While western Washington has a reputation for dull gray winter days, our climate allows for a tremendous amount of beauty in all seasons. Below are some of our favorite plants that provide winter color.
Hellebore 'Jacob' is one of several varieties in genus Helleborus that bloom during the winter months. This perennial will grace your garden with pure white blooms while your summer-blooming plants are at rest. Click here for our hellebore bloom chart. Performs well in winter containers
Viburnum tinus 'Spring Bouquet'
The white flowers of this great plant pick are an excellent source of late winter color. It tolerates a variety of sun and water conditions and produces shiny blue berries in summer. 'Spring Bouquet' is an evergreen cultivar reaches 8' tall and 6' wide in maturity.
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'
Highly fragrant rosy-pink flowers emerge from purple-pink anthers on bare stems in mid-winter. Use as a hedge or as a patio specimen for much-needed winter fragrance and color.
Early Blooming Bulbs
Early blooming bulbs, like these Rijnveld's Early Sensation Narcissus (Daffodils), provide a happy surprise as early as New Year's Eve. Most narcissus deer and rodent proof, fragrant and will handle light snow and temperatures in the teens. Plant bulbs in the fall for a quick return on investment.
Jelena Witch Hazel
Fiery orange flowers adorn this deciduous shrub in winter, bringing much needed warmth to the garden. Once established and fertilized in spring, Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' becomes a remarkable source of fragrance and winter color.
Crataegus x lavalleei - known commonly as Lavelle hawthorn - produces orange-red fruit that often last into late winter. It's not uncommon for its glossy leaves to remain as the fruit appear, creating a striking contrast.
'Arnold Promise' Witch Hazel
Bright yellow flowers emerge from bare branches providing a burst of color just when we need it most in the Pacific Northwest. In fall, this deciduous shrub displays orange and yellow foliage.
In the season of giving, Mahonia x media 'Charity' does just that. While Mahonia (known as Oregon Grape) is an evergreen shrub native to the PNW, this hybrid originated in Northern Ireland. Sprays of vibrant yellow flowers provide a burst of color on dull winter days.
Sasanqua camellias are an excellent source of winter color and sustenance for the local hummingbird population. 'Pink-A-Boo' (a sport of 'Yuletide') produces soft pink flowers with bright yellow stamen while 'Setsugekka' is bright white. Camellia can easily be espaliered to cover fences and create screens.
Arbutus unedo 'Compacta'
Commonly known as Dwarf Strawberry Tree, this evergreen shrub emits clusters of white bell-shaped flowers in late fall and winter. It's fruit - when ripe - is edible and can be eaten fresh or used for cooking. Under-ripe and over-ripe fruit may cause nausea. This versatile shrub is native to southern Europe and Ireland.
Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii 'Galaxy'
This deciduous shrub is commonly referred to as Snowberry for its clusters of snow white berries. In early fall, berries contrast beautifully against its dark foliage. Once the leaves drop, berry-laden cut branches make great accents for containers and bouquets.
Myrica pensylvanica 'Bobee'
This compact deciduous shrub selection is known as Bayberry and is the source of Bayberry fragrance used in candles and air fresheners. It is native to the American east coast and prefers rocky slopes and well-drained soil. Bayberries are a crucial winter food source for birds as they are high in fat.
Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'
White flowers in spring give way to shiny red berries in fall and winter. This deciduous shrub, commonly known as Brilliant Red Chokeberry, is easy to grow as it tolerates a variety of soil types and moisture levels. Prune in later winter to promote more growth.
Have you had success with any of these plants? Do you have a favorite source of winter color that isn't on our list? Let us know in the comments section below!