Winter-interest shrubs

Flowers that open in the depths of winter are a rare and valuable asset. A selection of shrubs not only offer dainty winter blooms, but rich fragrance too, which wafts across the garden to attract pollinating insects and gardeners alike. Popular examples include Daphne wintersweet, witch hazel and shrubby honeysuckle. Other shrubs offer vibrant berries or colourful bare stems over the winter months.


Offering flowers, berries or attractive stems, these shrubs come in all shapes and sizes. Some blooms are small and demure, others packed with scent, while a few are more vibrant show-stoppers. Additional colour comes from berries in a range of hues and young stems that resemble glowing pokers.


Most types will flower best in a sheltered, sunny spot. When planting, enrich the soil with well-rotted manure or compost. This will help to increase the fertility of the soil and its ability to hold on to moisture. Many of these shrubs are woodlanders, and enjoy an annual mulch of well-rotted compost or leaf mould over their roots.


It can take two years for the roots of your shrub to become established into the soil after planting. If the roots of a shrub dry out during this period, they may be badly damaged so that the shrub struggle to survive.

Did you know?

Winter-flowering shrubs are a valuable asset to a wildlife-friendly garden, providing nectar in the coldest months. This can be a lifeline for overwintering bumblebees and other insects that venture out in search of food on milder winter days. Strong fragrance helps to draw them to these often demure blooms from far and wide.

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