Plant of the Moment – January

January — Create a Winter Wonderland

Witch Hazel PlantAdd the wow factor to your winter garden with striking plants that look their best right now. Whether you’d like to fill your borders with hardy shrubs covered with fragrant flowers, clad a fence or archway with colour, or plant a small flowering tree to create a focal point, you’ll find a great range of seasonal stunners in garden centres this month.

A choice selection of the very hardiest plants put on their best show in the depths of winter, providing a bright outlook from the comfort of your armchair, and an even warmer welcome when you step outside. Top plants to consider are:

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis varieties)
Unusual fragrant flowers in clusters of tiny ribbons develop along the entire length of stems. Popular AGM varieties include ‘Pallida’ (sulphur-yellow), ‘Jelena’ (coppery-orange) and ‘Diane’ (red).

Oregon Grape (Mahonia varieties)

Choose from a range of robust and reliable Mahonias to provide evergreen foliage and golden seasonal flower, followed by black grape-like berries in spring. Good AGM varieties include ‘Winter Sun’, ‘Apollo’ and ‘Charity’ among many others.

Winter Flowering Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense)
Viburnum Tinus - Eve Price

A majestic shrub producing deliciously fragrant pink/white flowers. Popular AGM varieties include ‘Dawn’, ‘Deben’ and ‘Charles Lamont’.

Christmas Rose ((Helleborus niger)
Helleborus Pink Frost2

This compact perennial is perfect for a slightly shady position, producing clusters of flowers through winter and into spring. Also look out for the many wonderful Hellebore hybrids now available.

Top tips for extra Winter colour

1. Choose your planting sites carefully. Ensure new plants are positioned in full view from a window or prime position by patio doors so you can enjoy them every time you look outside on dull days.

2. Add winter colour to your front garden to welcome you home and cheer-up your local neighbourhood.

3. Fill patio pots and baskets with hardy winter bedding plants, like pansies and violas with cheerful faces in a kaleidoscope of colours.

4. Cover the ground under trees or shrubs with a carpet of Winter Aconites (Eranthis hyemalis). Although dry tubers are only available for autumn planting they’ll establish better from growing plants, and small pots of flowering aconites are available to buy during winter. Get ready to buy snowdrops too!

5. Plant clumps of winter flowering Iris unguicularis to brighten a dry, sunny spot at the base of a wall or fence, and use blooms as cut flowers to bring indoors.

Other favourite plants of the moment

Create striking winter displays by choosing some of the following for your planting combinations:

  • Aucuba varieties
  • Clematis cirrhosa and its variety ‘Freckles’
  • Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas)
  • Coronilla ‘Citrina’
  • Daphne ‘Jacqueline Postill’.
  • Dogwoods (Cornus varieties)
  • Elaeagnus varieties
  • Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’
  • Rosebud Cherry (Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’)
  • Skimmia varieties
  • Sweet box (Sarcococca)
  • Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum)
  • Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox)
  • Delightful deciduous shrubs producing scented flowers. Ideal to cut and bring indoors! Popular AGM varieties include ‘Grandiflorus’ and ‘Luteus’.

Information provided by permission of the HTA.