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Below is a list of winter blooming plants which we can grow in Australia and the Northern Hemisphere. So many people, Australians in particular, join the huge autumn/winter online search. What can I find to bring some colour to my garden? I thought spring and summer had all the flowers. No, there are almost as many winter plants as there are for any other season of the year.
Some of these plants will flower only in winter, and others will flower in very early spring, but can still be called winter flowering plants depending on where you live. The trick is to see just what's offering at your local nursery or online at the time you want that splash of colour. Just go out and buy what's flowering! My Mum swears by that method. However, always check out the plants themselves. Make sure they look healthy and fresh.
They should not have roots growing through the holes at the bottom. This means they're root bound and not likely to do well. Although my Leopard Lilies were root bound, but I wanted to 'save them' from the nursery so I took them home and they never looked back. It depends on which plant it is and just how much you have to have it. Also, yellow leaves are a bad sign. The plant should at least look healthy. Check for any defects which you think may mean disease.
Many plants are grown indoors and then put outside when they arrive at the outdoor nursery. So look for signs of suffering in your plant. If there are a lot of unopened buds which look like they'll never open, they probably never will. Any garden centre worth its salt will give you a guarantee - "bring it back if it doesn't flourish".
It's October or November in the North which means Fall. It's October or November down here in the South, which means it's Spring. As far as getting ready for Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, it's definitely not too late to plants seeds in autumn. Getting them in right now will give you an early spring flowering garden.
And we can do the same down under in mid to late autumn next year. Which Flowers? Well, in Nature, Wildflowers give us a glorious show of blooms from Spring, through Summer and even in Autumn, each plant flowering at its appointed time.
Just follow Nature in your garden and get planting seeds. Depending on which Climate Zone you are in, the list of different seeds you can plant is quite long. The following are just some of them which you can try and just see what comes up. Many seeds do much better if planted in Autumn when the soil is not too hot. Nature does it this way.
When the flowering period is over, the seeds begin to form. When they are fully grown, they fall to the ground and this seeding period can be anywhere from late Summer to late Autumn, according to the species. Even if it snows and snows, those little seeds are actually kept warm by the snow itself as they develop and establish their root systems.
Hardy Annuals to Plant in Autumn. The ones that you can start on. These are the hardiest and should make it right through to bring you flowers in spring and summer. In Nature, so many plants bloom in late summer and produce their seeds in autumn. Quite often gardeners will give up because they think they have failed when their seedling do not thrive. But after reading Cool Flowers, below, I now know that it's just a matter of timing and choosing the right plants: those which have stood the test of time with the right plants.
List of Hardy Annuals For Autumn Planting. Just A Few For Starters.
Update October 31st, 2014.Having just finished reading 'Cool Flowers' by Lisa Mason Ziegler. If I had a garden I would begin right now. But as writing about flowers is all I can do right now and for the immediate future, I can only advise that you take a look at this book. I have given this life changing garden story a whole page to itself because it sure deserves it. Learn how to grow your flowers using Cool Weather Techniques to get the most and much more out of your garden. See it here: Cool Flowers.
Most of us know our local garden centres well enough not to be fooled. And when buying online, always look for the guarantee. And always be cautious about buying from indoor garden centres like Bunnings, etc. These plants have probably never seen the real light of day. I know, my daughter bought some and planted them according to the tag - in full sun. Well, they just couldn't handle it.
In this case, the best thing to do is to introduce them to the real world very gradually. Start them off indoors and never subject them to a very cold day first off. It's far better to buy from your local nursery or from a well respected online garden centre which has a good reputation and a 12 month Guarantee.
Winter perfection. Viola odorata.
Of all the winter blooming plants, I have to say that Violets are unbeatable for their beauty, their unique perfume, their long flowering period and their remarkable hardiness. They are certainly not a delicate plant as I once thought many years ago. No, these little beauties come up everywhere all year round. They self seed and they also spread by runners or stolons. Everywhere.
I was married in mid-winter and I just wanted violets. Well, I got them. Just a simple bouquet, but when they arrived at the front door, I was bowled over by the perfume. And if I was married again, today, I would still have the same thing. We had violets on the wedding cake and they were delicious. If you love blue flowers for a wedding bouquet, I can't think of a prettier choice.
Galanthus nivalis. The Snowdrop.
Jasminum Polyanthum. The Pink Jasmine and my favourite. Flowering at the same time as Daphne odora. An exquisite combination of perfumes.
The stunning Hardenbergia (Happy Wanderer). It is a trailing groundcover or rockery plant. It's one of the dearest little plants I've ever seen. An Australian Native.
