Plants For Winter Colour
Before I say a fond farewell to Winter and embrace the coming spring with open arms, I want to introduce some ideas and thoughts for Plants for Winter Colour.
Some of the plants and shrubs that I suggest for your winter garden are also plants for winter fragrance. They defy winter and their disdain for the winter season is reason for celebration. They deserve a place in any garden as their delicate blooms and attractive evergreen foliage help to give structure and interest. They also provide further food by way of berries to birds and offer lots of shelter and food to many other types of wildlife.
Colour and Fragrance are so important in any garden at any time of the year and there are several you can introduce into your garden for winter interest. Gardens don’t have to be drab, uninteresting spaces during the winter months.Hardy Evergreen Flowering Shrubs
Fragrant plants placed near doors, walkways and patios will come into their own in the winter months when perhaps you aren’t venturing into the far corners of your garden. My absolute favourite shrub at this time of year is the evergreen Sarcoccoca (sweet box), I have one planted by my front door and the heady, rich scent makes me smile every time I go outdoors.
Plants for Winter Colour
Shrubs add texture and architectural interest to any outdoor space, plants that add colour and fragrance during the winter are of significant value. To walk in your garden and be assailed by wonderful fragrance and flowers is one of the many joys of gardening. Scents and colours that nurture your soul and senses are easy to introduce into your winter garden.Gardening for Well-being, Why Gardening is Good for your Health.
Evergreens of differing shades, shapes and sizes are essential and can by grown in any size of garden. Several varieties can even be grown in containers.
Wildlife benefit from plants which produce berries. There are lots of shrubs that produce bright red, orange, yellow berries in winter, attracting birds that feed off them and in a hard winter, the garden birds will fully appreciate a berry feast. These plants then go on to add further interest throughout the year with colour and nectar rich flowers.
Here are my favourite top 5 plants for winter colour that I could not do without in my garden.
Sarcoccoca (Sweet Box)
A slow growing evergreen shrub approximately 1-2 meters tall. The leaves are a deep, glossy green born on arching stems
It’s tiny, creamy/white flowers really pack a fragrant punch and are followed by black berries.
An evergreen, compact shrub with dark glossy leaves which have yellow margins adding to winter colour and interest. It bears clusters of pale pink highly scented flowers from early January. Their scent is heavenly. Catching it on a cool breeze has to be one of the most perfect things.
Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’
Is a hardy winter flowering deciduous shrub which produces tight clusters of richly perfumed deep pink flowers on bare stems, they eventually fade to white in spring. It will flower from December through to March in a mild winter making it, for me, an absolute must have plant for winter colour and scent.
Hamamelis (Witch Hazel)
Another winter flowering shrub bearing delicate, spidery orange, red or yellow flowers. Its scent is rich and spicy.
Cornus (Dog Rose)
There are numerous varieties of Cornus grown for varying reasons. Flowering Cornus are grown for their colourful bracts in late spring through to summer.
Cornus Alba and Cornus sanguinea however are prized in the winter garden for their distinctive colourful stems, deep reds and orange. Cornus (cornelian cherry) is winter flowering then bears summer fruits. An all-round good value for money choice.
Ways To Enjoy Your Garden In Winter
Climbing Plants for Winter Colour
There is also a huge variety of climbing plants for you to consider and choose from. These have the bonus of adding further interest by introducing height to your planting scheme. Most gardens have something we wish to hide and plants are great for disguising outbuildings, sheds, walls and fences.
Here are my top 5 Winter Climbers.
Freckles is a fantastic evergreen, winter flowering clematis, reliable, tough and a joy to grow.
It will grow like crazy so is ideal for covering unsightly walls, fences and buildings etc, producing masses of creamy white flowers with maroon brown speckles from late autumn through to early spring. The seed heads are equally attractive.
Clematis (Jingle Bells)
This clematis again is an evergreen. Plant where it will get some winter sunshine and it will reward you with dainty, nodding creamy white flowers that brighten up any winter garden. As the name suggests it flowers from December through to spring. The seed heads are silky soft and the foliage looks great all year round.How to Grow a Clematis
For a massive splash of bright yellow, star like flowers you cannot go wrong with a winter jasmine. It does require some sort of support to grow on, a trellis, fence, walls etc are ideal. Its continuous show of flowers delights the senses from December right through to April or early May.
I’ve included this Jasmine for its leaf colour in winter.
