Flowers That Will Survive Winter

Flowers That Will Survive Winter

Before freezing temperatures arrive, it’s important to know which cold climate plants are tough enough to survive your region’s winter weather. Here are some top picks for the most reliable, cold-hardy perennials that you can count on to take a polar vortex or two in stride and come back strong in the spring.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose winter-resistant plants that can withstand freezing temperatures.
  • Look for cold-resistant flowers that can tolerate the harsh conditions of winter.
  • Opt for frost-tolerant blooms that will come back strong in the spring.
  • Select resilient winter flowers that can handle cold climate conditions.
  • Ensure your garden has hardy plants that will survive winter.

Top Picks for Cold-Hardy Perennials

When it comes to selecting plants for your garden that can brave the harsh winter months, it’s essential to choose cold-hardy perennials that can survive the frigid temperatures. Marty Ross, a renowned horticulturist, recommends several resilient flowers that are perfect for winter survival. These cold-hardy perennials will not only withstand the cold but also add beauty and color to your garden even in the harshest of weather conditions.

Showy Stonecrop

Showy stonecrop (Hylotelephium spectabile), also known as sedum, is an excellent choice for gardeners seeking a colourful taller plant that can endure both hot summers and cold winters. Its vibrant blooms provide a stunning visual appeal, and its succulent leaves help it withstand dry weather conditions. Showy stonecrop is a perfect addition to any garden, offering resilience and beauty throughout the year.


Peonies are a popular choice for northern gardeners due to their ability to survive long, frigid winters. These elegant and fragrant flowers come in a variety of colours and can thrive in cold climates. With proper care, peonies can last for decades, providing beautiful blooms year after year, even in the toughest of winters.

Coneflower and Bee Balm

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and bee balm (Monarda spp.) are other cold-hardy perennials that can tolerate harsh winter conditions. Not only do they add vibrant colours to your garden, but they also attract butterflies and bees, contributing to the local ecosystem. These resilient flowers are an excellent choice for gardeners looking to create a winter-friendly landscape that is both visually appealing and environmentally beneficial.

Plant Main Features Hardiness Zone
Showy Stonecrop Colourful blooms, succulent leaves 3-9
Peonies Elegant, fragrant flowers 2-8
Coneflower Attracts butterflies, vibrant colours 3-9
Bee Balm Attracts bees, visually appealing 4-9

When it comes to choosing cold-hardy perennials, these top picks offer both beauty and resilience. Whether you opt for the showy stonecrop’s vibrant blooms, the elegance of peonies, or the allure of coneflowers and bee balm, you can create a winter garden filled with stunning flowers that will survive even the harshest winter conditions.

Reliable Spring Bloomers

When the long, cold winter finally starts to fade away, gardeners eagerly await the arrival of early flowers in spring. These reliable spring bloomers bring a burst of color to the garden, signaling the beginning of a new season. Among the perennials that can withstand the cold temperatures and bloom year after year, three stand out: peonies, coneflower, and wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

Peonies (Paeonia spp.) are known for their large, showy blooms and delightful fragrance. These hardy perennials come in a variety of colors, including shades of pink, white, and red. They are a classic choice for bringing elegance and charm to any garden.

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is another reliable spring bloomer that adds a pop of color to the landscape. With its distinctive daisy-like petals and prominent cone-shaped centers, coneflower attracts butterflies and bees. This long-lasting perennial comes in shades of purple, pink, white, and orange, bringing vibrancy to the garden.

Wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is a native North American perennial with delicate, nodding flowers that resemble little lanterns. The bright red and yellow blooms of this spring bloomer are beloved by hummingbirds. Wild columbine is a perfect addition to woodland and shade gardens, adding a touch of charm to any outdoor space.

“These reliable spring bloomers not only add beauty to the garden, but also provide an early source of nectar for pollinators, helping to support their populations.”

With their resilience and stunning blooms, peonies, coneflower, and wild columbine are perennials that gardeners can rely on to bring color and joy to their gardens year after year.

