In many parts of the country, winter is a time for leafing through seed catalogs and dreaming about what to plant in the garden once spring arrives. But in Houston, gardeners can grow plants all year long. Of course, not all plants do well in all seasons. So to help you decide which plants to grow when, here are some of our favorite flowers and plants to bring color to your winter garden.
- Pansies: These winter-tolerant flowers are available in more colors than a box of Crayola crayons, including yellow, gold, orange, purple, violet, red, white, and purple. If their eye-catching colors aren’t enough to love them, they’re also edible — use them to decorate cakes and salads. The winter variety, V. heimalis, is also known as ice pansies. They can freeze solid and emerge from that state ready to grow and flower.
- Snapdragons: These tender perennials can give your garden height (from 12 to 36 inches) and just about any color except blue. Snapdragons need full sun to partial shade and handle the frost well. But once it starts heating up, they stop blooming.
- Begonias: This easy-to-grow annual is a favorite in Houston because they bloom year-round and come in a full spectrum of colors. There are varieties suitable for planting in a garden, container, or hanging basket.
- Lantana: This perennial from the verbena family doesn’t care how cold it gets in Houston or whether or not it snows. It thrives in little moisture and full sun, and attracts butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Some varieties have a trailing habit, perfect for spilling over a container or hanging basket. Upright varieties can grow large, so you’ll need to trim them in spring and fall.
- Petunias: This popular annual comes in a variety of hues, including white, yellow, violet and pink, as well as multicolored varieties. They prefer cooler temperatures, so are well suited for Texas winters. Large-flowered varieties look great in window boxes. You can also find trailing varieties.
- Alyssum: With their dense clusters of small flowers, sweet alyssum is an ideal groundcover for winter gardens. Though not as vibrant as pansies or snapdragons, alyssum creates a neutral base for more colorful plants to pop. In our hardiness zone, alyssum can grow year-round but may stop flowering in the heat.
- Camellias: Southerners love this evergreen plant that flowers in colors from pale white to pink to deep red. The two most successful camellia species for Texas are “Japonica” and “Sasanqua.” Both prefer somewhat shady locations with well-drained soil amended to be more acidic than native soil. Hardy hybrids that withstand freezing temperatures include “Polar Ice,” “Snow Flurry,” “Winter’s Hope,” “Winter’s Rose,” “Winner’s Star,” and “Winter’s Charm.”
- Lenten Rose: This hardy perennial forms a clump of attractive green foliage decorated with nodding blossoms. It’s ideal for a woodland garden or a part-shade border. An established plant can reach 20 inches in height and at least as wide, decorated with as many as 100 flowers.
- Ornamental Kale and Cabbage: Ornamental kale and cabbage bring color to dormant garden beds in winter. Ornamental cabbages have big round heads, with large succulent leaves of blue-green, pink, magenta, and white. Ornamental kales are frillier and more open, like a wildflower bouquet. The tall maroon-red kale (Redbor or Scotch kale) grows to 3 feet tall. Shorter types come in hues of red, pink, lavender, blue-green, and white. If you ever grow tired of looking at them, you can eat them.
Cultivate a vibrant retirement at Holly Hall.
With a maintenance-free lifestyle and a host of life-enriching amenities and services, older adults thrive at Holly Hall. From daily wellness checks to a calendar full of activities to engage mind, body, and spirit, Holly Hall residents have every opportunity to live each day to the fullest.
If you enjoy gardening, there are spaces on campus to grow flowers, fruits and vegetables indoors and out, including a greenhouse, outdoor raised beds and garden beds. We also have a Garden Group that meets monthly. It’s a great way to meet other gardeners, share knowledge and stay active year-round.
To learn how independent living or assisted living at Holly Hall can help you or a loved one flourish, contact us. The more you know about our continuing care retirement community, the more convinced you’ll be that Holly Hall is right for you