20+ Winter Flowers That Will Bloom Even in the Coldest Weather

Whenever we think of a colorful garden, we think of fall or spring. As the fall flowers start to droop down, we long for spring to enjoy the pleasant sight of colorful blooms again. However, there are many cold-hardy, annual and perennial flowers that not only thrive in the winter months, but also usher a range of eye-catching blooms when the ground still remains snow-covered. They add the much-needed brightness to the dreary winter landscape.

Basic Requirements for Growing Winter Plants

Before planting any of these, don’t forget to check the USDA Hardiness zone of your area to ensure proper survival. Most of them are low-maintenance, thriving well in almost any soil type. Keep in mind, perennials and shrubs need to be planted before the ground freezes so their roots can get established. However, in mild climates, you can plant hardy annuals for much of the winter.

With a bit of planning beforehand, you can enjoy a bright blooming winter garden during the dark and gloomy days of the winter months.

Popular Garden Plants With Flowers That Bloom in the Winter Season

1. Snowdrop


Belonging to the genus Galanthus, these magnificent beauties are aptly named due to their droplet-like flowerheads. Just as the name says, these tiny flowers appear even when the ground remains covered with snow. All species of this genus are perennial, petaloid, herbaceous, bulbous, monocot, and pest-free. They are characterized by two leaves, drooping white flowers with six free perianth segments in two whorls, with each bloom measuring an inch wide or less. The inner whorl is smaller than the outer and has green markings. For best results, plant it in fall or spring under a tree or shrub, so it has partial shade. They are a perfect fit for planting beds along walkways.

Color: White

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter till early spring

Height/Spread: 8-10 inches/3-6 inches

USDA Zone: 3-8

2. Daffodil


Daffodil is the common name for spring-flowering bulbs in the genus Narcissus, of which there are over 50 species. These cheerful yellow flowers grow from bulbs, with some yellow and white two-toned varieties and some that are pure white. It is one of the first flowers to emerge at the first sign of spring. For optimum growth, plant the bulbs three weeks or more before expecting the first frost to allow adequate time to develop a strong root system. Also, it prefers well-drained, sandy soil. As it is extremely cold-hardy, snow or freezing temperatures do not harm its foliage or blooms.

Color: Yellow, white, pink, orange

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter till early spring

Height: 1-1.5 feet

USDA Zone: 3-8

3. Hellebore


Hellebore, also known as Lenten rose, belongs to the Eurasian genus Helleborus, consisting approximately 20 species of herbaceous or evergreen perennial flowering plants. Although these gorgeous blooms do resemble those of roses, they are more closely related to ranunculus. As they can tolerate both frost and shade well, they should always be kept under partial sunlight. Even though they appear delicate, they are very easy to maintain and also super cold-hardy. These stunning flowers bloom in early winter in mild climates and late winter in cold regions.

Color: Yellow, metallic blue, dusky pink, maroon, slate, white, apricot

Blooming Season and Duration: Winter to spring

Height/Spread: 1-2 feet/1-2 feet

USDA Zone: 6-9

4. Cyclamen


Native to Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, Cyclamen is a genus of 23 species of perennial flowering plants. It is the perfect pop of colors that a winter garden needs. The most surprising fact about this plant is, when most of the flowers become dormant in the winter and bloom in the summer, it does the opposite. For this reason, many gardeners in warm climates plant their cyclamen in pots to take indoors during the summer so they can enjoy the plant’s vivid winter blooms year after year. If planting outdoors, it would be better to plant them under deciduous trees so they can soak up winter sun but be protected from summer’s heat. Though cyclamen is considered a houseplant in most of the country, it actually works well as a perennial groundcover in warmer climates.

Color: Pink, red, white

Blooming Season and Duration: Fall, winter, spring

Height/Spread: 6-9 inches/6-9 inches

USDA Zone: 5-9

5. Camellia (Camellia japonica)


Also known as Japanese camellia, these large, attractive, broad-leaved, flowering evergreen shrubs come in many different varieties. So, make sure to choose a type that will bloom in winter. They are highly prized due to their exquisite flowers that continue to bloom for weeks. Native to Japan, Korea, and China, these plants do well in acidic to neutral, well-drained, organic soil. These low maintenance plants can be used as large specimen shrubs, screens, or along borders.

Color: Pink, red, white

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter to early spring

Height/Spread: 6-12 feet/6-10 feet

USDA Zone: 7-10

6. English Primrose (Primula vulgaris)

English Primrose

Native to Europe and the United Kingdom, these low growing flowers come in almost every imaginable color. The blooms appear in tight clusters of five-petaled flowers, brightening the dreary winter atmosphere with various shades of blue, white, yellow, orange, pink, and red. These easy-to-care plants can thrive well under full sun or partial shade and are perfect for planting along walkways or in beds and borders.

