The winter months are typically considered a time of barren landscape devoid of any colorful vegetation. While most plants tend to bloom during the warmer months of spring and fall, there are many winter plants that produce colorful flowers throughout the colder weather. Winter flowers add life and fragrance to otherwise bare surroundings.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is a fast growing evergreen shrub that thrives with minimal care. Bright yellow flowers begin to bloom in January, and the plant continues to produce flowers through early spring. This perennial plant may also bloom periodically throughout the year. Out of the more than 200 varieties of jasmine, winter jasmine is unusual because the flowers are unscented, according to the Floridata website. Winter jasmine is hardy in USDA planting zones 6 to 9.
Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is one of the earliest blooming honeysuckle varieties. Beginning in mid-winter, the perennial winter honeysuckle produces small, extremely fragrant white flowers with a distinct lemon scent. Winter honeysuckle produces an abundance of flowers when planted in full sun, according to the Floridata website. Hardy in zones 5 to 9, winter honeysuckle will continue to bloom into the spring, when the flowers begin to turn yellow.
February daphne (Daphne mezereum) is a perennial plant that begins to bloom in February, producing fragrant purplish-pink clusters. Flowering often continues into the spring. Once the flowers die, green leaves grow, and in the summer, red berries appear, according to the University of Utah website. The very toxic February daphne causes blistering of the skin upon direct contact, and ingestion causes severe stomach pain and vomiting. February daphne is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.
Japanese Witch Hazel
There are many varieties of witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), with some cultivars producing flowers in the winter, as opposed to the fall. Japanese Witch hazel (Hamamelis japonica) is a perennial that begins to bloom in January, producing bright yellow flowers with four narrow crinkled petals, according to the Denver Botanic Gardens website. Flowering continues into March, and in the fall, pretty red and yellow foliage is displayed. Japanese witch hazel is hardy in zones 3 to 9.
Despite its name and resemblance to wild roses, perennial Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) is actually a member of the buttercup family. The Christmas rose typically blooms with beautiful white flowers throughout January and February; however, in some areas, blooming begins as early as November and continues through June, according to Hellebores.org. The white flowers tend to turn pink as they age. All parts of the Christmas rose plant are poisonous if ingested and can cause severe skin irritation. Christmas rose is hardy in zones 4 to 8.
- Photo Credit winter image by Marek Kosmal from Fotolia.com
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