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30 Plants and Flowers That Bloom in Winter

Jill enjoys cooking, abstract painting, stewardship, & learning about gardening through the MD Native Plant Society.

Anemone blanda blooms from late winter into early spring.

Anemone blanda blooms from late winter into early spring.

13 Beautiful Winter-Blooming Bulbs

Plant winter-flowering bulbs in late summer or early fall. Bulbs like the hardy Cyclamen coum, Scilla siberica, and Anemone blanda will give your garden visual interest from the early days of winter into spring.

1. Persian Violet

The Persian Violet (Cyclamen coum) blooms in February and March, producing perky white, red, or pink flowers on long, slender stems.

Hardy cyclamen prefers a dry, shady spot in the garden. Grown in clumps, it looks particularly fetching at the base of a tree or along a tall hedge.

Because cyclamen grows from corms rather than true bulbs, it should be planted not far below the soil surface, about 2 inches deep.

Spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) bloom in both winter & spring.

Spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) bloom in both winter & spring.

2. Siberian Squill

A relative of the English bluebell, the Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica) produces brilliant blue, bell-like blooms. Squill will flower for weeks at a time in February and March and grows particularly well in rock gardens and raised beds. White varieties are also available.

Squill will propagate on its own and should be divided every 4 or 5 years.

3. Grecian Windflower

The Grecian Windflower (Anemone blanda) is a low-growing plant that produces cheery, daisy-like flowers in white, blue, and/or deep purple—just when the dreary winter landscape needs them most. It can begin blooming as early as January or as late as March.

Although quite hardy, anemone blanda doesn't mind a layer of mulch if the winter is particularly harsh.

Plant it in late summer or early fall. Anemone blanda performs best in moist, well-drained soil that contains plenty of organic matter.

10 More Winter-Blooming Bulbs

  • Daffodil (Narcissus bulbocodium) February to April
  • Dwarf Tulip (Tulipa humilis) February to April
  • Giant Snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) February to May
  • Hardy Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus) January to April
  • Golden-Netted Iris (Iris reticulata), February to May
  • Paper White Narcissus (Narcissus papyraceus) February to April
  • Squill (Scilla mischtschenkoana), February to March
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) February to May
  • Spring Snowflake (Leucoum vernum) January to March
  • Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) January to March
Helleborus orientalis

Helleborus orientalis

7 Lovely Winter-Blooming Herbaceous Perennials

Although herbaceous perennials ordinarily die down in winter, some are evergreen. Not only do the root systems of these plants remain alive from year to year, but their stems and leaves also live, even during the cold season.

Evergreen herbaceous perennials often have tough leaves with interesting textures and colors. Some, like the Chinese lantern, elephant's ears, and Lenten rose, produce winter flowers.

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1. Lenten Rose

The Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis) grows in compact clumps that produce long, hollow stems sturdy enough to survive the freezes and thaws of winter. These tough, thick stems in turn produce leathery leaves with dark green tops and undersides in a lighter shade of green.

Lenten rose flowers, as well as new leaves, emerge from the center of each clump. White, creamy yellow, or pale green—sometimes dappled in light pink, the flower heads are shaped like shallow cups.

After blooming, Helleborus orientalis may be cut back. To propagate it, sow Lenten rose seeds in summer or divide the clumps as you would any herbaceous perennial in the spring or fall.

2. Elephant's Ears

Like the Lenten rose, Bergenia crassifolia grows in clumps. These clumps produce leathery leaves that turn yellow and orange as temperatures drop.

In late winter or early spring, elephant's ear plants produce deep pink flowers. Bell-shaped, they droop gracefully on their long, reddish stems.

Elephant's ears grow well in both full sun and partial shade. It makes a good ground cover and doesn't mind poor soil. In fact, its leaf color becomes more dramatic when it's planted in a full-sun location that has poor soil.

To propagate Bergenia crassifolia, divide it after it finishes blooming in May.

