In the mild climate of the pacific northwest, it seems that something new is always blooming—even during the shortest, darkest days of wintertime. We don’t need to look far to see a flower reminding us that spring will come again. Reliable winter-blooming plants ensure that your garden has color even when many plants are dormant. Plant them near walkways, entrances and driveways where they can be seen as you come and go. Or place them where they can be seen and enjoyed from the indoors
One of the best winter-blooming camellias is Camellia sasanqua ‘Kanjiro’. It has deep cerise pink semi-double flowers with bright yellow stamens that are borne on the ends of gracefully arching branches. These flowers glow on a dark winter day and camellia’s glossy, dark green leaves reflect light to brighten even a shady corner beneath a canopy of mature trees.
Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’ (Winter Sun Oregon Grape) is another evergreen shrub that has striking, large, bright yellow racemes of fragrant flowers in late fall and winter. Its stiff, glossy, deep-green pinnate leaves flare out around upright, angled stems, giving it architectural stature. ‘Winter Sun’ can reach up to 10 feet high, making it stunning as a focal plant or at the back of a border. Either way, it takes center stage when it is covered with glowing flowers that develop into clusters of waxy, deep blue berries that provide food for many birds.
Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis (Higan Flowering Cherry) is a deciduous tree with an elegant vase shape and a graceful horizontal branching pattern. It has delicate light pink flowers and blooms from late fall until early spring before its leaves emerge. While ‘Autumnalis’ blooms less profusely than other ornamental flowering cherries, it’s in flower for a much longer period. A must-have for a collector’s garden.
These distinctive winter-blooming plants are easy to grow, but like all plants, they need the right conditions to thrive. Before you plant any large plant, familiarize yourself with its mature size, growth rate and environmental needs and make sure you have the right spot for it in your garden. Vigorous, healthy plants will produce an abundance of flowers and simply look better.
If you’re looking for more ideas, please contact me for a design consultation to learn about landscape design or the best plants for any spot in your garden.