Colorful Shade Lovers

When it comes to adding vibrant colors to shady garden beds, there are several shade-loving flowers that can thrive even in cold winter temperatures. Coral bells, Siberian iris, and hostas are excellent choices for creating a visually appealing shade garden. These perennials not only provide pops of color but also have the ability to withstand low light conditions.

Coral bells (Heuchera spp.) are known for their stunning foliage in various shades of green, purple, and bronze. They also produce delicate flowers that attract pollinators. Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) is another shade-loving flower that showcases beautiful blooms in shades of blue, purple, and white. Their elegant flowers add an element of sophistication to any shade garden. Hostas, with their lush foliage in different shades of green, bring texture and depth to the garden.

One of the advantages of these shade-loving perennials is their ability to tolerate cold winter temperatures. Even in chilly conditions, they continue to thrive and provide color throughout the year. To ensure their success, plant them in medium moist, well-drained soil. This will support their growth and allow them to flourish even in shady areas.

Tip: When designing a shade garden, consider incorporating these colorful shade lovers alongside other shade-tolerant plants to create a harmonious and visually appealing landscape.

Here’s a closer look at these shade-loving flowers:

Flower Name Characteristics
Coral bells (Heuchera spp.) – Foliage in shades of green, purple, and bronze
– Delicate flowers that attract pollinators
Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) – Blooms in shades of blue, purple, and white
– Elegant flowers
– Adds sophistication to shade gardens
Hostas – Lush foliage in shades of green
– Adds texture and depth to the garden

With these shade-loving flowers, you can transform your shady garden into a vibrant and visually appealing space, even during the winter months.

Cheerful Yellow Flowers

If you’re looking to add a pop of bright color to your winter garden, consider planting perennials with yellow blooms. These vibrant flowers not only bring warmth to the winter landscape but also attract pollinators, adding life to your garden even in the colder months.

Two excellent choices for yellow winter flowers are ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata) and false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides). These perennials produce cheerful yellow blooms that last all summer long and are hardy enough to withstand the cold temperatures of winter.

yellow winter flowers

Let’s take a closer look at these two remarkable plants:

‘Moonbeam’ Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)

Color: Bright yellow

Blooming time: Summer

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9

The ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis is a hardy perennial that offers a profusion of delicate, daisy-like yellow flowers. Its airy foliage and compact habit make it an excellent choice for mass planting, rock gardens, or containers. This low-maintenance plant attracts butterflies and other pollinators, making it an asset to any winter garden.

False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides)

Color: Bright yellow

Blooming time: Summer

Sun exposure: Full sun to partial shade

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9

The false sunflower, also known as oxeye sunflower, is a robust perennial that produces large, sunflower-like blooms. With its upright growth habit and striking yellow flowers, it adds a vibrant touch to any winter garden. The false sunflower is attractive to pollinators and can be used as a border plant or in mixed flower beds.

By planting ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis and false sunflower in your garden, you’ll not only enjoy the beauty of their yellow blooms but also provide a valuable food source for winter pollinators. These perennials are sure to brighten up your winter landscape and add a touch of cheer to even the coldest days.

‘Moonbeam’ Coreopsis False Sunflower
Color Bright yellow Bright yellow
Blooming time Summer Summer
Sun exposure Full sun to partial shade Full sun to partial shade
Hardiness USDA zones 3-9 USDA zones 3-9

Fragrant Winter Flowers

When it comes to winter gardening, it’s not just about surviving the cold months, but also enjoying the sensory delights that nature has to offer. Fragrant winter flowers can add a delightful scent to your garden and uplift your spirits even on the coldest of days. Here are some fragrant winter flowers that you can consider:

1. Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)

Winter honeysuckle is a deciduous shrub that blooms in late winter or early spring. It boasts tiny white flowers with a sweet, intoxicating fragrance that fills the air. This low-maintenance shrub is not only fragrant but also attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden.

2. Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger)

A beautiful and delicate flower that blooms in winter, the Christmas Rose is a true marvel. Despite its name, it is not a rose but a member of the buttercup family. This perennial plant produces stunning white or pinkish flowers with a subtle fragrance. It can add an elegant touch to your winter garden and is often used in floral arrangements.

