Winter may seem like the season of death for most plants, but there are many flowers that bloom in winter. Instead of having dreary gardens punctuated by dead bushes, you can have a yard filled with colorful winter garden flowers standing in contrast to the snow. It’s a sight for sore eyes in an otherwise blank landscape.
Because of the extreme temperatures, gardening in winter isn’t as easy as in other seasons. This guide will detail all of the basic ideas you need to know to achieve a good flower harvest, allowing you that pop of color within the blanket of snow. Follow it next time the cold months come and watch your bare garden bloom to life!
The most crucial stage for winter gardening is what you do before winter actually comes. These steps are usually done before fall is over and the soil freezes. While there are specifics that vary depending on which climate zone you’re in, here are the most common practices followed by gardeners.
- Clear Out Your Plots: Remove dead plants, weeds, and leaf litter to avoid the buildup of extra clutter. While these can still serve as nutrient-filled compost, they may harbor fungi and pests that will harm your winter plants. Leave only enough that winter pollinators have shelter.
- Amend Your Soil: While this is usually reserved for spring, amending your soil during fall helps ensure that your bulbs to plant in winter have a source of nutrients. So add your fertilizers, compost, and manure during this time.
- Research and Purchase the Seeds of Your Chosen Plants: It’s good advice to know what flowers to plant in winter. That way, you can purchase ahead and avoid getting anything that isn’t frost-tolerant. Purchasing your winter flowers to grow early also allows you more time to plan your seasonal garden.
So, what exactly should you be cultivating when the cold season comes? Here are some winter flowers to plant in your garden this winter:
Easy-to-care plants don’t necessarily mean that you can just plant them and forget about them until they bloom. They still need care, but less so than other plants. They’re not fussy, they can survive in extreme temperatures, and they generally thrive on a little bit of neglect.
- Hellebores: This perennial evergreen plant produces velvety violet flowers, often blooming in either early or late winter. They may look high-maintenance, but these plants are undemanding and can fend off extreme cold.
- English Primrose: There are many colorful varieties of this plant, and they can survive winter in milder climates.
- Violas: These flowers can sometimes bloom all winter long, and they can disperse their seed without human intervention. You’ll probably find new ones pop out during the next winter.
Planting high-yielding winter flowers means you’ll have plenty of blooms to harvest throughout the season.
- Daffodils: The bright yellow hues of daffodils are a familiar sight during late winter and early spring. Plant them during fall to ensure that the bulbs have enough time to grow.
- Chrysanthemums: Late-blooming chrysanthemum varieties flower during winter, and they can yield up to 10 tons of flowers per acre. Scaled down, that’s a lot, even for small gardens.
- Pansies: Pansies are one of the most well-known winter plants with their distinctive colors and designs that resemble faces. If cared for properly during winter, they can bloom and produce a good yield.
Depending on the type of flower you’ll plant, the steps to start seeds for your winter garden can vary. Here are the most common processes for your reference.
- Plant During Fall: Some plants need to germinate for a few weeks before they bloom. If you’re planting an early winter-blooming flower, planting them during fall is the best practice.
- Use Seedlings If You Can: Sowing seeds directly on the soil during winter does not guarantee growth, even in greenhouses. It’s better to transplant seedlings during this season.
- Don’t Forget the Bulbs: When planting flowers that grow from bulbs, remember to prepare the bulbs in advance. This means cutting off dead stems and storing them in a dry place before planting.
Now that you’ve done your research and prepared your plots, it’s time to begin planting. The following steps aren’t strict, but they’re a good foundation of what to do to start the season right.
- Plant your seedlings or bulbs according to conventions. This will differ from plant to plant, so make sure you check this during your initial research.
- Add protective elements. This is especially relevant if you’re in climate zones with harsh winters. Row covers, hoop tunnels, and cold frames are some basic structures to include.
- Water your plants sparingly. There isn’t much evaporation during winter, so avoid overhydrating your plants. As a rule of thumb, water only when the surrounding soil feels dry or before freezes.
When you can harvest winter flowers depends on the type of plants you have. In general, you’ll want to harvest flowers during the mid-afternoon when temperatures are highest. Here are some other tips to remember:
- Make sure to get long stems and cut them at a 45-degree angle.
- Put them in a vase of water in a place with milder temperatures.
- Remove the foliage on the section of the stem underwater to slow down the growth of bacteria.
- Understand Your Plant Hardiness Zone: Winter plants thrive best when planted in an appropriate zone.
- Early Winter VS Late Winter Varieties: Some flower varieties bloom early or late into the cold months. This is an important consideration before you begin planting to ensure that they bloom at the appropriate time.
- Water Before a Predicted Freeze: This way, your plants can take in the moisture before the soil freezes over.
Gardening during the winter may seem like a fruitless task, but it’s possible to grow vibrant blooms even on the coldest days. Use this guide as a foundation so you can begin planning what flowers to plant for this upcoming winter season!