Best flowering plants for winter

These best flowering plants for winter will keep your garden looking great even in the deepest, darkest midwinter

best flowering plants for winter: Mahonia
(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

Looking for the best flowering plants for winter? As autumn gives way to the colder, darker winter months, most garden plants stop flowering, as they simply aren't getting enough light. There are, however, a few species that defy the cold and dark, producing stunning, and even highly fragrant blooms throughout the winter months, all the way until spring. Get one of these plants (or all of them), and enjoy flowers even during the deepest, darkest winter. 

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1. Mahonia 'Winter Sun'

Mahonia 'Winter Sun'

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

Mahonia has a sensational, heady scent that travels through the cold winter air. This tough plant will keep on blooming between December and March.

Maintenance: Prune in the spring after flowering.

Soil type: Moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist or well-drained soil.

Where to plant: Full or partial shade.

2. Sarcococca Confusa 

Sarcococca Confusa

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

Another unusual, sweetly scented plant on our list, the Sarcococca or 'Sweet Box' has cute clusters of white blooms that look a little bit like Witch Hazel. Strong, sweet scent of vanilla. The Sweet Box flowers between December and March.

Maintenance: Lightly prune after flowering.

Soil type: Moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil.

Where to plant: Partial to deep shade.

3. Camellia sasanqua 'Plantation Pink'

Camellia sasanqua 'Plantation Pink'

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

Most camellias begin flowering in late December or January, but this autumn flowering species is great for covering the period between October and mid-December, when it produces stunning, lilac-pink blooms. 

Maintenance: Protect from early morning sun; water well in dry weather.

Soil type: Moist but well-drained, humus-rich, acid soil (or ericaceous compost for container-grown specimens).

Where to plant: Partial shade, not east-facing.

4. Pink Autumn cherry

Prunus × subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea'

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

Another stunning flowering plant, the pink autumn cherry will produce gorgeous clusters of pink flowers for an exceptionally long period between October and March, provided there is some mild weather to help it. 

Maintenance: Add plenty of well rotted compost to the soil before planting; prune in summer to avoid disease.

Soil type: Moist, well-drained fertile soil.

Where to plant: Full sun.

5. Hellebore

Helleborus × ericsmithii 'Pirouette'

(Image credit: Waitrose Garden)

A wonder of the flower world, hellebore will keep going when nothing else will – they don't mind quite a bit of shade, so will do well under trees. Hellebore flower abundantly between December and April. 

Maintenance: Add plenty of moulded or rotted matter to the plant hole; mulch in autumn and fertilise in spring.

Soil type: Neutral to alkaline, freely draining soil.

Where to plant: Partial shade.

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