Color: White, cream, pink, purple, yellow, blue, orange, red

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter to early spring

Height/Spread: 0.5-1 feet/1-2 feet

USDA Zone: 4-8

7. Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)

Winter Jasmine

Famous for its butter-yellow, star-shaped flowers, this deciduous perennial can be treated as a shrub, as well as a vine. These quick-to-establish and easy-to-care plant can thrive well in full or partial sun, when planted in well-drained, rich, organic soil. Unlike other types of jasmine, it’s not fragrant, but it adds a splash of sunshine to the landscape when you need it the most.

Color: Yellow

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter to early spring

Height/Spread: 4-7 feet/4-7 feet

USDA Zone: 6-10

8. Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

This genus of flowering plants is one of the first winter bloomers. They are large, deciduous shrubs displaying colorful and fragrant flowers. The plants boast smooth gray bark, and soft green foliage that changes colors, putting on a show in the fall. Their shaggy, spider-like blooms first appear yellow or green and fade to orange as the weather grows colder. While most perennial plants bloom for roughly two weeks, witch-hazel does so for eight weeks or more. The blooms appear in clusters, seeming to huddle together on bare branches to provide a bit of color in an otherwise dull white landscape. These low-maintenance shrubs are resistant to most common pests and diseases. Though they prefer full sun, they can also tolerate partial shade in warmer regions. These magnificent beauties are great as a landscape plant.

Color: Red, orange, purple, yellow, pink

Blooming Season and Duration: Fall, winter, spring

Height/Spread: 20-30 feet/15-20 feet

USDA Zone: 5-7

9. Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)

Pussy Willow

These shrubs grow best in wet, low-lying areas such as ditches, marshes, or stream beds. The branches burst into little fuzzy flowers, called catkins at the end of winter or early spring before putting out green leaves. . Male pussy willow plants produce catkins earlier than the females. While female plants produce smaller green catkins, male pussy willows have gray catkins. Though their blooms are not so bright and showy, they are very adorable. These easy-to-care plants prefer well-drained, organically rich, loamy soil when kept under full sun to partial shade.

Color: Silvery-gray, green

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter to spring

Height/Spread: 15–25 feet/10-15 feet

USDA Zone: 4-8

10. Mahonia


Native to eastern Asia, the Himalaya, North and Central America, it is a genus of evergreen shrubs comprising approximately 70 species. It produces large sprays of tiny aromatic yellow flowers that cluster along their long stems. Also known as, sun holly or oregon grape holly, the blooms of the mahonia shrub contrast beautifully with its amber green foliage.

Color: Yellow

Blooming Season and Duration: Late fall to early winter

Height/Spread: 8-10 feet/6-10 feet

USDA Zone: 6-9

11. Crocus


Another genus of seasonal flowering plants comprising about 100 species of perennials that grow from specialized bulbs, called corms. They produce dainty, cup-like flowers that sprout up in late winter through early spring. Though they are extremely cold-hardy, they should be planted before the ground freezes, October in the Northern U.S. and November in the Southern U.S. They can tolerate a wide range of soils, preferring full to partial sun.

Color: Lavender, purple, cream, yellow, white

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter to early spring

Height/Spread: 4-6 inches/1-3 inches

USDA Zone: 3-8

12. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)


Native to the eastern U.S, this deciduous holly shrub can be a great addition to the winter garden, as it bursts with bright red berries that add cheery color to the winter landscape through the entire winter and into spring. It’s not exactly the flowers, but the gorgeous red berries of this deciduous holly shrub that make it worth planting for a much needed winter color. These gorgeous berries really pop against a field of snow. Make sure to plant both male and female plants in order to produce fruit.

Height/Spread: 3-15 feet/3-15 feet

USDA Zone: 3-9

13. Pieris


Native to mountain regions of eastern and southern Asia, eastern North America and Cuba, it is a genus of 7 species of evergreen, flowering shrubs. It produces gorgeous blooms in late winter and early spring, lasting for a few weeks. Hundreds of tiny pink or white bell-shaped flowers dangling from delicate stems, is truly a lovely sight. The plant is worth planting as a specimen for any garden.

Color: Pink, white

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter to early spring

Height/Spread: 3-4 feet/3-4 feet

USDA Zone: 5-9

14. Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa luciliae)

Glory of the Snow

Native to Western Turkey, these small plants blooms very early in the spring, when there is still snow on the ground. The plant produces blue star-shaped blossoms with a white center. Certain varieties may bloom in pink or lavender instead of blue. This low-maintenance plant is great for containers. Like most bulbs, it also requires organically rich, well-drained soil.

