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In the Bleak Midwinter.

Branches, winter

Colourful plants to brighten your garden in the Winter months.

Many people abandon their gardens in the winter months. Apparently it’s boring, nothing grows and everything looks dead.

So what plants can you use to get some colour back into your garden that has lost all of its colour and foliage in the last couple of months?

Here we are going to look at a few plants which can provide some much needed colour in your garden in the winter months, when the skies are grey, and the last of the autumn leaves have dropped is when we need a garden pick-me-up.

Camellia x Vernalis ‘Yuletide’

Camellia x Vernalis ‘Yuletide’

This is an upright shrub that gives us a rare treat of red flowers in the winter months. Growing to a height of approximately 4.5 metres and spreading 3 metres, it thrives in dappled shade, planted in acidic based soil. It can also be planted in pots close to the house to give it some shelter from the elements.

A great plant for the Yuletide to be grown with is Euphorbia Robbiae, and good colour combinations with light greens, purples and whites.

Prunus x Subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’, pink flower

Prunus x Subhirtella ‘Autumnalis Rosea’

Appearing in sporadic bursts from early winter to early spring, this delicate pale-pink cherry is actually a shrub, which grows onto a long stem, creating a lollypop tree. The flowers are fairly small, but there are an abundance of them to compensate for the flower size. Grow it in free-draining but moisture retentive soil in full sun and it can grow to 5 metres in height. It can be ideal to frame a dark back drop or entrance to help show off the flowers.

Grow it with Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘boulevard. Ideal colour combinations are violet, purples, dark pink and greys.

Cyclamen, red flower


In the depths of winter, these flowers thrive. They are low maintenance and left without too much disturbance they will seed and spread in most versions of shade. They grow to a height of about 15 centimetres, and spread to approximately 20cm. The Cyclamen are available in a range of colours from white to mid pink to dark pink and reds.

Grow these with Galanthus spp.

Iris Unguicularis, purple flower

Iris Unguicularis.

For the majority of the year, this is a dull plant. But for 2 months in the winter, when colour and brightness is needed, it produces huge (up to 10cm wide) pale blue flowers, which are frost resistant. It is native to North Africa, and can grow to 30cm high, and spread of 50cm. If it is grown at the base of a south facing wall, in perfect growing conditions of 50/50 mix of rubble and gravel with the garden soil, it thrives in quick draining soil, and is very low maintenance.

Ideal colour combinations of yellows, greens pinks and reds. Grown with Helleborus Argutifolius.

Acacia Dealbata, yellow tree

Acacia Dealbata.

This is an Australian Tree, that can grow to 10 metres high, with a spread of 4m. So plenty of room is needed. It grows an abundance of colour in the form of yellow pom-pom flowers, that are against a back-drop of chalky blue/grey foliage. It is a low maintenance tree, that doesn’t require pruning. It is happiest in a warmish spot, in free draining soil receiving what sunshine is available to it.

Great colour combinations are reds, whites oranges and browns, and ideally grown with Phorium ‘Apricot Queen’

Other plants that could add colour to your garden:

Skimmia Japonica subsp. Reevesiana

Clematis Urophylla ‘Winter Beauty’

Pseudowintera Colorata

Libertia Peregrinans

Helleborus Argutifolius

Clematis Cirrhosa var. Purpurascens ‘Freckles’

Chimonanthus Praecox ‘Sunburst’

Iris Reticulata

Clematis Napaulensis

Helleborus x sahinii ‘Winterbells’

For more ideas on winter flowering plants to brighten your garden in winter try looking here: RHS Plants for Winter Interest

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