12 Colourful Plants For Winter Gardens

Harry Hotspur plant

Green-fingered Brits have been urged to liven up their backyards this winter by planting some hardy, bright-flowering evergreens. Outdoor specialists BillyOh.com have researched a dozen of the best flowers and shrubs to place in British gardens this winter. From vivid winter heather and the classic Christmas rose, to tough firebird flax lily and traditional witch hazel, these twelve plants could make any British garden more pleasant during the colder months.

It can be a difficult task keeping up the appearance of UK gardens over the winter, but a couple of specially selected flora could make a big difference outdoor spaces according to gardening experts. A spokesman for BillyOh.com said: “We passionately believe that predictably rubbish British weather this winter should be no excuse for accepting a dilapidated garden. An outdoor space should be the pride of any home and the envy of neighbours, even when the cold and rain sets in. Our research has uncovered twelve eye-catching examples of pretty plants that won’t be put off by a bit of a chill in the garden. A lot of far-eastern varieties seem to thrive in tough conditions, along with some classics that are native to this island. Filling your garden with yellow, pink, purple and red flowers on evergreen plants will really stand make it out in a sea of boring brown backyards this winter.”

1 Harry Hotspur (Primula Auricula)

Harry Hotspur plant

These beautiful primulas are semi-evergreen and will withstand the worst of the winter before blooming brightly at the start of the new year.

 2 Heather (Calluna Vulgaris)


Found naturally in moorland, winter-flowering heather is great in pots or bedding, can live for several years and will add pinks, purples and whites to drab winter gardens.

3 Sow Bread (Cyclamen Hederifolium)

 Sow Bread

The ivy-leaved version is the hardiest cyclamen species and will thrive throughout a cold British winter with beautiful flowers.

 4 Christmas Rose (Helleborus Niger)

Christmas Rose

An evergreen and long-lasting buttercup, the Christmas rose has all the beauty of a wild white rose but is much more robust when the weather worsens.

5 Firebird (Flax Lily – Phormium)


‘Firebird’ flax lilies are another evergreen perennial that retain their strong leathery leaves and distinctive colours throughout the year in a range of soils.

6 Elephant’s Ears (Claire Maxine – Bergenia)



Rhizomatous ‘elephant’s ears’ bergenia, also known as Claire Maxine, will bulk out garden bedding with drooping red foliage during the colder months.

7 Tsatsumi Gold (Hinoki Cypress – Chamaecyparis Obtusa)

Tsatsumi Gold

Coniferous tsatsumi gold shrubs can bring lovely, subtle yellow-golden hues all the way from their native Japan to dull winter gardens in Britain.

 8 Witch Hazel (Wisley Supreme – Hamamelis Mollis)

Witch Hazel

Distinctive yellow to red witch hazel is a fragrant and textured shrub that will flower during the winter in all British gardens.

9 Korean Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis Brachytricha)

Korean Grass

This far-eastern feather grass will bring unique silver tones to make outdoor spaces stand out against the neighbours.

10 Common Sage (Tricolor – Saliva Officinalis)

 Common sage

The common tri-colour sage is a versatile evergreen shrub that can liven up British backyards this winter with grey-green leaves and purple flowers.

11 Grand Prix (Camellia Japonica)

Grand Prix

The camellia is another Asian winter hero – a dynamic shrub with bright flowers that jump out from its leathery leaves, it is sometimes known as the Rose of Winter.

 12 Angelina (Sedum Rupestre)


Clusters of little yellow flowers on the evergreen Angelina will sprout either side of the height of winter and in any soil that isn’t sodden.


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Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!