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Winter flowers

Winter Flowers Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn

Winter flowers are an asset to any garden and balcony and it is always amazing to see just how many plants open their flowers in the middle of the cold season to bring joy to every gardener's heart!

   
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Bodnant Viburnum 'Dawn'

Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' - whitish pink flowers in the winter

£21.40 *

Chinese Redbud 'Avondale'

Cercis chinensis 'Avondale' - a compact spring bloomer

From £30.40 *

Dwarf Farrer Viburnum 'Nanum'

Viburnum farreri 'Nanum' blooms in the winter

£23.40 *

Dwarf Oregon Grape 'Apollo'

Mahonia aquifolium 'Apollo' forms large, yellow flowers in April and May and has a...

£19.90 *

Farrer Viburnum

Viburnum farreri - an early bloomer with pinkish white flowers

From £23.40 *

Garnet Red Witch Hazel 'Feuerzauber'

Hamamelis intermedia 'Feuerzauber' has intense, dark red flowers already starting in...

£34.40 *

Laurustinus

Viburnum tinus

From £21.40 *

Laurustinus 'Eva Price'

Viburnum tinus 'Eve Price' - an evergreen shrub

£19.90 *

Light Yellow Witch Hazel 'Primavera'

Hamamelis intermedia 'Primavera' with light yellow flowers that appear in mid-February

£34.40 *

Orange Witch Hazel 'Jelena'

Hamamelis intermedia 'Jelena' forms orange flowers in January

£34.40 *

Orange Witch Hazel 'Orange Beauty'

Hamamelis intermedia 'Orange Beauty' has bright orange flowers in the middle of January

£34.40 *

Oregon Grape

Mahonia aquifolium blooms from April to May; the yellow flowers are popular with insects

From £19.90 *

   
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More useful information about Winter Flowers

That is why a few winter-flowering bushes should be planted in every garden. For example, the snowball Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' (photo on the right) is one of the classics among the fragrant winter bloomers. With its intense hyacinth fragrance, it beguiles the garden from November and throughout the winter, and you can smell it from afar. Other varieties such as the evergreen Mediterranean viburnum ( Viburnum tinus ) or the winter scented snowball ( Viburnum farreri ) delight the winter gardener's heart.
 

The Best Winter Flowers

Besides the snowballs, the second big classic from the family of winter flowers is witch hazel. This plant is extremely popular, and its often intensely fragrant flowers are often used for natural cosmetics. Another popular winter flower is the bright yellow Mahonia (Oregon grape). Especially worthwhile when buying winter flowers is the variety Mahonia 'Winter Sun'. Also, the honeysuckle is worthwhile looking at when it comes to buying winter flowers, especially types such as the winter flowering honeysuckle Lonicera purpusii. Another classic is the winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum), which likes to start the end of winter on a warm, sheltered wall with sun-yellow flowers and a bewitching fragrance. Its star-shaped flowers open on bare branches long before the leaves appear. Hence the Latin name, which translates as 'naked-leaved'. Even the Chinese Judas tree Cercis 'Avondale' begins its flowering in late winter on bare branches. The winter flowering cherry Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' even has autumn in its name. Mostly, however, it waits for mild days towards the end of winter, and then opens the first wave of charming cherry blossoms, in favourable weather, often a little later in the spring followed by a second flowering.

Winter Flowers Lubera Mahonie Winter Sun

When and How Should They be Planted?

Always, except in the winter, when the ground is frozen. When you buy and plant winter flowers, you simply have to make sure that a planting hole that is twice as big as the root ball is dug carefully. The root ball must be loosened up so that the roots can fan out. They should be placed loosely in the hole and then carefully filled with soil and some compost. The plant must stand in its new place at the same height as it has grown in the container. Press firmly and water well. Through watering, the roots stick better in the ground and there are no air holes. It is important that newly planted winter flowers are also watered in the winter in frost-free weather, as they can dry out. This is particularly true of evergreens.

Location

Place fragrant winter flowers near the entrance to a house, in front of a balcony or by a window. This is so that the fragrance can be perceived when the weather is still too cold to spend a long time outdoors. With some winter bloomers such as witch hazel or the Judas tree, the individual flowers are quite small, and you have to see them from close up in order to capture their full splendour. Witch hazels also look good from afar, as they often wrap themselves in flowers. Even a snowball looks good from a distance, and its scent is so intense that it can be seen far and wide. Basically, almost all winter-flowering shrubs are suitable for integration into a mixed shrub hedge or into a shrub border. In combination with evergreens, the flowers are even more effective. They also look good when they are planted under winter-flowering perennials like Helleborus. Many winter-flowering shrubs are valuable insect plants, for example, witch hazel. These trees can all be used as solitary plants in the garden. Only the winter jasmine and the winter flowering cherry need a warm, sheltered location to get through the cold season and develop their flowers. These woody plants should therefore not be planted in an exposed location in the garden. Incidentally, a winter flowering cherry looks even more beautiful under Helleborus, as the flowers complement each other well.

Can You Use Winter Flowers in a Container on the Balcony?

Sure, that works. The container should not be too small and over the years it is recommended to cut the shrubs so that they do not get too big. In addition, in cold winter, the container must be protected from frost. This is not necessary on a mild balcony or on a sheltered terrace, where winter-flowering shrubs can best thrive in a container without any protection. In a container, they must be regularly watered and fertilised like all potted plants. However, you should fertilise during the growth phase in the summer, and then again as soon as the plants start to bloom. They need water on a frost-free day, even in the winter. Otherwise, winter-flowering shrubs on the balcony are just as easy to maintain as in the garden and they hardly need special attention. Incidentally, they are particularly interesting in combination with winter-flowering perennials such as Helleborus and evergreens in pots and they make a lovely January display.

Why Do These Varieties Bloom in the Middle of Winter?

That winter-flowering plants such as witch hazel and other woody plants in the garden already bloom in November, December and January, happens by a whim of nature and has to do with the hormones in the plants. Normally, the overwintering buds of the woody plants contain a plant hormone that prevents them from blooming in November, December and January, and makes them wait for the right season for forming flowers and producing scents in the garden. During the cold months, this hormone slowly breaks down in the woody plants, and as soon as this internal clock has expired and spring comes, the buds bloom. With some winter flowers such as the winter flowering cherries, however, this hormone is present only in very small quantities. Therefore, a short cold snap in November, December or January is enough to reduce it. If a few mild days follow then it will be enough to trigger a first pre-bloom on these plants. And that may already be the case starting in November. The actual flowering of the plants will follow in the spring.

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