One goal for an attractive garden is to have some color interest at all times of the year. In the winter season it can seem like a challenge to have something flowering in the garden, however, there are some plants that can add color to the garden in January. Here are a few plants to consider adding to your garden to take care of January color:
Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha)
Paperbush is a deciduous shrub that can provide superb winter interest and fragrance. This well-branched shrub can begin blooming in December and continue through the winter. The individual florets are tiny, but a few dozen make up larger golden yellow flower clusters that catch your attention. You can smell paperbush plant before you see it with a fragrance similar to gardenia with a slightly spicier element. It thrives in partial shade with well-enriched, moist soils. During the rest of the year, the shrub has an attractive shape and form with bluish foliage. In the autumn, the foliage turns rich shades of yellow.
Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose (Helleborus sp.)
Helleborus is a flowering, low-growing, evergreen perennial. Plants have saucer-shaped flowers in the winter. The flowers can come in lavender, pink, and white colors depending on the species. These nodding flowers can add some color in late winter to early spring. Helleborus typically prefer moist soils and light to moderate shade. The foliage is shiny, dark green. Helleborus can work well as a ground cover in shady areas of the landscape.
Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)
Snowdrops bulbs that flower early in the winter and early spring. Even though snow drops are small, only 4 to 6 inches tall, they can provide an early sign of color when several are planted together for a greater mass of color. They should be planted in an area that retains moisture throughout the year. Snowdrops easily spread by bulb offsets to form new clumps, so plant it in a naturalized area so they have room to roam.
Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox)
Wintersweet is a fragrant deciduous shrub with yellow-white, fragrant flowers that appear in the winter and spring months. It grows in a range of soil conditions as long as it is moist and well-drained but should be planted in full sun to partial shade. ‘Grandiflorus’ is a cultivar of wintersweet with showy, yellow flowers but is not as fragrant as the species.
Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension Agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.