Best winter-flowering plants

Best winter-flowering plants

Your garden needn't look dreary in winter. We've picked 10 of the best winter-flowering plants to grow.

Winter-flowering plants are perfect for adding a splash of colour to the garden in the coldest, darkest months. There’s plenty of winter flowering plants to grow, from climbers such as winter clematis to shrubs like mahonia and bedding plants like pansies – there’s something to flower for every spot in every garden. Many winter-flowering plants are suitable for growing in pots.

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Some winter-flowering plants also benefit pollinators, such as winter bumblebees. Nearly all make good cut flowers.

More on winter flowers:

Browse our pick of the best winter-flowering plants, below.


1

Winter honeysuckle

Best winter-flowering plants - winter honeysuckle
Best winter-flowering plants – winter honeysuckle

Winter honeysuckle, Lonicera fragrantissima, bears fragrant, cream-white flowers on almost leafless branches, which are a magnet for winter-active bumblebees. These are sometimes followed by dull-red berries.

Flowers: December to February
H x S: 2m x 3m


2

Christmas rose

Best winter-flowering plants - Christmas rose
Best winter-flowering plants – Christmas rose

Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, is the first of the hellebores to flower, usually in January but occasionally as early as Christmas. It bears large, round, white flat-faced flowers above low-growing mounds of leathery, deep green foliage. It’s perfect for growing at the front of a partially shaded border.

Flowers: January to March
H x S: 45cm x 45cm


3

Pansies

Best winter-flowering plants: pansies
Best winter-flowering plants: pansies

Pansies, Viola x wittrockiana, are low-growing, bushy perennials that are usually grown as annual bedding plants. They have large, striking flowers, larger than those of violas, and heart-shaped leaves. The colourful, often bicoloured flowers have darker, face-like markings in the centre. Most cultivars flower in spring and summer but some have been bred to bloom in winter, offering a cheerful display of colour when little else is in flower.

Flowers: November to March
H x S: 20cm x 30cm


4

Winter aconites

Best winter-flowering plants - winter aconites
Best winter-flowering plants – winter aconites

Winter aconites bear golden yellow buttercup-like flowers, surrounded by divided leafy bracts, from mid- to late-winter. Clumps quickly spread and makes a dramatic yellow carpet just as the first snowdrops begin to bloom. It’s perfect for planting beneath trees or naturalising in grass.

Flowers: February to March
H x S: 10cm x 13cm


5

Daphne

Best winter-flowering plants - Daphne x transatlantica
Best winter-flowering plants – Daphne x transatlantica

Daphnes are colourful shrubs, usually blooming in late winter and early spring. They’re fantastic for small gardens, with various types perfect for different situations, such as in window boxes, large containers, mixed borders, areas of dry shade and gravel gardens. There are both evergreen and deciduous varieties. Most bear clusters of small flowers in shades of red or pink and sometimes white or green.

Flowers: February to March
H x S: 1m x 50cm


6

Snowdrop

Best winter-flowering plants - snowdrops
Best winter-flowering plants – snowdrops

Snowdrops are the first bulbs of the year to flower, heralding the end of winter. There’s a variety of different types to grow, ranging from single- to doubled-flowered types.

Flowers: January to March
H x S: 15cm x 10cm


7

Mahonia

Best winter-flowering plants - Mahonia 'Winter Sun'
Best winter-flowering plants – Mahonia ‘Winter Sun’

Popular with winter-active bumblebees, mahonias bear slender spikes of bright yellow flowers above evergreen rosettes of glossy dark green leaves. Grow in moist but well-drained soil in partial shade.

Flowers: November to March

H x S: 5m x 4m


8

Winter clematis

clematis-cirrhosa-5

Winter clematis, Clematis cirrhosa, is a perennial climber with glossy, evergreen foliage. Flowers are usually a creamy colour, depending on the cultivar, and have a delicate citrus fragrance. As a group one clematis, they don’t need pruning, though this can be done lightly, straight after flowering, to restrict their size.

Flowers: December to January
H x S: 2.5m x 1.75m


9

Winter heather

flowering-heather-9

Winter-flowering heathers are particularly useful for brining colour to winter containers. Planted in the ground, heathers will gradually spread, inhibiting weeds as they go. Popular with bees.

Flowers: February to March
H x S: 1.5m x 80cm


10

Cyclamen

Best winter-flowering plants - cyclamen
Best winter-flowering plants – cyclamen

Hardy cyclamen, Cyclamen coum, is a pretty hardy perennial, bearing delicate silver-lined dark green leaves and dainty blooms in shades of white, pink and red, from late winter to early spring. It’s perfect for growing at the base of small shrubs and trees, and naturalising in grass.

Flowers: January to April
H x S: 8cm x 10cm


More winter-flowering plants:

Best winter-flowering plants - quince
Best winter-flowering plants – quince
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  • Quince
  • Viburnum × bodnantense
  • Winter cherry
  • Winter jasmine
  • Early flowering daffodils
  • Sweet box
  • Witch hazel