You Had Me at Gardening

Top Three Winter Flowering Plants By Hardiness Zone

Take a look at the most impressive flowering plants you can grow in your garden for winter, ranked by hardiness zone!

Welcome To The Competition! 

All of us want to have a showy, impressive garden, even in winter! So we have collected the most beautiful flowering plants (and some that just look like they are flowering) to give you a few ideas! Take a look at our top three suggestions for each category!

Sorted by the USDA hardiness zone they grow in, each set of three contains the plants that will be the most attractive in your garden, even in the dead of winter. Each plant comes with a short description and a quick care guide, and sometimes even links for more information!

Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7
Zone 8 Zone 9 Zone 10 Zone 11 Zone 12  

 

Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 2

Runner up

Eastern red cedar

This shrub grows in cold and temperate zones, but it is most impressive in very cold climates, where it stands tall above most other plants. Its winter value comes from the small, silver-blue berries that it produces, which add a spot of color to dull brown leaves. Plant it in a full sun area with well-draining soil.

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3rd Place

Serviceberry

Its name comes from the berries it makes, that last long into winter and service birds and small animals alike, as well as humans, in jams and jellies. In winter, the elegant branches decorate the landscape by themselves, waiting for spring and flowers. Plant it in full or partial sun and provide some water in drought periods.

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And the winner is…

Rugosa rose!

Also known as the Japanese rose, some kinds of rugosa rose are very cold and weather hardy, so they are great to grow in even the harshest gardens. They bloom in summer until frost and leave behind bright red berries that contrast the snow and look like small baubles! This rose needs full to partial sun, well-draining soil, and some water, as long as there is no risk of frost.

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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 3

Runner up

Wintergreen

This small creeping groundcover stays evergreen and often pokes above shallow snow, providing a great replacement for grass to build a lawn. Its merit lies in the bright green leaves and large, red berries it carries. It attracts birds and small animals, and the berries are edible for humans as well. Wintergreen is great as undergrowth, thriving in shady, moist places.

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3rd Place

Black Chokeberry

Still in the land of berries that persist through winter, we have the black chokeberry. These glossy dark berries fruits grow in late summer and persist well into winter, feeding wildlife. They also create little clusters of hanging frosty globes that decorate your garden all winter! Talk about Christmas plants! Let it grow in full sun, with well-drained soil and little water.

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And the winner is…

Spring Snowflake!

Don’t let the name deceive you. These little flowers bloom in late winter and are among the first signs that spring is on its way. Not to be confused with snowdrops, the snowflakes grow as tall as 10 inches and have a vague perfume. They need full to partial sun and plenty of water but don’t worry about that, the melting snow will keep it moist.

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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 4

Runner up

Rubber Rabbitbrush

These bushes grow tall and relatively contained, and flower in summer and fall with small yellow flowers that then grow into seed pods that persist into winter. The foliage offers shelter and some food for rabbits, and if crushed it releases a strong smell. The dried flowers are showy as well, with seed pods that fluff up in the air. Plant them in full sun and don’t worry about watering, as they are very drought tolerant.

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3rd Place

Joe Pye Weed

This perennial wildflower blooms in summer and fall, leaving behind fluffy seed pods that persist into winter, making it look like it is still blooming with dark brown flowers. The tall stems will tower over the landscape and often above the snow. And when snowed under, the flowers are strong enough to support frozen snow hats! It will grow in any soil, as long as it is moist, and in full or partial sun.

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And the winner is…

Witch Hazel

There are so many varieties of witch hazel out there, there has to be one for your taste! The long petals resemble witches’ fingers, hence the name, but there is nothing magical about this flower. Except for the shape of the flowers… and the sweet smell… and the fact that it blooms in winter…  Well. Plant it in full sun and well-draining soil and see what magic it works!

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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 5

Runner up

Japanese Quince

This low growing shrub blooms in late winter and early spring before it even grows leaves, decorating an otherwise dull period in the garden. Usually, the flowers are orange or red, and over time they turn into fragrant fruit that make great jellies. Plant in full or partial sun, in well-draining soil. Water occasionally.

