The weather is getting cold, but it does not mean that it is a season-ender for your garden. Various flowers can survive winter!
Fall signals that it is time to prepare your garden for the chilly temperatures of winter. With careful planning, some flowers can enhance your garden’s beauty during the winter months when you crave some color and natural beauty.
In winter, ice crystals form in the plant cells causing plants to die. Plants often try to protect themselves from the cold. They use concentrating solutes such as sucralose to suppress the freezing point in their cells.
Concentrating solutes are, however, only effective in temperatures of up to 200F. After that temperature, water in cells can freeze and become crystals. The cell wall membrane can be punctured by the crystals and destroy the plant.
The best solution to prevent this from happening in your garden is to plant flowers that can survive winter.
Flowers That Can Survive Winter
Create a winter garden filled with scents and colors. Never allow your garden to go dormant and bare during the cold winter months. You do not have to wait for spring to enjoy gorgeous flowers again.
Flowers that can survive winter (perennial flowers, annual flowers, shrubs, and flowering plants) bloom in a wide range of colors during the cold weather in winter.
Before taking hold of your gardening gloves and tools and planting these winter blooms, ensure they are suited to your area. Check the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zone of your location.
These flowers will brighten up your garden throughout the winter months.
The calendula has golden or bright yellow coin-like flowers. The calendula does not get affected by the cool temperature. It thrives better in chilly weather and will continue to bloom until stopped by the hot summer heat. This flowering plant can grow up to 8-inches to 24-inches tall.
Hardiness Zones: Zones 9 to 11 can be planted in Zones 2 to 11 as an annual.
Snowdrops typically start blooming in January. Snowdrops have pearl-colored round petals, fragile bowed heads, and a green-tipped center. These blooms are a perfect solution for cabin fever.
It is best to plant snowdrops in well-drained soil with peat moss or compost in the late fall. This winter flower thrives in partial shade to full shade. This plant is a low-grower developing foliage of 2 -inch to 3-inch mounds. It has large blooms that can be a few inches higher.
Hardiness Zones: Zones 3 to 7
3. Winter-blooming Camellia
The winter-blooming camellia often referred to as “queen of winter flowers,” is Alabama’s state flower. This shrub comes with blooms in burgundy, pink, and shades of red distinctly standing up from the white snow.
Camellia cultivars come in numerous varieties, including “Pink Icicle,” “Australis,” and “Bob Hope.” All these offer brightly-colored blooms in winter.
Winter-blooming camellia prefers partial-shade to full-shade. They should be planted in spots that are not susceptible to strong winds and the scorching sun. Once established, the winter-blooming camellia does not require too much maintenance.
Hardness Zone: Zones 6–10
4. English Primrose
The English primrose, Chinese primrose, and fairy primrose are excellent choices for your winter garden. The English primrose has circular flowers that develop in clusters or alone. This winter flower grows to be 9 inches wide and from 8 to 12 inches tall.
Primroses prefer cooler climates with full sun and regular water.
Hardness Zone: Zones 4 to 8
5. Lily of the Valley
The Lily of the Valley has a delicate appearance, yet it can be a tough plant. Its bell-liked flowers have six white or sometimes pink petals. These sweetly-scented flowers bloom in the late spring. In areas with mild winter, they bloom in early March.
Hardiness Zone: Zones 3-9
Violas come with sweet fragrances and happy colors. They are an excellent overwintering plant. Violas immediately bounce back after the rain. These flowers are often planted to bring colors in edges and borders. They also get quick colors when grown in winter containers. They typically appear ragged in summer.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 3 – 9
7. Christmas Rose
The Christmas Rose is a welcome treat in winter. From November through March, this plant grows white flowers. The Christmas Rose will never get affected by frost or snow.
Flowering during the cold months of winter, the Christmas Rose brings magnificent colors into the pale winter garden landscape. The location and care need to be taken into consideration to make this winter flower feel comfortable.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 4-8
8. Winter Jasmine
The Winter Jasmine amazingly stands out in a winter garden with its willowy and slender stems. It grows yellow flowers in winter through early spring before the unfurling of its three-leafleted and glossy leaves. Its flowers are unscented, though.
When unsupported, the Winter Jasmine grows up to 7 feet wide and 4-feet tall. When trained on a wall, it can grow to as high as 15-feet. The Winter Jasmine thrives in good soil and full sun but will still grow in lesser conditions.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 6 -10.
Even in chilly and cold weather, the annual Dianthus continues to show its fantastic color. They may be tiny plants, but they are more challenging than they appear. They continue to bloom even after a frost.
Dianthus grow pink, red, or white fragrant flowers. They stop blooming when the hot summer temperature steps in and starts to bloom once again in the fall. They are ideally planted in order edges or front walks.
Hardness Zone: Zone 3 – 9
Cyclamen blooms in the autumn, winter, and spring. Its foliage turns yellow and dies in summer. They may appear to be delicate, but in cool weather, they are tough in the garden.
They grow white, pink, and red shell-like flowers and oval to almost round leaves. These hardy plants bloom profusely when planted in shady spots.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 5-9
11. Kaffir Lily
Kaffir Lilly or Flame Lilies are a fun and attractive choice for your winter garden. They appear to be tropical plants but do not need a tropical garden to live and grow. They grow in temperate climates and will start to bloom in late winter.