3. Daphnes

Daphnes are a group of flowering shrubs that offer a variety of scents and colors in the winter garden. From the sweet fragrance of Daphne odora to the spicy aroma of Daphne mezereum, these winter-blooming shrubs are sure to delight your senses. Their exquisite flowers come in shades of pink, white, and purple, and they can be planted in containers or in the garden.

Adding fragrant winter flowers to your garden not only enhances the visual appeal but also creates an inviting atmosphere for both humans and pollinators. Whether you choose winter honeysuckle, Christmas rose, or daphnes, their scented blooms will provide a sense of joy and tranquility during the colder months.

Winter-Flowering Bedding Plants

When it comes to adding instant color to winter borders and pots, there are several winter-flowering bedding plants that can do the job beautifully. These resilient plants can withstand the cold temperatures of winter while providing a splash of vibrant color to your outdoor spaces. Here are some top picks for winter bedding plants:

  1. Pansies: Pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) are a popular choice for winter bedding due to their wide range of bright colors and their ability to tolerate cold temperatures. These charming flowers will bloom throughout the winter, adding a cheerful touch to your garden or pots.
  2. Cyclamen: Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.) is another fantastic option for winter flowering. With their delicate blooms and attractive foliage, cyclamens can withstand the chilly weather and bring a touch of elegance to your outdoor spaces.
  3. Winter Heather: Winter heather (Erica carnea) is a hardy evergreen shrub that produces beautiful blooms during the winter months. It is available in various shades of pink, purple, and white, providing a burst of color even on the coldest days.
  4. Polyanthus Primroses: Polyanthus primroses (Primula x polyantha) are charming, small-flowered plants that bloom in a variety of vibrant colors. They are perfect for adding a pop of color to winter containers or beds.

These winter-flowering bedding plants not only survive the cold but thrive in it, ensuring your garden remains vibrant and inviting even during the harshest months. Whether you choose pansies, cyclamen, winter heather, or polyanthus primroses, you can enjoy bursts of color and beauty throughout the winter season.

winter bedding plants

Notable Winter Flowering Shrubs

When winter arrives and most plants go dormant, there are some exceptional shrubs that continue to bloom, adding beauty and interest to your garden. These winter-flowering shrubs are hardy enough to withstand the cold temperatures and provide delightful flowers even in the coldest months of the year.

Winter Honeysuckle

The winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is a fragrant evergreen shrub that blooms from late winter to early spring. Its tiny creamy-white flowers release a sweet, lemony fragrance, filling the air with an enchanting scent. This shrub is a perfect choice for adding winter interest and attracting pollinators to your garden.


Mahonia, also known as Oregon grape, is a group of evergreen shrubs that produce bright yellow flowers in winter. These flowers are followed by attractive blue-black berries that provide food for birds. Mahonias are tough and resilient, thriving in shady areas and tolerating cold temperatures with ease.

Winter Clematis

The winter clematis (Clematis cirrhosa) is a climbing vine with delicate bell-shaped flowers that bloom in winter. This evergreen shrub comes in various varieties, each offering different colored flowers. From creamy white to deep red, winter clematis adds a touch of elegance to the winter garden.

If you’re looking to create a winter garden that is full of life and color, these notable winter-flowering shrubs are an excellent choice. Their ability to bloom during the colder months makes them a valuable addition to any garden, providing interest and beauty when other plants may be dormant.

Bulbs for Winter Blooms

When it comes to adding a splash of color to your winter garden, winter-flowering bulbs are an excellent choice. These bulbs can withstand the cold temperatures and bloom in late winter or early spring, signaling the end of winter and the arrival of a vibrant new season.

Among the top contenders for winter-flowering bulbs are snowdrops, daffodils, and glory of the snow (Chionodoxa). These bulbs not only bring a pop of color to your garden but also provide a visual feast for the eyes after a long and dreary winter.