An evergreen self twining climber, its tiny star like flowers are fragrant but it is the foliage that add interest in winter as its leaves will turn from dark green through to bright and deep reds. Making it an ideal plant for winter interest.
Lonicera fragantissima (winter honeysuckle)
Honeysuckles are the quintessential climber for fragrance and look well in any type of garden.
They are a bushy deciduous shrub producing fragrant cream flowers through winter and spring. Occasionally the flowers are followed by red berries.Hardy Climbing Plants
Plants for the Borders and Containers
There are countless plants that can be used in borders, pots and containers to add immediate colour and scent. Some of my favourites include Hellebores. They start to come into bud round about December and will continue to flower through to spring. In fact last year I had them right through summer too, which was very unusual.
Heauchera is another firm favourite. These low growing evergreen plants come in all colours from variegated green, bronze, purple, red, orange, copper foliage and will send up delicate flowers on long wavy stems in spring and summer.
Winter pansies, cyclamen, heather, all are good for creating colourful borders and/or containers.Ideas for Spring Containers
Grow Some Winter Colour and Fragrance In Your Garden
Here are some further articles to help you choose plants for winter colour. Shrubs, trees and hedges form the backbone of our gardens, they come into their own over the winter months, providing, shape and texture. 15 trees and shrubs for winter colour will give you some ideas for your planting schemes.
Take a look too at 20 colourful plants for winter interest in your garden for inspiration for borders and beds from evergreens and ornamental grasses to perennial plants and bulbs.
I hope that I have given you a few ideas of what you can grow to add colour, interest and fragrance to the winter garden.
There is nothing better that getting out into the garden on a sunny, bright winter day and if there are plants in it worthy of our attention, then they will certainly encourage us to do so. Your garden will be a fuller and more inspirational space to spend time in at any time of year but to enjoy it in winter too is a bonus. There is no excuse!
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As recommended by Roché Awnings
Wow! thank you for these suggestions, I always feel sad when summer ends and flowers start to die, but with your suggestions, I can have a beautiful garden even in the winter, do you have recommendations for house plants? I have been trying to grow kalanchoe and they don’t want to flower despite me trying everything.
Thank you for your comments. I hope you do add some of my suggestions to your garden for next winter, I am sure you will be delighted with them.
Kalanchoe prefer a bright sunny position with warmth. In order for it to flower, try this…6 weeks in simulated winter conditions. For 6 weeks put your plant in complete dark for 14 hours a day, a cupboard for example is perfect, then in bright light in a warm area for 10 hours a day. Water very sparingly, only enough to keep the soil barely damp. After 6 weeks you should see flower buds start to show and you can bring it out into normal conditions. A sunny bright warm room, away from draughts. Water sparingly during winter. Good Luck!
Interesting site and clearly there are plenty of options for plant/flower growth in Winter.
Sometime we associate Winter as dull with doom and gloom but your site has shown that does not have to be the case!
Thank you Craig,
Yes there are lots of options.
This is a wonderful article and my gardens certainly are drab in the winter. So many of these sound awesome–do they work well in places with lots of snow and cold? I imagine anything that isn’t evergreen would have to be in a pot in a sheltered area. I’m going to take some of these suggestions and make sure my gardens are winter ready next year.
The Sarcococca, winter jasmine, Viburnum are all winter hardy to -15 degrees.
The others are frost hardy and would need a sheltered site if you have lots of snow.
Oh thank you so much, I will try what you have advice, I love the little flowers(kalanchoe) hope they will love me too after I do what you have suggested.
My outdoor space always look bland during the winter months. What zone do you grow these plants in, I live in the Midwest of the USA, it gets quite cold here during the winter.
I would like to add something that would bloom during the winter as you have described here. I just don’t know if they would last at -15 degrees when it gets really cold. Do you have anything you can recommend for these temps.
The Sarcococaa, winter jasmine and viburnum are all winter hardy to -15 degrees,
All the others are frost hardy.
Hellebores and heathers are winter hardy.
The clematis would need protection at such low temperatures.
Lots of planting ideas here, I am going to plant some of these lovely scented shrubs.
I hope you find some inspiration here for your garden
I always wondered what I could do with my garden in the winter… now I know where to start from!!
Thank you very much for your suggestions 🙂
Thank you Alessandro.
I hope you do plant something for winter colour, you won’t regret it when everything else in your garden is finished.
This is a beautiful post, so uplifting to read with many lovely suggestions for my winter garden ,. I will be planning well ahead to incorporate some of them in to my garden design scheme.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy planning your winter garden.