It typically takes Kaffir Lily a 6-8 week of cool dormancy and little water before blooming. They love indirect light, moderate fertilization, light watering, and well-draining soil.
Hardiness Zone: 9-11
The Crocus may look dainty, but it can withstand the harsh temperatures of winter. Start planting this flower in October if you live in Northern US or November if in Southern US. If you want these flowers to bloom in mid to late winter, choose the “snow” or “tricolor” varieties.
This flower grows foliage and quickly blooms. Its cup-shaped flowers signal the coming of warmer temperatures and a bountiful growing season. In temperate regions, its yellow, white, and purple heads are almost surrounded by snow.
Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9
Petunias are great when you want to add life to a winter garden winter. They can relieve you of some of your winter blues, and they come in various colors, sizes, and shapes. They grow best in garden beds or containers, requiring only a small amount of water and fertilizer. To look at, they are lovely flowers.
Most varieties of Petunia are cool-weather annuals. They grow best in cool temperatures. If you live in frost-free regions, it is best to plant them in the fall and winter. The Grandiflora” petunias, with their large flowers, are perfect for growing in autumn and winter in areas with summer rainfall.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 9-11
14. Dusty Miller
Dusty Miller can easily tolerate light frost but not precisely hard freezes. They grow best in mild winters. They can be grown as a short-lived perennial or a winter annual.
Dusty Millers come with soft and silvery foliage that blends well with other cool-weather annuals with bright blooms. They have silver and scallop-shaped leaves and grow to be about 6 to 9 inches tall.
Unlike most cool-weather plants that become dormant in summer, the Dusty Miller continues to be beautiful with the summer temperature.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 8-11
Camelias offer bountiful and colorful blooms through winter until the spring season. They have beautiful pink and white flowers – in some instances red.
Winter-blooming Camelias are considered as queens of all winter flowers. When they bloom, Camelias become the stars of your garden. They create an impressive floral display from late winter all through spring.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 7-9
Snapdragons are short-lived perennials. They typically grow as an annual when planted in colder climates. They can survive mild winters when grown in sheltered locations.
Snapdragons bloom all through summer in cooler climates and throughout winter in milder climates. These blooms grow best in baskets, planters, filling pots, and beds.
Snapdragons come in bright jewel-like colors that often stand out in the garden. They prefer fall or chilly weather, and they usually stop blooming when the weather starts to heat up.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 7-11
Ranunculus are picture-perfect flowers. They are not commonly grown in homes, but they are gorgeous additions to other blooms in your backyard. They are used a lot by floral designers.
Ranunculus grows best in the winter when they get a lot of suns. They grow gorgeous flowers that bring smiles amidst a relatively bland winter garden.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 8-10
Pansies are great winter annuals. A winter-flowering pansy remains sturdy through winter. Pansies look more beautiful when planted close to each other.
Winter-flowering pansies go into full bloom in late winter and through early spring when planted in late October or November. These flowers can survive single-digit and even solid freezing temperatures.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 4-8 as biennials / Zone 8-11 as annuals.
19. Winter Aconite
Winter Aconite or Eranthis Hyemalis are vibrant flowers that make a gorgeous addition to your winter garden. Its electric-yellow blooms start to appear in late winter.
The Winter Aconite is one of the easiest flowers to bloom in winter. The colder the winter gets, the better Winter Aconites display their blooms. They become dormant in spring.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 4-8
20. Algerian Iris
The Algerian Iris one of the best winter-flowering perennials. It offers beautiful blooms in mild winter areas. They are best planted in spots where you can marvel at their flowers in winter through early spring.
The flowers of the Algerian Iris bloom in winter when only a few types of flowers do. They start to bloom in November and will fill your garden with their sweet scent throughout the winter months.
The Algerian Iris grow happily in alkaline or neutral soil. They can tolerate drought but never forget to give them some water, too. They need full sun to flourish best so that they brighten your flower beds.
Hardiness Zone: Zone 7-9
How to Prepare your Garden for Winter
There are some preparations you need to do to make your garden winter-ready:
• Remove all dead leaves and dying plants.
• Start planting flowering bulbs in the spring.
• Drain your irrigation systems and garden hoses to prevent the freezing of water inside.
• Spread enough compost in your entire garden so it will have enough nutrients through winter. You can create compost out of the leaves you rake.
• Cover your garden with mulch before the appearance of the first freeze; this is to protect the plants from the cold temperatures. It is essential to wait for the first freeze because doing it early may make the mulch invite mice live in your garden throughout the winter.
• Cut the perennials after the first frost. Never do this earlier, or you may cause your plants to lose their source of nutrients that will allow them the survive winter.
There are many things you can do to keep your garden colorful and beautiful throughout winter. One of them is to plant flowers that can survive winter. Choose from the many flowers that can thrive through the harsh conditions of winter and keep your garden bright and colorful.
If you plan well for the winter months, you can have a garden full of gorgeous blooms through winter. Check out the list of flowers that can survive winter and enjoy their beauty and scent through chilly and cold days.
Written by Jenny and edited by Patricia Godwin