While it is far cheaper to grow shrubs from cuttings, there will inevitably be times when you just want to purchase a few full-grown shrubs to plant. Autumn is a good time to plant a range of full-grown shrubs in your garden, to fill in those gaps. These winter flowering shrubs are all excellent choices for bringing colour to a winter garden, and can have a large impact almost right away:
Winter Flowering Viburnum
There are a wide range of different viburnum that you could consider. Evergreen varieties like V. tinus, V. burkwoodii and Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ could all be interesting options to consider.
Another winter flowering shrub produces prolific panicles of creamy flowers. If you have a male and a female plant, red berries will also form on these shrubs, providing even more interest in your garden early in the year.
Mahonia japonica ‘Hivernant’ is a great choice of winter flowering shrub for many gardens. It boasts spiky dark green leaves and forms racemes of yellow, lemon-scented flowers from November right through until March. These flowers are followed by purple berries through to early summer.
Winter Flowering Mahonia x media
Mahonia x media varietal, ‘Winter Sun’ is a similar winter flowering shrub that can also have a big and lasting impact in the garden over the coldest months. This also has long, arching racemes of yellow flowers between November and March and purple berries through to summer.
This elegant winter flowering shrub works well up against a house wall or in an edge border. It is a deciduous plant that springs into life in the middle of winter, with sulphur-yellow blooms. These flowers have an exquisite perfume, forming on the bare wood stems when most other plants lie dormant. Also known as wintersweet, it is worthwhile noting that this plant can take a few years to establish before it blooms. But is is considered to be well worth the wait.
Winter Flowering Coronilla glauca
Coronilla glauca is a great winter flowering shrub for small gardens. It has yellow flowers with a strong sweet-lemon fragrance, which contrast appealingly with the blue-green foliage. Another hard working and good value addition to a winter garden, these shrubs can flower from December to April – sometimes even longer in optimal conditions.
Winter Flowering Stachyurus praecox
This is another spectacular winter flowering shrub which is ideal for early pollinating insects. It has tiny bell shaped flowers in a pale yellow shade which dangle from its bronze coloured stems. They come into bloom in late winter and early spring. Arching branches give this shrub a rounded habit when grown free-standing, though it can also be trained onto a wall or fence.
This is an unusual winter flowering specimen shrub which boasts long, dangling racemes of pale yellow flowers which appear on its bare branches in around February and can remain there until April. In addition to its flowers, this shrub also has great autumn colour – its leaves turn to shades of reddish pink and orangey hues late in the year. This is relatively easy to grow but does require an acid soil.
This shrub is known for its winter flowering habit. It produces plenty of deep, red flowers in the winter, and is usually in flower between November and January, reaching its peak profusion around Christmas time, when a splash of colour is very much desired.
Winter flowering jasmine will bring not only colour, with its small yellow flowers, but also a delightful fragrance to a winter garden. It is very hardy and extremely easy to grow. The canary yellow blooms that form on this versatile climbing shrub in late winter are a sure sign that spring is on its way.
These are just some of the shrubs that you could consider growing in your garden. Now is a good time to seek out and order these plants in pots to plant out in your garden over the autumn months.
Which winter flowering shrubs are your favourites? Share your tips and suggestions for winter colour and interest in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.