Flowers in the winter – trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs for winter colour

When it’s cold and gloomy outside, us gardeners need something special to tempt us outside. If you think there isn’t much going on at this time of year then you’d be wrong, there are loads of trees, shrubs and bulbs putting on a great show right now, so make room for some of these in your garden. Plant near a window or entrance to make the most of them.

Some of the best winter flowering trees and shrubs (left to right)…Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ flowers between October to March, Camellia japonica ‘Silver Anniversary’ flowers from January to March, Hamamelis intermedia ‘Diane’ flowers in January and February, Lonicera winter honeysuckle, Mahonia ‘Winter Sun’ also has a good fragrance and flowers between November and March, another one with great fragrance Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Purple Stem’ flowers December to March.

Here are some top perennials and bulbs to mix into your borders for winter interest. Cyclamen coum flowers from January to March, Helleborus ‘Harvington Double’ flowers February to April, Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ in mild winters this will flower continuously all through the year – an amazing plant, Snowdrop Galanthus ‘S Arnott’ flowers February and March, Eranthis hyemalis winter aconite flowers February and March, Crocus chrysanthus ‘Cream Beauty’ flowers February and March.

Plant bulbs now for your spring garden

Now is the time to start planning for next spring, from now up to December is the best time to get bulbs in the ground, as they need a long dormant period over winter. Most bulbs need free draining soil and lots of sunshine for the best results. You can plant them in your borders to fill the gaps before the perennials start to spread, go for a great big swathe through your lawn, under deciduous trees and shrubs to make the most of the light before the leaves appear, or simply in pots. Plant each bulb ‘nose’ or shoot facing upwards at a depth of 2 to 3 times the bulbs height and around twice the bulbs width apart. And don’t be stingy – a mass effect looks far better, or why not combine with early flowering plants like forget-me-nots.


Photo: Claudia Meyer, Paris

RHS Scented Narcissus Collection multi-buy offer – save £12.50
10 bulbs of each of the following for £4.99, or buy 3 of each for £25 and save £12.50.

Here are some more ideas to inspire you…