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3rd Place

Crocus

Crocuses are very versatile, coming in all shapes and colors. Mostly they are known as perennials to be planted in fall, they bloom in late winter to early spring. The small, light purple flowers poke right above the snow, followed by leaves. Plant them in full to partial sun, in well-drained soil,  though they will grow practically everywhere. The melting snow will provide enough water.

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And the winner is…

Dwarf Iris

The short stems rise above the snow in late winter and early spring and bloom with large, deep blue and purple flowers. The leaves eventually grow taller than the flower, as it dries out, then the plant goes dormant in summer. Dwarf irises multiply quickly and the bulbs need to be separated every few years. Plant it in full sun, in constantly moist soil.

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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 6

Runner up

White Magnolia

Ivory chalice or white magnolia blooms in late winter and early spring with large (6 inches) flowers, shaped like a cup, that spread a strong fragrance. Magnolias are a great visual addition to any landscape, and they are beautiful even without flowers. Like most trees, takes a few years before it blooms, but it can grow in small spaces. Plant in full sun and water well.

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3rd Place

Winter Heath

There are two kinds of winter heath: white and purple. The purple kind contrasts strongly with the snow, while the white blends in. White winter heath is an evergreen groundcover that blooms from February to April and attracts early bees. Grow it in full sun and well-draining soil!

 

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And the winner is…

Wild Primrose

Although delicate looking, primroses bloom in winter and spring and are not bothered by the occasional snowfall on top of them. They also seed themselves and grow like the wildflowers they are. Plant them in partial sun and you will be rewarded with large, fragrant, light yellow flowers!

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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 7

Runner up

Wintersweet

This sweet-smelling shrub will bloom in midwinter with small, yellow flowers with purple centers, that can last until spring! It tends to arch, so the advantage of this and turn it into a winter magical arch. Plant it in full sun and wait for a few years before it blooms.

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3rd Place

Carolina Jessamine

This evergreen will climb or spread across any surface. It can also be pruned into a shrub, but it will take work. You are better off leaving it as a groundcover. The small flowers bloom in winter and early spring, often covered in snow. Grow it in full sun and rich soil and water well during summer and fall.

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And the winner is…

Camellia

Most types of camellia would be bothered by the coming of snow and frost, but the Cinnamon Cindy type blooms from late fall to mid-spring, with large, showy flowers that smell vaguely of cinnamon. They contrast with the dark evergreen leaves and make great cut-flower decorations too! This camellia doesn’t need much sun, instead, it prefers shady spots and needs moderate watering.

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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 8

Runner up

Creosote Bush

This shrub grows in the desert but also does well in temperate areas. It blooms sporadically throughout the year and the flowers leave behind fluffy pods that have visual value themselves. The most notable aspect of this bush is the aroma, it releases a soft desert smell when wet. Plant it in full sun and rocky or sandy soil.

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3rd Place

Amaryllis

Amaryllis is one of the flowering plants that let you pick when they bloom. By keeping the bulbs in a cold, dark place until about a month before you want flowers, you can actually plan when it blooms! It does best in a pot inside, but in warmer zones, it can b grown in a pot outside or even directly in the ground. Plant it in full sun and ensure constant moisture.

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And the winner is…

Sweetest Honeysuckle

This shrub keeps its leaves all year unless the weather is exceptionally cold, and it blooms in winter and early spring with sweet-smelling little flowers that clump together. They usually last for a few weeks and can be brought indoors for arrangements. In spring and summer, the flowers grow into small red berries that may attract birds. Grow this shrub in partial or full sun and well-draining, but constantly moisturized soil.
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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 9

Runner up

Eureka Lemon

This tree produces small, white, waxy flowers all year round, especially in winter and early spring. The flowers then grow into lemon fruit, juicy and aromatic. This is what gave this kind of lemon tree the nickname “Eureka”, after the famous cry of victory. Grow it in full sun and well-draining soil. For more information, here is an easy guide to growing lemon trees!