Color: Pink, white, blue

Blooming Season and Duration: Late winter to spring

Height/Spread: 4-6 inches/1-2 inches

USDA Zone: 3-8

15. Winter Pansy (Viola tricolor var. hortensis)

Winter Pansy

This perennial is sure to make a glorious addition to the winter garden. It grows best in full sun to full shade and come in a vast array of colors—sunshine yellow to dramatic violet.  Pansies not only bloom in winter, they thrive in it. In fact, these are capable of surviving very low temperatures, even freezing over completely. They bounce back as good as new when the warm weather returns. They prefer full to partial shade and well-draining soil, and can survive a light frost and bloom for most of the winter in mild climates.

Color: White, maroon, blue, yellow, red, bi-and tri-color

Blooming Season and Duration: Fall to winter

Height/Spread: 6-9 inches/9-12 inches

USDA Zone: 5-9

16. Winter Heath (Erica carnea)

Winter Heath

Native to central and southern Europe, it is a small evergreen shrub that produces tons of tiny blossoms that blooms for weeks and weeks. Make sure to get the winter blooming variety for the winter garden, as many of the other varieties are summer bloomers. This extremely cold hardy species can even produce blooms beneath the snow. They produce small drooping bell- or urn-shaped blossoms held along stalks rising just above the foliage. Its needlelike leaves are generally green in color, though some varieties display varied shades of green, from lime-green to dark green, over the course of the year.

Color: Red, pink, white

Blooming Season and Duration: Winter

Height/Spread: 8 inches-2 feet/1-2 feet

USDA Zone:  5-7

17. Violas


Around 500 flower species fall under the umbrella of violas, including both annuals and perennials. Most of them are small, with blossoms, measuring up to an inch and a half across. The brightly colored, charming little violas are a pleasant sight on chilly mornings. In mild climates, the flowers last all winter long. Their blooms are even edible, so don’t hesitate to try snipping a few blooms to decorate a cake or adorn a salad. Many types technically are annuals but they self-seed freely, so they’ll often pop up again next year on their own.

Color: Violet, blue, yellow, cream, white

Blooming Season and Duration: Fall, winter, spring

Height/Spread: 4-10 inches/4-10 inches

USDA Zone: 3-8

18. Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Winter Aconite

This charming tuberous perennial sports fragrant, upward-facing, buttercup-like flowers, about 1 inch wide. Its frilly foliage and bright-colored flowers often pop up through the snow. Though this deer-resistant species goes dormant by late spring, it returns every year after planting in fall. This can be easily grown in humus-rich, well-drained soil, when kept under full to partial sun. This is a stunning addition for beds, borders, or walkways, as well as containers.

Color: Yellow

Blooming Season and Duration: Winter to early spring

Height/Spread: 2-4 inches/4-6 inches

USDA Zone: 4-7

19. Ornamental Cabbage and Kale (Brassica oleracea and Brassica oleracea var. sabellica)

Ornamental Cabbage
Ornamental Kale

These are some of the hardiest plants around, being able to withstand negative temperatures. Choosing an ornamental variety will bring some gorgeous color and texture to the garden. The gorgeous, frilly heads of these showy plants last most of the winter in mild climates and well into late fall in cold areas of the country. They come in many different colors and forms. Ornamental cabbage and kale are prized primarily as colorful additions to home gardens where they are grown for their large rosettes of white, pink, purple or red leaves. Though they are edible, they tend to have a bitter flavor. So, they are often used in a culinary setting as garnishes.

Height/Spread: 12-15 inches/0.5-1 foot

USDA Zone: 2-11

20. Algerian Iris (Iris unguicularis)

Algerian Iris

This winter iris features sweetly scented, lavender to deep-violet flowers, which are about 2-3 inches wide. The flowers rise atop a dense clump of grassy foliage of dark green, narrow, tough leaves, and are marked with white and deep yellow at their base. Native to the dry Mediterranean climate, this vigorous evergreen rhizomatous perennial prefers slightly alkaline, well draining soil, and should be planted in full sun. The blooms will surely light up the flower beds, borders, wall-side borders, slopes, or containers.

Color: Purple

Blooming Season and Duration: Late fall to early spring

Height/Spread: 1-2 feet/1-2 feet

USDA Zone: 7-9

A Few More Flowers You Can Plant in Fall and Winter

  • Kaffir Lily
  • Black Tulips
  • Leucojum
  • Daphne
  • Christmas Rose
  • Spring Snowflakes
  • Ranunculus
  • Dutchman’s Breeches
  • Hosta
  • Scilla
  • Pot Marigold

Best Winter Garden Flowers to Pick

Best Red Winter Flowers: Camellia, Winterberry, Dianthus

Best White Winter Flowers: Snowdrop, Cyclamen, White Moth Orchid

Best Blue Winter Flowers: Hydrangea, Hardy Geranium, Passionflower

Best Purple Winter Flowers: Pansy, Viola, Wallflower

Best Yellow Winter Flowers: Crocus, Winter Aconite, English Primrose

Best winter Flowers for Pots and Containers: Viola, Sedum, Pansy

by | Updated: February 26, 2022



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