When that last orange-colored leaf of fall hits the ground and winter is well on its way, there can be a certain level of bleakness as you wander around your garden.
Your summer perennials have died back and gone to sleep until spring, your lush trees are now just bare branches, and your veg beds are empty.
But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way. Below, you’ll find a list of several plants that you can incorporate into your planting scheme that will give you bright colors through the darkest months.
They are also evergreen so, not only will they give you winter color and structure, but they will continue to add vibrancy to your garden all year round.
Also known as ‘London Pride’, Saxifraga Urbium is an excellent winter plant for creating an evergreen ground cover. It also loves shady conditions, so it’s ideal for injecting some color into those parts of the garden that are particularly dark throughout winter.
Meanwhile, its spoon-shaped, crimp-edged leaves provide some real architectural interest.
As an evergreen, Saxifraga Urbiu will look the same all year round and during summer you’ll even be treated to a dazzling display of small, star-shaped, white-pink flowers.
Ophiopogon Planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’
Most commonly found by its much easier-to-pronounce name of ‘Black Grass’, this is an evergreen plant that is actually a member of the lily family. Its super dark leaves are an interesting addition to a winter garden and they look particularly stunning when covered with frost.
The long, black strands also make a gorgeous backdrop against the purples, yellows, white of the year’s first spring-flowering bulbs.
Ajuga Reptans “Atropurpurea’
This is a creeping evergreen plant with large, purple-bronze leaves throughout the summer that develop pink-red tones throughout the winter. It’s also as useful as it is beautiful as it helps to suppress weed growth all year round. This makes it perfect for the low-maintenance gardener.
It’s also quite happy living in partial shade and, in late spring, it will sport an abundance of dark blue flowers up to 15cm tall.
Luzula Sylvatica ‘Aurea’
The reason this stunning plant is one of the best for winter color and interest is that it is at its showiest from November to January when the grass-like leaves glow with an acidic yellow.
Pair with a vibrant-stemmed plant such as Dogwood and you’ve got a dazzling display of color even when it’s overcast and gloomy.
What flowers thrive in winter?
While evergreen plants are perfect for providing color and interest, it’s still nice to enjoy flowers growing in your garden throughout winter. This is particularly true if all you currently have are perennial flowers that won’t be seen again until spring or summer.
Below, you’ll find a list of the flowering plants that thrive during winter. Each of these is ideal for creating color and scent when everything else has died back for the year.
Some are even great for wildlife gardens as they’ll be late and early food sources for pollinators as we move from winter into spring.
The name of this plant should give you a pretty good idea of when you can expect it to flower! The Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) isn’t actually a rose at all but is, in fact, a member of the Hellebore family.
Its large, showy, white flowers start opening around Christmas time and they are matched perfectly by the dark-green foliage.
Looking out and staring at an empty trellis or blank garden wall can be quite depressing. However, grow a Winter Honeysuckle up it and you’ve gone from bland to glam!
The cream-white colored flowers appear in abundance on leafless branches and they emit a beautiful, sweet fragrance that draws in winter-active bees. The flowers are also followed by red berries that are irresistible to birds.
While most winter flowers come in shades of whites and pinks, Pansies add a real pop of color to your garden. The large, blousy blooms are available in purple, yellow, orange, red, and some are even bi-colored.
Plant a few of these throughout your garden, deadhead regularly, and you’ll have a colorful display of flowers all winter long. If looked after properly, they can even go on flowering through the following spring and summer.
Daphnes are a great choice of winter-flowering plant for small gardens because they have a compact growth habit. Some varieties are also evergreen, so you’ll be able to enjoy their spear-shaped green leaves all year round.
From late winter to early spring, Daphne’s produce clusters of small flowers in shades of red, pink, white, and green, depending on the variety.
There’s nothing quite like the sight of the first Snowdrops appearing to tell you that winter is coming to an end. Not only are they the very first bulbs of the year to burst into flower, but they come in a huge variety including single and double-flowered species.
It’s also quite easy to increase the number of Snowdrops in your garden for free. They’ll self-seed once they’ve finished flowering and they can be dug up and divided every few years.
If you need a perennial that will fill a gap left by a summer-flowering plant over winter, Cyclamen is a wonderful choice. These winter-flowering plants are extremely hardy and they produce interestingly-shaped blooms in shades of white, pink, and purple.
They are also quite happy in various positions and look stunning when naturalized into grass or planted at the base of a tree.
Another fantastic plant for winter bees and other pollinating insects, Winter Heather is a popular choice for bringing a pop of color to winter containers. They can, of course, be planted in the ground as well where they will spread and create good ground cover.
As they do this, they’ll inhibit weed growth, giving them even more appeal!
Another climbing plant, Winter Clematis (Clematis cirrhosa) has glossy, evergreen leaves throughout the year. From December to January, it becomes covered in loads of cream-colored blooms that bear a delicate citrus fragrance.
This is an excellent plant for climbing around doorways and windows where you’ll be able to enjoy its blooms and scents without having to venture too far into your garden when the weather is bad.