Pink hellebores

Winter perennials for February

Discover beautiful perennials that look good in February, giving welcome late winter colour.

With the right plants, the February garden can be full of structure and interest.

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Winter-flowering perennials like Iris unguicularis and hellebores provide colour, while evergreens like box retain much-needed structure after other plants have flopped and faded.

When choosing winter perennials for February appeal, it’s good to remember that many will have winter interest in the form of old but attractive stems and seedheads. Plants like this include phlomis and agastaches, plus annuals like teasels, all of which are great for bees and other pollinators, too.

Discover some of the best winter perennials for February flowers, structure and colour, below.

Dense, evergreen plants like box are ideal for adding structure to the garden, right through the year.

Iris unguicularis

Also known as Algerian iris, these vigorous plants produce a late-winter show of fragrant, purple flowers, making them ideal winter perennials for February. Planted in full sun, they’ll do well whatever your soil type is.

Mauve-purple Algerian iris
Mauve-purple Algerian iris

Hellebores

The great benefit of hellebores is that, whichever type you choose, whether it’s Corsican hellebores or cultivars like ‘Ashwood Garden Hybrids’, all will produce long-lasting flowers from winter to spring. Grow them in sun to partial shade, in moist, fertile soil.

Pink hellebores growing through bark chippings
Pink hellebores growing through bark chippings

Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’

While grass-like in appearance Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ is not a species of grass. Grown in full sun, it will develop a deeper shade of black, though it can also be grown in partial shade. Given its dwarf habit, plant it where the dramatic foliage can’t be missed.

Purple-black foliage of Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens'
Purple-black foliage of Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’

Box

Dense, evergreen plants like box are ideal for adding structure to the garden, right through the year. The plants can be clipped into hedges or topiarised into eye-catching and unusual shapes, to dot around the garden or among borders.

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Box balls and grasses planted alongside a path
Box balls and grasses planted alongside a path

Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’

Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ can valiantly flower year round if deadheaded regularly. Though short-lived, this perennial is easy to replace from cuttings.

Wallflower 'Bowles's Mauve'
Wallflower ‘Bowles’s Mauve’

Watch out hellebore blackspot

Watch out for hellebore blackspot – black spots on the leaves. Remove any affected leaves that you find.

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