Though we are in the dead of winter, spring will be upon us in the next few months, with many plants coming into bloom. Our landscapes look bare and uninteresting; however, several plants produce colorful flowers during the winter months adding color to the landscape.

Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) is a small deciduous tree that reach a height of 15 feet. It produces fragrant yellow flowers with maroon on the inside in January and February. They require the sun to part shade with well-drained soil.

Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is a dense evergreen trailing shrub that grows from a central crown in a small mound up to four feet high. It has small trifoliate leaves with bright yellow flowers that lack fragrance. It easily roots where the branches touch the ground. The plant requires full sun to part shade and can tolerate dry soils.

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Daphne (Daphne odora) is a densely branched evergreen shrub with glossy leaves that can grow four- to six-feet tall. Some cultivars have variegated leaves. The blossoms are white to pink in color and are highly fragrant when they bloom in February. Prune them after flowering if their growth becomes leggy. Daphnes have short life spans and do not tolerate transplanting. They tolerate full sun to part shade.

Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) is a deciduous shrub and has an attractive branch structure. It can reach a height of five feet. The plant produces large clusters of small, highly fragrant yellow flowers that have a striking appearance, coloring the winter landscape. It prefers partial shade and rich, well-drained soil. Like daphnes, they do not tolerate transplanting.

Several species of annuals produce flowers in the cold weather. Pansies, which are a species of violets, are the most popular, and they provide instant color to many landscapes when planted in mass. Several cultivars produce small flowers and are sometimes called “Johnny-Jump-Ups.”

Snapdragons produce spikes of flowers that come in several colors and grow in the warmer weather. Remove the dead flowers to encourage the plants to make new ones. They prefer full sun to part shade. Soil that drains well is essential since these plants will develop fungal diseases and deteriorate if the soils stay wet.

One perennial that produces winter flowers are the Lenten roses (Helleborus spp.). They have dark green evergreen foliage and bloom January through March, during Lent, where it derives its name. The plants do best in the shade to part shade and fertile, well-drained soil.

The flowers are white or lavender, but new cultivars are pink, yellow, red, and purple. After blooming, they produce seed pods. The seeds drop to the ground, and new seedlings emerge that can be transplanted.

Though we are in the middle of winter, some plants can liven up the home landscape with colorful flowers. Consider planting some to add interest and beauty to your garden.

One of the most critical components of growing anything is the quality of the soil. UGA Extension Gwinnett will offer a virtual program on soil basics for the home landscape March 26 from 6 to 7 p.m.. You can contact the Extension office to register.

The 2021 Annual UGA Extension Gwinnett Plant Sale has been canceled due to concerns about COVID-19. If you have sent in payment, the Extension will provide a refund. We look forward to having our plant sale in 2022.

Timothy Daly is an Agricultural and Natural Resource Extension Agent with UGA Extension Gwinnett.

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