The best winter-flowering shrubs for Sydney gardens
At Flower Power, we believe any garden can be as colourful as you want it to be - even in the dead of winter. Include some of our favourite winter-flowering shrubs and you can have a cold-weather garden that's blooming with colour and fragrance. Grow a mix of evergreen, winter-flowering shrubs, climbers and perennials to bring colour to your garden, and also provide much-needed nectar and pollen for birds and insects.
Our top winter-flowering shrubs
These plants, which include a mix of natives and exotics, thrive in warm temperate climates such as Sydney. Most are tolerant of the occasional frost so will thrive even in gardens away from the coast. Lightly prune after flowering.
These native evergreen shrubs and small trees flower over many months. Reliable winter-flowering choices include hairpin banksia (Banksia spinulosa including ‘Birthday Candles’) and heath-leafed banksia (Banksia ericifolia), which has spectacular, orange, candle-like flowers. Depending on the species and variety, plants grow from 1-5m high. Plant in full sun to part shade.
Camellias deliver beautiful winter flowers in white, pink, red and bicolours. While many sasanqua camellias are coming to the end of their flowering period in winter, the japonicas (Camellia japonica) are only just hitting their straps. Grow as a tall evergreen hedge or feature shrub to around 2-3m high. You'll get the best out of these plants in part shade. Click here for more information on sasanquas, and here for an article all about japonicas.
These native plants bloom for many months and can put on a show of winter flowers. Eremophila nivea grows as a small to large shrub (1-2m high and wide) with mauve flowers. Best grown in full sun.
Grevilleas are long-flowering native plants that bring colour to gardens through winter and are loved by the birds. All varieties should be planted in full sun for best results. ‘Robyn Gordon’ is one of the best small grevilleas for gardens. For more info on the many varieties of grevillea available, click here.
This native climber, also known as Happy Wanderer, has purple pea flowers during winter. There are also varieties with white or pink flowers and shrubby forms including ‘Mini Ha Ha’. Hardenbergia can be trained up a trellis, along a fence or grown as a groundcover. Grows 1-5m high or wide. Best in full sun to part shade. Learn more about hardenbergia here.
These naturally compact, evergreen shrubs start flowering in autumn and winter and continue right through spring. Grow this one as a hedge or feature shrub. There are many named varieties of hebe, with small spires of blue, mauve, white or pink flowers. Some have purple leaf colouration. A reliable choice is Hebe x franciscana ‘Blue Gem’. These New Zealand natives need soil with good drainage. Plants grow around 1-2m high. Plant in full sun. Want more tips on growing hebes? Click here!
These winter-flowering perennials grow in shaded gardens or can be featured in pots for winter interest. There are many named varieties with stems of white, pink, red or green nodding flowers that stand above their leaves. Water well through dry times, especially in summer. Remove older leaves in autumn to reveal flowers that form in winter. Grows to around 30cm high. Hellebores grow best with winter sun and summer shade. Here's an article all about growing hellebores.
Daisies are one of the surprises of the winter garden. In temperate climates, Marguerite daisies flower well through winter and into spring with cheery white, pink or yellow flowers. Grow for cut flowers or to brighten up a sunny spot. They can be a little tender, so protect from heavy frost. Prune to a couple of centimetres above woody growth after flowering. Federation daisies are a type of Marguerite daisy - click here to learn more about growing them. Plants grow to around 1m high but there are also smaller, more compact forms ideal for containers. Best grown in full sun.
Compact, shrubby varieties of polygala flower through out the year and can be relied on for a display of bright purple flowers in winter. This delightful evergreen grows to around 1-2m high. It performs best in full sun in well-drained soil, but can tolerate a little shade. Learn more about polygala by reading this article.
Closely related to many native plants including waratah, proteas are native to South Africa and thrive in well-drained, sunny locations. Many species flower through winter with long-lasting and colourful flowers and bracts, which make popular cut flowers. Shrubs to grow for winter colour include Serruria ‘Blushing Bride’, Leucadendron and Leucospermum spp. Grows 1-3m high (depending on variety grown). All perform best in full sun. Keen on proteas? Read more about them here!
While most commonly grown salvias flower from spring to autumn when they are cut back, there are winter-flowering salvia species that add colour to gardens. They are ideally suited to sunny cottage-style gardens. Winter-flowering salvias include ‘Timboon’ (pink), ‘Lipstick’ (hot pink), Salvia wagneriana (pink and cream), and pineapple sage (red flowers and pineapple-scented leaves). Plants grow 1-2m high. Plant in full sun. Learn more about salvia and its care needs here.
Grown for its everlasting papery flowers, statice, also known as sea lavender (Limonium perezii), is a perennial that blooms in white, pink or blue tones. It is a good seaside and cottage garden plant which is best planted in well-drained soil and positioned beside a path, in a rockery or gravel garden or raised bed. Grows to around 60cm high. Grow in full sun but protect from frost as it can be tender.