Shrubs & Climbers That Bring A Little Joy To Long Winter Days

If you live in a region with cold winters, then it can feel like a long wait before your garden wakes up in spring. One way to add some color to those grey winter days is to plant some hardy shrubs or climbers that flower enthusiastically while the rest of your garden is sleeping.

Here are some ideas that can be found at many garden centers, or plant suppliers online.

4 Hardy Plants That Flower In Winter


One of my absolute favorites is the stunning camelia (Camelia japonica). These gorgeous shrubs have showy, rose-like, blooms and can be quite spectacular in a good year.

They are vigorous and fairly hardy, the only big factor you need to consider is the ph of your soil. Camelias are ericaceous, or acid loving. And they really won’t be happy in alkaline conditions. 

Sadly, the soil on my homestead is quite chalky, but Lucy’s garden has acid soil and her Camelia’s first blooms brighten up those often gloomy days that follow the Christmas holiday season. 

This photo was taken on 12th January 2024, with temperatures dipping below freezing at night, and she’d had a light snowfall just a couple of days earlier. 

It’s made me nostalgic for the amazing camelias we had at our previous home, so I think I’ll set up a big tub full of ericaceous compost this year, and plant one by my back door!

It’s a bit more trouble to care for a large shrub that’s in a tub rather than in the ground, but in this case I think it’s worth it. 

Winter Jasmine

Winter flowering jasmine (Jasmine nudiflorum) is another family favorite. It’s not as picky as the camelia when it comes to soil conditions and while it lacks the sweet scent of jasmine, winter jasmine will provide you with beautiful and abundant sprays of yellow flowers to light up your yard. And I am lucky enough to have one in a pot, just waiting to be planted!

Winter Jasmine - yellow flowers- in February

Winter jasmine, like its summer flowering cousin, is happy to clamber over fences and anything in your garden that you want to disguise. From a distance it looks quite similar to Forsythia which flowers later in spring but winter jasmine is altogether more dainty.


Clematis are one of my all time favorite climbers. Clematis cirrhosa is a winter flowering variety that can cope with cold weather in many regions and flowers in the depths of winter.

Clematis cirrhosa doesn’t like to have its roots sitting in soggy soil. I train my clematis up our fences, and the rain shadow provided by a fence or wall is a bonus if your winters are as wet as mine

The flowers on this winter blooming clematis are not as ostentatious as some of the summer flowering varieties but they add a welcome touch of color in November and December through to early spring, and a fresh glow to your fence or hedge. 

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis) is a plant with a long history of medicinal use. I can remember my granny soaking cotton wool in astringent Witch Hazel liquid and dabbing it on bruises. You can still buy the liquid in pharmacies worldwide, and it’s distilled from the leaves and bark of the plant. And you can find plenty of studies on Google Scholar, into its properties and effects.

The flowers look like dainty little clusters of yellow tassels. I was given this lovely specimen recently. I won’t be distilling Witch Hazel extract any time soon, but I will enjoy looking at this beautiful addition to our garden

The new year is the absolute best time to be a gardener isn’t it? With so much promise ahead and so many flowers just waiting to spring into life again. 

Who will be the first to flower in your garden? Let us know in the comments below, or a share a photo on our facebook page! 

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