It's June and we're still waiting for my Mum's Japanese Windflower (Anemone) to start sending up its stems which will hold the delicate white flowers which seem to float on the breeze. Anemones are not annual plants. They are perennials which come in white, pink and purple.The plants are always there, all year round, forming a pretty carpet of green, but it's a delight to be actually waiting for a plant to come into flower in winter. When the time is right, the stems shoot up way above the foliage so that the petals seem to dance in the wind without being held back by their leaves. Anemone hupehensis var. japonica. Update October. No Windflowers this year! Someone forgot to feed them. Oh well ...
This plant needs a fanfare. It is a stunner. I'm speaking of the one outside my parents' room in the old days. Unfortunately, it seems it belongs to the old days. I can't understand why, because it has very few problems - we never had even one. It is pest and disease resistant and should be in everyone's garden, especially outside a window or door. As far as I'm concerned, it's right up there with the Daphne odora and the Jasmine polyanthum (pink Jasmine). In fact, with its pretty pink tubular flowers, it actually resembles the pink Jasmine flowers.
And the main attraction? It's perfume. Heavenly. It is also a winter blooming plant, depending on your climate. If you are in northern Australia, you may be able to have it flowering in August. In cooler climates it will flower in very late winter/early spring. And honestly, the Honeyeaters love it (and the Silver Eyes). How I loved waiting for it to flower each year. The flowers last all spring and into summer in a temperate climate which is where we lived at the time. It's hard to find nowadays, even though it originally came from Central America.
Do search your local nurseries because my Mum bought one when she arrived in Queensland. However, the spot she chose to plant it in had terrible clay soil and no drainage. So it died. But do look out for it, it's worth it.
The Bird of Paradise Flower (Strelizia). Photo Credit: Strelizia . An amazing plant whose flowers really look like its namesake. Give it plenty of room and it will be a real talking point in your garden.
Perfect winter plants. These stunning shrubs above look just like an Australian Native but they are not. Gorgeous bright red pom pom flowers, full of bird attracting nectar. And they only flower in winter. Mine is still not fully out yet (June in Australia), but when it is the birds will be deafening (mostly Noisy Miners where I am, but Honeyeaters love them too, of course).
Then there's the pink form which flowers in spring through summer and right up into autumn. Calliandras are also called 'Powder Puff' plants. So easy to grow. They average 3.5 to 6 metres in height. There's a pink Calliandra which flowers in spring, summer and autumn, and there's also a white, but the red is definitely a spectacular winter blooming plant.
Unfortunately, they are very hard to find online at the moment. But I have found one site where you can buy the seeds: Australian Gardener.com.au
One winter plant I lived with during my time in a cold climate in Australia was the Holly Bush. It was winter and there it was. It wasn't very big but with its dark green glossy pointy leaves and its red berries, it was a new and delightful experience because I had never seen one before. It sure loves the cold. But did you know that each Holly Bush is either male or female so you need both to get any berries? It does help to know this if you've been wondering why you have no berries ...
You can always find a winter blooming plant among the Grevilleas. Grevilleas flower all year round depending on the types, but right now (June/July) the Honey Gem is coming out and has to be seen and tasted to be believed!!! Photo Credit: Honey Gem
Narcissus tazetta. Jonquils. They have several flowers to each stem.
For the botanist, probably quite a lot. But for those of us who just need to know the basics, Daffodils have one large flower head per stem, and Jonquils have several smaller flowers per stem. They are both called Narcissi, belonging to the Narcissus family. Our Jonquils have been flowering for over a month in their little pot in June/July. You'll find them in your nursery and online now. So grab a catalogue from your favourite supplier. There are over 50 different species of Narcissi which have given us thousands of cultivars. So for winter blooming plants, Narcissi are great for starters. Jonquils are definitely winter blooming plants, but you may also have luck with Daffodils in late winter if you live in the right place.
The dainty sweet Pansies bloom from winter through spring and summer and into early autumn and even into winter again. Violas do the same thing and so do Heartsease or Johnny Jump Ups (Viola Tricolour). These dear little favourites will flower and flower. Remarkable when you think about it. They may look delicate but they are tough. Pansies look especially pretty with Lobelias around them, but any place in your annul or perennial garden will look much more cheerful with Pansies scattered around or clumped together. And now science has once again done it - with Pansies. New Wave Pansies.
The original Pansy Flowers were the Viola tricolour plants which grew as annuals in Europe. However, today we have just so many varieties available which have been cultivated and crossed (hybridized) and crossed again, that we can choose whether we want the original Heartsease or some of the many hybrids we see in magazines and catalogues everywhere. Pansies have always represented 'thoughts', especially in Victorian times. So if you receive a card with Pansies or Violas on it, someone is probably thinking a great deal about you. Simply beautiful little faces smiling up at you, even through the snow.