3. Chinese Lantern

The Chinese lantern plant (Physalis alkekengi, var. franchetii) is a sprawling perennial with thin, green leaves. Its orange flowers, which dangle from light green stems, are shaped like Chinese lanterns and have a papery texture. Each contains a russet-colored, edible berry.

Established Chinese lantern plants grow from rhizomes, fleshy, fibrous roots, and they spread easily, performing well in all types of soil so long as it's somewhat moist.

In spring, after they've finished blooming, cut Chinese lantern plants to the ground. To divide them, dig up and separate the rhizomes as you would those of an iris, slicing off new "bulbs" with a sharp knife and discarding the old. Plant the young rhizomes close to the surface of the soil.

4 More Winter Herbaceous Perennials

  • Bishop's Hat (Epimedium x warleyense)
  • Lungwort (Pulminaria)
  • Ornamental Vegetables (Brassica oleracea)
  • Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima)
Ornamental cabbage, kale, cauliflower & other members of the Brassica oleracea family produce beautiful, tough leaves with wonderful texture & bold colors perfectly suited to the winter garden.

Ornamental cabbage, kale, cauliflower & other members of the Brassica oleracea family produce beautiful, tough leaves with wonderful texture & bold colors perfectly suited to the winter garden.

10 Hardy Winter-Blooming Shrubs and Trees

Many trees and shrubs are known for the beauty of their barks or their graceful shapes, both of which lend interest to the garden in winter.

Some, however, provide more than just structure and a bit of color: they produce flowers.

Wintersweet flowers in winter, producing lightly fragranced yellow blooms.

Wintersweet flowers in winter, producing lightly fragranced yellow blooms.

1. Wintersweet

A winter-flowering shrub, wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) produces waxy yellow flowers with purple centers from midwinter into spring.

Wintersweet's flowers are not only ornamental. They have a lovely fragrance that's both light and spicy.

Chimonanthus praecox prefers rich, well-drained soil and full sun. It can grow up 12-feet high and 10-feet wide. Like viburnum, it has an upright growth habit and is easy to propagate through layering.

2. Cornelian Cherry

The Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) can be grown as a large shrub or pruned into a small tree. It can reach heights of up to 15 feet and can grow to be about as wide.

In winter, its yellow flower clusters unfurl, releasing a sweet fragrance.

A carefree plant, Cornus mas grows well in most soils and requires little pruning if grown as a shrub. Plant it in a full-sun location for best results.

3. Thorny Olive (Also Known as Silverthorn and Spiny Oleaster)

Elaeagnus pungens is another hardy shrub that produces scented winter flowers. Unlike the Cornelian cherry tree and wintersweet, its blossoms are white.

There are many cultivars of Elaeagnus, and often they're grown more for their attractive leaves than for their winter flowers. E.p. 'Maculata,' for instance, has deep green leaves with bright gold centers.

7 More Winter-Blooming Trees and Shrubs

  • Heather (Erica + darleyensis)
  • Golden Times (Forsythia giraldiana)
  • Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)
  • Sweet Box or Christmas Box (Sarcococca sp.)
  • Culver's Root (Viburnum farreri)
  • Stinking Himalayan Viburnum (Viburnum foetens)
  • Laurustinus Viburnum (Viburnum tinus sp.)

Further Reading

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Jill Spencer


Jill Spencer (author) from United States on March 25, 2013:

Hi sgbrown! This year our anemone blanda was the first to bloom. Now they're peeping through snow--along with everything else! Hope you enjoy growing some of these plants. It's nice to see at least a few blooms even in the winter. Thanks for the votes, etc. --Jill

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on March 25, 2013:

Awesome hub! I love growing flowers and colorful plants. By planting some of your suggestions here, I can add color to my flower beds for a much longer period of time. I am pinning this for future reference and voting it up, useful and interesting. Great job! :)

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 30, 2012:

Hi Enelle. Although it may be too late for some bulbs, so long as the ground isn't frozen & a frost/freeze isn't impending, you can still plant hardy winter-blooming perennials. Of course, you may live in a very cold zone! Nice to hear from you. All the best, Jill

Enelle Lamb from Canada's 'California' on October 29, 2012:

Sure wish I had found this hub earlier...too late to plant now :( but I will bookmark it for planting next year ;)

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 29, 2012:

Hi Kristine! Having lived in apartments for years & years, I know how you feel. To finally have a yard to design & care for is wonderful. (: Enjoy yourself! And thanks for reading. --Jill

Kristine Manley from Atlanta, GA on October 29, 2012:

This is a wonderful Hub! Your photos are fabulous. Now that I own a home I am learning to beautify it from the outside, and your Hub has given me more inspiration to do it even more.


Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

@ ComfortB -- Appreciate the votes and the congrats. Getting HOTD is awesome! Thanks for your kind words, Jill

Hi Peggy W. Good to hear from you! There's a caladium that's called elephant ears that some people, but not I, unfortunately, grow here in MD successfully. To me the black one is absolutely stunning. The bergenia is hardier, although perhaps not as striking. I bet your cyclamen are gorgeous. They're among my favorites, and I'll never understand why more landscapers don't use them. Nowadays, they seem to be more popular as temp. houseplants. Thanks for stopping by! --Jill

@ tiffany delite -- I'm a flower lover, too. They really lift the spirits, don't they? Glad you stopped by. (: Take care, Jill

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on October 28, 2012:

Simply beautiful! Love the collections. Love the images. Great hub. Voted up and useful, and congrats on winning the HOTD award!

Tiffany Delite from Wichita, KS on October 28, 2012:

a very informative hub with some absolutely gorgeous pictures! i love flowers, especially fresh flowers, so much. i sometimes buy some for myself just so i can have a fresh vase of flowers on the table. thank you so much for this hub...blessings!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 28, 2012:

Congrats on your HOTD award! Timely subject and I liked learning about a few different plants of which I was unfamiliar. Elephant ears grow year round where we live and I am looking forward to more cyclamen blooms in our garden this year from ones planted last year. Up and useful votes + sharing. Thanks!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Hi adrienne2. Thanks for your kind words & encouragement. Appreciate it! Take care, Jill

Fierce Manson from Atlanta on October 28, 2012:

Hi Dirt Farmer, Your article on plants that bloom in winter is amazing. I never really stop to think about any plants that bloom in the winter. They are truly beautiful, the pictures are spectacular. Your article is very educational. Keep on hubbing my friend : )

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Hi Londonlady. You're father sounds like one charming man. (: Thanks for commenting. Take care, Jill

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Hi Londonlady. You're father sounds like one charming man. (: Thanks for commenting. Take care, Jill

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Hi bellartdesigns. It is amazing how many plants actually do bloom in winter--although usually the blooms aren't all that showy. Thanks for sharing the hub with your friends.

Deya Writes on October 28, 2012:

The Spring snowflakes are the prettiest smelling flowers! As a tradition, my dad always goes out and collects a bunch of wild ones and gives them to my mother right as they bloom. They are gorgeous flowers. Really nice hub, I appreciated the photographs.

bellartdesigns from Fredericksburg, Virginia on October 28, 2012:

Congrats! I live in Charleston, SC, and my friends LOVE the fact that ornamental cabbage grows here. I have sent your hub to a few who reside in Annapolis, MD, so they can see that there are many other choices. Nice hub!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Hi DzyMsLizzy! Do gophers eat narcissus bulbs? I didn't think anything at those! Will have to do some research. It would be a shame if you couldn't grow any bulbs at all! Thanks for commenting! It's always nice to hear from you. --Jill

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 28, 2012:

Beautiful HOTD The photos are stunning-the blue is a real eye catcher. I like the names of some of these flowers and winter plants as well: Elephant's ears, Lenten Rose, Spring Snowdrop, Chinese Lantern, and the Wintersweet. Very uplifting on this dark, rainy day. Great job, congratulations. Rated up/U/I/A/B sharing.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on October 28, 2012:

Congrats on HOTD! A very comprehensive article indeed!