Snowdrops (Galanthus) are delicate white flowers that often emerge through the snow, making them a true symbol of hope for the coming spring. With their dainty petals and graceful appearance, snowdrops are a sight to behold as they emerge from the frozen ground.

Daffodils (Narcissus) are a classic choice for early spring blooms. With their sunny yellow or white blossoms, they bring cheer and warmth to the garden. Daffodils come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from large trumpet-shaped blooms to delicate, multi-petaled flowers.

Glory of the snow (Chionodoxa) is another winter-flowering bulb that deserves a place in your garden. These charming flowers feature star-shaped blooms in shades of blue and pink, adding a touch of elegance to your winter landscape.

Whether planted in containers, flower beds, or naturalized in lawns, winter-flowering bulbs are a surefire way to brighten up your garden during the colder months. Their ability to withstand cold temperatures and bloom when other plants may be dormant makes them a valuable addition to any winter garden.

winter-flowering bulbs

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand, and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” – Edith Sitwell

Winter Flowers for Pollinators

During the colder months, it’s important to provide food sources for pollinators that are active in winter. Winter aconites, cyclamen, and snowdrops are excellent choices for attracting winter-active bees and other early-season pollinators. These flowers produce pollen and nectar, offering sustenance to these important insects when food is scarce.

Winter aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) are small, bright yellow flowers that can bloom as early as January. They provide an early source of nectar for bees emerging from hibernation. These low-growing plants are easy to grow and can thrive in both sun and partial shade.

Cyclamen (Cyclamen spp.) is another winter-flowering plant that attracts pollinators. Its delicate blooms come in shades of pink, white, and purple. Bees are drawn to their sweet fragrance and the abundance of nectar they offer. Cyclamen prefers a cool, shady spot and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.

Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.) are delicate white flowers that often appear in late winter or early spring. They are a vital source of nectar for bees and other pollinators during this time. Snowdrops are easy to grow and can naturalize in gardens. They thrive in moist, well-drained soil and can tolerate both sun and shade.

Benefits of Winter Flowers for Pollinators

Planting winter flowers for pollinators not only provides them with essential food sources, but it also supports the overall health of the ecosystem. By attracting and nourishing winter-active bees and other pollinators, these flowers contribute to the pollination of plants, ensuring the reproduction and survival of many species. Additionally, they help maintain a balanced ecosystem by providing sustenance for birds and other animals that rely on pollinator populations. By creating a winter haven for pollinators, we can all contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and the health of our planet.


Winter aconites, cyclamen, and snowdrops are valuable winter flowers that provide a much-needed food source for winter-active bees and other pollinators. By planting these early-season pollinator-friendly flowers, you can support the survival of these important insects during the colder months. Creating a haven for pollinators not only benefits them but also contributes to the health and sustainability of our environment.

Winter Flowers for Fragrance

If you thought winter was a season devoid of sweet scents, think again. Even in the coldest months, there are fragrant winter flowers that can bring a delightful aroma to your garden. Daphnes, winter jasmine, and witch hazel are three flowering plants that bloom in late winter or early spring, offering a pleasant fragrance that will enchant your senses.

Daphnes, with their clusters of small, star-shaped flowers, emit a sweet and citrusy scent that can uplift your winter garden. Their delicate blooms come in shades of white, pink, and lavender, adding a touch of elegance to the landscape. Winter jasmine, on the other hand, is a vigorous climber that produces small, bright yellow flowers. Its fragrance is subtle yet captivating, making it a perfect choice for those seeking a more understated scent.

Another winter flower with a pleasant fragrance is witch hazel. This shrub boasts spidery, fragrant blooms in shades of yellow, orange, and red. The scent of witch hazel is warm and inviting, providing a comforting and soothing atmosphere during the winter months. These fragrant winter flowers can transform your garden into a sensory paradise, even when the temperature drops.

So, if you’re looking to add some olfactory delight to your winter garden, consider planting daphnes, winter jasmine, and witch hazel. Their fragrant blooms will not only bring pleasure to your senses but also serve as a reminder that even in the coldest of seasons, nature can still surprise us with its fragrant treasures.

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