The sun is just barely coming up on the horizon as I step out into the landscape.  January is a quiet time in the garden, but if you plan accordingly, you can have some color bursting through the greenery.  With a little planning bloom times can begin as early as January or February and it’s possible to sustain successive color throughout the year.

‘King Alfred’ Daffodils host a large bright yellow flower, but any variety delivers brilliance against a green landscape.  For a softer compliment try a mix of colors or ‘Salome’ Daffodil.  This Daffodil has white petals and a light peach center.  There are actually 13 main divisions of Daffodils, and depending on your research sources (and how they divide the plants) there are 40-200 different daffodil species and over 32,000 registered cultivars!  Each flower is categorized by size, shape of cups and variances in petals.  Additionally, Daffodils require very little care to grow and spread effortlessly, so you’ll have plenty to share with friends in years to come! 

Cyclamen are also a great little accent plant.  Bloom times can vary depending on the variety; some flowers tend to appear late fall but there are other varieties that bloom in late winter.   Their small size makes them ideal for containers on a front doorstep as they offer a cheerful bloom in the wintertime with semi-evergreen foliage throughout the year.  In addition to outdoor spaces or containers, cyclamens are a low maintenance indoor plant which is perfect for holiday décor.

Cyclamens, Daffodils and Snow drops make a nice addition under a tree canopy or even highlighting a Camellia.  Camellias are large and beautiful blooms that in the winter make a grand statement.  Color ranges from reds, yellows, pinks, and whites as well as some multi-colored flowers.  

Generally, the bloom time for Camellias is between Christmas and during late winter, however, there are a few exceptions.  ‘Yuletide’ Camellias have perfect big Christmas-red blooms, and a splash of yellow stamens in the center sometimes.  Nevertheless, don’t let the name fool you, this variety can bloom as early as October or November.  All of these bloom times are dependent on the particular weather- especially temperatures in your region as well as your soil or moisture conditions.

One of the hardiest Camellias is the ‘Pink Icicle’ variety, presenting a soft pink flower with a double bloom.  If there are unusually cold temperatures you may want to protect it, but generally they are hardy.  This beauty will bloom in February, March, or April – before most flowers in your garden are blooming.  

‘April Kiss’ Camellia would also be lovely placed at a garden entrance. This shrub displays bright rose-colored formal double flowers in the early spring also.   This Camellia has nice compact growth of eight feet by five feet. 

Remember, winter color is a not a novelty.  Explore the plethora of gorgeous bloom options for your desirable winter colors.  This is a perfect time of year to browse garden catalogs and consider your options.  If you concentrate your research for your specific area, the benefits will be plentiful!

Written by Karen Smith, Lane Forest Products Plant Specialist