Secrets of using winter flower and fragrance in the garden

When planting through the spring, summer and autumn, it’s sometimes an afterthought as to what will give colour through the winter months.

winter flowering plants
winter flowering plants

But now is the time to make sure you keep the colour continuing through until spring, along with adding some fragrance to the garden!

Typically you would think about having to plant evergreen plants to give colour in those winter months, but there are several deciduous shrubs that will flower through winter with no leaves at all, plus they can also bear the sweetest scent.

A stunning group of plants for winter are the Witch Hazels (Hamamelis). These have a leaf like a hazel and form a medium-sized shrub. They then bear exciting red, orange or yellow flowers in the winter all the way along the bare stems, with a zesty fragrance very much like the smell when you peel an orange! Also at this time of year they stand out as, before they drop their leaves, they go the most intense colour of orange, red or yellow, again depending on the variety as the autumn colour matches the flower colour!

If you’re looking for a winter flowering climber with fragrance, Jasminum nudiflorum would be ideal. It drops its leaves in the autumn after turning yellow and then produces masses of lemon yellow flowers through December and January on bare stems – great for a sunny or partially-shaded situation.


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If you’re looking for more of a shrub, then the winter flowering honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) is very pretty, growing to 5ft. all round, this bears clusters of tiny white flowers through December and January and again is very sweetly scented.

If the space is only small you may be looking for something that grows much smaller; the Winter Box (Sarcococca confusa) are very striking, bearing green leaves but covered from top to bottom with sweetly scented white flowers, they grow to only 2ft. tall, so ideal alongside a path or in a container.

There are many other scented winter flowering plants including Skimmia, Mahonia and Daphe, and now is an ideal time to get out in the garden and get busy filling gaps, as with hardy plants, it gives them time to establish a strong root system through the winter ready for spring.

If you plant some of these gems along with winter evergreens this will not only give a variety of colour through the winter months but also a sweet scent when you walk by!