WINTER FLOWERS FOR YOUR HOME GARDEN
Whether you live in the snow-capped northern part of the Indian subcontinent or the sunny winter lands in the south, there are flowers for every topography. Winter flowers may possibly be the easiest to grow of the whole spectrum, they require very basic care and some self-sowing plants grow back every year when temperatures drop. Let's delve deeper into some of the most popular and surprising varieties of flowers that bloom in winter or in some cases all year round.
Aboli pink flower (Crossendra infandibuliformis)
Famously known as Priyadarshi or Kanakambara, these beautiful orange-pink flowers are undemanding, hardy perennials that bloom year-round. They do well in direct sunlight as well as indirect light. Start seeds indoors in seedling trays or germination pots and transfer them outdoors or to a larger planter when a couple of true leaves appear. The plant usually blooms in 14-16 weeks from sowing.
Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia)
Alyssums are delicate soft small flowers that give off a sweet soft scent. Areas that don't get snow can grow significantly from fall/autumn to spring. Although the flowers fade with summer, they self-sow to return in the fall when the weather cools. They are easy to grow and care for and require full winter sun with moderate watering, avoiding dry spells. Seeds can be scattered directly over the growing area and pressed down for better exposure while exposed to light.
These beautiful perennials come in shades of white, blue and purple and attract butterflies and bees. In areas that experience no frost, they can flower year-round. There are many varieties of these daisy-like blooms that do well with sun and regular watering. Flowers that are allowed to mature on the plant each season aid in self-sowing. Asters need to first germinate indoors before being transferred to the final growing zone. Give them a rich soil and a little care and watch as they add color to your garden all year round.
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
The name is the testimony it needs, and while its generic name equates to the size of the mythical dragon, its botanical name literally means "like a snout". These medium-sized tall flowering plants come in every possible color and are a riot of saturated colors. A lover of cold climates they grow from winter to spring, but if well watered in summer, they return in spring with flowers as temperatures drop. Start Antirrinums in a starter kit indoors and move them into pots or flower beds when the day cools off and watch your garden come to life.
Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
With soft shades ranging from pale yellow to bright orange, these hardy flowers bloom from summer to snow, and even beyond in areas that have warm winter months. The great thing about calendula is that the more flowers you pluck, the more flowers it will produce! This hardy plant can be sown directly in the winter months in well-draining soil with full to partial sun, at least an inch deep.
Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)
This European beauty is at its most spectacular in winter, but it can be easily turned into a perennial with some basic care. These clustered beauties in pink, white, red, or purple are excellent as a ground cover or border plant. Seeds can be started indoors and transferred outside when the plant is strong. Candytufts like full sun and well-draining soil for abundant flowering.
Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus)
These wrinkled, sweet-smelling and long-lasting flowers are a joy to grow. Carnations are perennials that bloom from early spring to summer months and almost year-round in areas with mild winters. Both of these can be started indoors or planted directly in flower beds with nutrient-rich but well-drained soil. Frequent pruning and deadheading guarantees more blooms throughout the flowering season once they begin to bloom.
These hardy perennials, commonly known as mums, are a delight to every gardener when they bloom in a full spectrum of bright happy colors. Just give them a rich but well-draining soil and lots of sunlight and they'll reward you with flowers that last a long time and are easy to maintain. They can both be sown directly or started indoors and bloom year-round in areas with no frost. They require regular watering and are easy to propagate.
Cleome (Cleome hassleriana)
One of the easiest plants to grow from seed, perhaps too easy, is also known as a spider flower. This annual flowering plant is an excellent self-seeder and comes back every year when the right weather comes. The seeds can be sprinkled directly into pots or flower beds where they bloom from summer to early winter. Deadheading spent flowers promotes bloom time. They attract nasty insects that damage crops.
Coropsis (Coropsis tinctoria)
The sunny beauty of coreopsis is enough to brighten up any garden. A great perennial option, it can be sown directly in pots or flower beds. Give it well-drained soil and full sun to enjoy abundant blooms. To spread the seeds evenly and cover them lightly as they need light to germinate and the main point is to keep the soil moist at all times. You can also propagate them through cuttings in spring and summer. Dead heading and pruning, like all other flowering plants, will result in more blooms.
Corn Flower (Centaurea cyanus)
In the case of the corn flower 'weed but an unaffected plant' has never been true. Once considered a weed growing in maize/maize fields, it is now an ornamental favorite. Its bright blue color brings the needed contrast to any flower patch or arrangement and adds to its long shelf life and its ability to dry for decorative use and you're a winner yourself. Grow them directly in loose soil and keep it moist while they germinate and take root. Dead heads and prunes are often enjoyed to promote blooming and attract bees and butterflies.
Cosmos (Cosmos bipinatus)
They are colored clouds floating on slender stems. Hardy annuals that will bloom almost year-round in areas that see no frost, growing them is as easy as scattering seeds in well-draining soil with moderate moisture. These plants bloom for months and thrive on almost neglect, even in poor soil conditions. These hardy annuals also self-seed to the point of becoming invasive.
Baby's breath (Gypsophila paniculata)
Check out your Pinterest board or Instagram feed for flower arrangements, you'll notice wispy clouds of white popularly known as baby's breath. Also known as soapwort, it got the more common name baby's breath because of its gifted importance in baby showers. Seeds can be scattered directly in early spring in sunny areas with a well-drained soil. Give moderate, direct water to the roots to prevent rotting of the roots, but do not allow the soil to dry out too long. Give it a moderate fertilizer when the plant is setting up to produce abundant blooms later.
Pansy (Viola tricolor)
One of the most amazing wildflowers around the world, pansies are cool-season but short-lived perennials that will fill your garden with an array of colors. Pansies can be sown directly and also started indoors and transferred once the seedlings have established themselves. Give them a rich and well-draining soil with partial or full sun. You can promote blooming by deadheading spent flowers.
These are some common winter flowers but the list is endless. With a little effort, they fill any garden with colors and fragrances that man can never replicate. Remember to buy seeds from reliable sources for healthy plants and abundant blooms.
Start a flower garden, make yourself a cup of tea and sit and enjoy life as it was meant to be amidst nature.