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3rd Place

Dwarf Chenille

This evergreen groundcover is most known for its red spikey flowers that bloom sporadically all year round. It creeps and covers ground fast, without being invasive. It does well both in containers and free-roaming on your lawn and it thrives in full sun and partial shade, and rich, moist soils.

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And the winner is…

Silver Wattle

This winter flowering plant is incredibly versatile and can grow from a small shrub to as big as 50 ft. Its leaves are used as decoration in flower arrangements, and in late winter and early spring, it blooms with clouds of sweet-smelling yellow flowers. Plant it in full sun and slightly acid soil for best results.

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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 10

Runner up

Freesia

Popular as a cut-flower and usually grown in greenhouses for extra yield, you can grow this fragrant flower in your own garden. It has small leaves and a tall central stem that carries multiple blossoms. They bloom in turn until the last ones are spent, which can take weeks, during which time the freesia displays an array of colors, from white to purple, to yellow and pink. Grow them in full sun and alkaline soil.

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3rd Place

Cyclamen

Known as Christmas plants and popular in the Victorian era, cyclamen are coming back as popular winter flowers, some types of cyclamen bloom from fall to spring in warmer climates. Grow them in full sun and well-drained soil for best results. Watch out for the pesky cyclamen mites that can bother your flowers now and then.

Cyclamen Christmas plants

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And the winner is…

Winter Clematis

This evergreen climber blooms in winter with small, waxy white flowers decorated with brown freckles. It has a lovely fragrance that can attract late bees and butterflies in warmer climates. Grow this plant in full sun, well-draining soil, and near something it can climb on.winter flowering plants

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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 11

Runner up

Golden Trumpet

This yellow-flowering trumpet enjoys climbing and warmth, and it thrives in tropical conditions. If the weather is warm enough, it will bloom all year round in clusters of golden flowers. It needs full sun and rich soil, as well as generous amounts of water. Use an organic fertilizer for best results.

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3rd Place

Hawaiian Hibiscus

Usually grown indoors, in its natural tropical habitat hibiscus can grow outdoors as well, and it will bloom all year round. It has large, showy, and slightly fragrant flowers that come in various colors. A bush can grow up to 30 ft tall and 25 ft wide, but you can keep it smaller. Grow it in full sun and slightly acidic soil.

winter flowering plants

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And the winner is…

Cape Jasmine

If temperatures do not drop under 60F (15C), and they are unlikely to do so in tropical climates, some species of cape jasmine bloom all year round, with small, fragrant, white flowers. It looks great as cut flowers as well! It will need plenty of water, light shade, and rich soil, as well as constant pruning.
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Winter Flowering Plants For Hardiness Zone 12

Runner up

Pink Passion Cordyline

This is one of the flowers that doesn’t actually bloom, but rather looks like is flowering all the time. The sharp red leaves are a great addition to a tropical garden and they will look great all year round. Plant it in a sheltered, sunny spot. It tolerates most soil types and drought.

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3rd Place

Japanese Mock-Orange

In warm climates, this shrub blooms all year round, with small star-shaped flowers on top of dark green leaves. It grows fast and keeps itself in shape. The flowers and caused leaves have a vague, sweet, and citrusy smell, which gives the mock orange its name. Plant it in partial sun and provide water.

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And the winner is…

Thai Lime

This small tree or shrub blooms throughout the year with small, sharp scented flowers, that pepper the leaves with spots of white. The leaves and flowers are both aromatic, and the tangy fruit are an important ingredient in many dishes. Grow Thai lime in full sun to part shade, in sandy, fertile soil.

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In The End…

Which winter flowering plants would you like to see in your garden? I hope you found your inspiration here and you will start your own winter garden! Let me know how it goes and vote for your favorite plant in the comments section below!

kate.may@youhadmeatgardening.com'
About the Author - Kate May

Hello! I’m Kate, your friendly neighbourhood plant parent with a passion for every green leaf under the sun (and some red or purple, why not?). I love gardening, the peace that comes with working in the earth and the joy of growing things. Over the years I gathered knowledge about both domestic and wild plants, how they grow and their uses. Here I combine my passion for writing with my love for gardening and bring you tips, tricks and cool ideas!

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