The fact that plants, as a rule, need sunlight in order to grow leads lots of people to believe that it’s inherently difficult to grow plants during the winter.
However, as any gardener or plant enthusiast will tell you, there are plenty of plants that can not only survive but thrive in the cold. In fact, there are several hardy plant species that will continue to grow even when it snows!
If you’d like to identify some of the flora you see growing in the winter months or are looking for wintertime gardening inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, we’ll be exploring the wonderful world of snow plants, from the popular Daffodil to the less well-known Flowering Quince.
Lucile’s Glory of the Snow (Scilla luciliae)
As you can probably discern by this plant’s name, Lucile’s Glory of the Snow is a hardy winter plant that can easily grow through layers of snow. This is a plant of the perennial flowering variety, and you may also hear it referred to as Bossier’s Glory of the Snow. It originates from Western Turkey.
They flower during the early spring, meaning that they are often first spotted growing through the last of the winter snow. This makes Lucile’s Glory of the Snow the perfect transitional garden plant between winter and spring.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis)
You might already know Witch Hazel for its various medicinal uses. Because it’s an astringent, Witch Hazel has anti-inflammatory qualities that make it a good form of pain relief as a useful treatment for several skin conditions.
However, another benefit of Witch Hazel is that this bright, interesting-looking plant grows throughout the winter, even in snowy conditions! With that being said, Witch Hazel will only fare well in the snow if planted before the ground is frozen. This is a fairly low-maintenance plant, so it’s beginner-friendly in terms of care.
It will come as no surprise that the snowdrop is a snow-compatible plant! Snowdrops are symbols of purity and innocence due to their delicate petals and white color.
Since these flowers often spring up early in spring, while the winter snow is still on the ground, they are also representative of hope and new beginnings. Snowdrops are easy to grow because they don’t need much care apart from watering. However, it’s important to remember that these pretty flowers are toxic to pets.
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
Flowering Quince may not be as widely known as other snow plants, such as the Snowdrop or Daffodil (see below), but if you want a vibrant plant to brighten up your garden in the winter, you should definitely consider it.
Flowering Quince is a deciduous shrub that is native to Southeast Asia and can be white, red, or pink in color. This shrub also produces fruit that can be made into jelly or jam but should not be eaten whole because it’s very bitter.
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
Another shrub you should consider planting in your winter garden is Winterberry. While Winterberry doesn’t produce fruit to the same degree in very shaded environments, it’s quite shade-tolerant and will survive through the winter, even if it’s snowing.
Winterberry is actually a species of holly, making it the perfect garden addition for Christmas time. It’s native to Native America and certain parts of Canada since it prefers cooler, damper environments to dry, sunny ones.
Camellia (Camellia japonica)
Camellia is a type of flowering plant that grows best in partial shade, meaning that it often fares better in the colder months than in the summer. Camellias are evergreen shrubs that don’t need a lot of maintenance and bloom between November and April.
If taken care of properly, Camellias will thrive throughout the winter and shouldn’t be damaged by snowfall. The pink and red Camellia varieties, in particular, will contrast beautifully against the snow.
English Primrose (Prima vulgaris)
The English Primrose, often just called the Primrose, may look small and delicate. However, this is a surprisingly hardy flowering plant that can persevere through challenging weather conditions, including snow. Primrose is native to Northwest Africa, Southwest Asia, and Southern and Western Europe.
These plants bloom in spring but often come through while there’s still a fair coverage of snow. The flowers may be very pretty, but be careful not to ingest any of the plants or allow pets to do so since it is poisonous.
Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger)
The Christmas Rose is an obvious contender for your winter garden. Contrary to what its name implies, the Christmas Rose is not from the rose family. Instead, it’s part of the buttercup family! In addition to being a festive choice of plant, associated with Christmas traditions, the Christmas Rose symbolizes purity.
This plant flowers between late winter and spring and doesn’t need pruning, but it grows best in full sunlight. Even though the Christmas Rose can survive freezing temperatures, it shouldn’t be watered when the ground is frozen.
Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)
The Daffodil is commonly associated with spring and is often one of the first plants to grow after the winter season. However, Daffodils can also grow throughout the winter. This means that Daffodils growing through snow is a fairly common sight.
Daffodils are native to Northern Europe but they also grow in several regions of North America. When planted in September, Daffodils can liven up your winter garden with their bright yellow color and connotations of rebirth.
Eastern Sowbread (Cyclamen coum)
Eastern Sowbread is a member of the Cyclamen genus. This plant’s pink, shell-shaped flowers look beautiful against the snow. Eastern Sowbread is a tuberous, herbaceous perennial plant that usually flowers between January and April, making the transition from winter to spring.
With that being said, these are very small flowers, only growing up to 8 cm tall, so they may get buried under heavy snowfall.
Black Tulip (Tulipa cv. Black Hero)
Black Tulips will make an unusual, striking addition to your garden, especially if there’s snow on the ground! Black Tulips originate from the Netherlands and have come to symbolize royalty, strength, and power. It’s best to plant
Black Tulips in the middle of fall, and it’s important to use well-draining soil, especially if you live somewhere with lots of rain and snow. Plant these flowers in a sunny spot and they’ll be in full bloom come early spring.
Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
Winter Jasmine lives up to its name by being one of the hardiest flowering plants for winter and spring gardens. Winter Jasmine is native to China, where it is called ‘Yingchun’, meaning ‘flower that welcomes spring’.
Winter Jasmine is a deciduous perennial plant that brings joy and cheers to cold winter months as it grows through the snow and heralds the coming of springtime. The ideal conditions for growing Winter Jasmine are full sun and well-draining soil.
Pussy Willow (Salix discolor)
Pussy Willow is a species of a small tree that is native to both Northwest Asia and Northern Europe. It can grow up to 25 meters in height and is also known by the names ‘weeping willow’ and ‘Kilmarnock willow’. Pussy willow needs moist, but well-drained soil, although it can grow in both full sun and partial shade.
You should plant Pussy Willow in the fall and attach it to a stake for support as it starts to grow. Apart from that, all this hardy plant needs for the most part is regular watering to survive the winter.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily of the Valley is a flowering plant that typically grows in woodland areas. It’s native to most of the Northern Hemisphere, although it is considered an invasive species in North America.
The bell-shaped flowers of this plant are adorable, but you should never touch them because they can cause severe dermatitis and are very toxic if ingested. While the flowers usually die during the winter, this is a tough plant, so the foliage normally stays green and healthy, even in the snow.
Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
Winter Aconite is a member of the buttercup family. It is a flowering plant that produces purple or yellow flowers. The plant blooms during the winter, and the bright flowers look lovely against a snowy landscape. Assuming you don’t have any pets who might ingest these flowers (they are extremely poisonous when ingested, even by humans), Winter Aconite will look stunning in your winter garden!
As you can see, you have plenty of options when it comes to planting flowers during the winter, even if you live somewhere with a lot of snow.
Most of the plants on this list will keep their flowers and/or fruit throughout the winter into early spring, although some may only retain their leaves.
As beautiful as they are, some of these flowers are toxic to pets and humans, so if you have children or pets, make sure to check whether a plant is safe before you incorporate it into your winter garden.