width. Pink flowers add color to gardens in February and March. The Chinese fringe-flower prefers acidic, moist soils in partly shady to fully sunny locations. The foliage emerges a deep red-green, but ages to a bronzish-green color. Chinese fringe-flowers often suffer from chlorosis when planted in alkaline soils. Aphids and mites sometimes infest this plant. Zone 8 gardeners often use the Chinese fringe-flower in borders and woodland gardens.