I think I'd have to plant in plant pots or other containers, due to the fact that we have ROBO-gophers here, and the bulbs and corms would only become a tasty treat for them!

I don't know if they would go for the other plants or not. "Knock wood," we had no gopher problems in our vegetable garden....(say that in a whisper, please!)

With the way the weather has been so crazy the last year or two: hot/cold/hot again--the plants are confused. Our Hydrangea, which should now be going to sleep, and the leaves starting to turn and fall, is instead putting out new leaves, and trying to bloom--and here it is, late October!

I'm bookmarking this Hub, though. Voted up, useful, interesting, and awesome, for your gorgeous photos!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Hi StephanieBCrosby! Happy to be of service! (: Hope you find a few winter bloomers to grow in your landscape. Happy gardening, Jill

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

@ davenmidtown -- Nice to hear from you--and thanks! It's always awesome to have a HOTD. I've been sowing and resowing vegetables in the flowerbeds (radishes and turnips) mostly just for visual interest, although we have been harvesting, too. It's nice to see the spring green color of sprouts in the fall. Take it easy, Jill

Stephanie Bradberry from New Jersey on October 28, 2012:

I am sure glad someone else did all the research! I always wanted to find an easy way to keep color in the garden year round. But I never got around to finding enough plants that I like to make this possible. So thanks. Very useful, beautiful and interesting.

David Stillwell from Sacramento, California on October 28, 2012:

TDF: Well done, well written and a very strikingly beautiful hub. The photographs are amazing as always!!! I am glad you wrote this hub because it reminds people that there is more to be grown in a garden then just summer vegetables! Awesome! Congratulations on HOTD!!!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Thanks, Glimmer Twin Fan! It's a real honor to have a HOTD. (:

Claudia Mitchell on October 28, 2012:

Congrats on your HOTD Jill! Much deserved on another beautiful hub. I love the Hellebores so much. The are so gentle looking to me.

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Thanks, Steph! Appreciate it.

healthwealthmusic--Winter blooms really are a mood elevator--pretty signs of hope when it's cold outside. Take care! Jill

Ruth R. Martin from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York on October 28, 2012:

I have not tried any winter flowering plants... these are beautiful! I tend to be a bear and hibernate as much as possible during winter cause I don't like the cold. Seeing a colorful flower outside my window during winter might help!

Stephanie Marie Severson from Atlanta, GA on October 28, 2012:

Great info! Congrats on hub of the day!

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Hi mary615--Yep, you've got to have a winter in order to grow winter bloomers. They like & need that cold! Still, I'm sure you have lots of gorgeous tropicals to enjoy down there in SF. I'd love to be able to grow poinsettias in our flowerbeds. Have a good one! --Jill

@ Your Cousins. I love the kale, too, and have set out both red and green this year. Because our winters are fairly mild here, it will look good for 2-3 years-- if I remember to pinch it so that it doesn't bolt. Good luck & happy gardening! --Jill

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Hi Nettlemere. Yes, I enjoyed your hub, "Plants That Grow in Walls." Lovely articles with great pictures. If only we had a wall, or even a stone path, I'd try it. Maybe some day! Thanks for stopping by.

@ geetbhim-- Appreciate it! Thank you. (: --Jill

Jill Spencer (author) from United States on October 28, 2012:

Thanks so much for your good thoughts, Pavlo. Always nice to hear from you. (: Jill

CZCZCZ! When I first started planting flowers for winter, I placed them in spots we could see when we looked out our windows. Seeing a touch of color and life when everything else is so drear--a real mood lifter! Take care, Jill

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on October 28, 2012:

I planted Narcissus bulbs for the first time last year and I was so happy with the results. I would love to try the kale. Voted up and useful.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on October 28, 2012:

I live in S. Florida, and our weather is so mild, I can grow many flowering plants in the winter. Some of the beauties you write about won't grow here; it is too warm.

Great Hub with good info. I voted it up, etc.

Congrats of winning the HOTD!

sangeeta verma from Ludhiana India on October 28, 2012:

Hi Dirt farmer!