Winter colour: our 5 favourite plants for adding winter cheer
2020 was a most unusual year, and in 2021, we're still trying to find some semblance of normality. First, the drought and bushfire crises kicked into another gear, and then the Coronavirus pandemic changed the way we live our everyday lives. With most of us having spent time isolating at home over the last 18 months, we think everyone could do with a little extra cheer as winter hits - and as The Garden People, the thing that cheers us up most is a garden full of winter colour. We’ve put together a list of our top 5 favourite winter-flowering plants. All of these are suitable for planting in June, and will add vibrant winter colour to your garden. Even if you're a little sick of being at home, with a garden full of these blooming beauties, you won't want to be anywhere else!
Commonly known as ‘winter rose’, these lovely plants are ideal for adding soft, whimsical colour to a shady spot. They also do really well in pots. Ensure soil is humus-rich before planting, water well after planting and don't allow them to dry out during summer - a thick layer of mulch will help keep them happy. To learn more about hellebores, click here.
These structural evergreens offer a long-lasting floral display in a range of vibrant, eye-catching colours, thanks to their showy bracts. Part of the protea family, leucadendrons require well-draining soil to thrive and prefer slightly acidic conditions. Otherwise, they're really easy to care for and require little maintenance. To encourage more prolific flowering in future and keep your plant compact, you should trim spent flower heads regularly. Learn more about caring for leucadendrons in this article.
For masses of elegant blossoms through late winter into spring, it’s hard to go past a cymbidium orchid! Also known as boat orchids, these gorgeous plants enjoy Sydney's climate and are ideal for growing in pots. Potted orchids have the bonus of being able to be brought inside for a holiday, so you get to enjoy their flower show inside, too! Plant in specialty orchid mix and don't let the flower spikes die on the plant. Instead, cut them off and enjoy them in a vase so your plant can use its energy to grow new flowers. For more info on growing cymbidium orchids, click here.
Invite birds and butterflies into to your garden with these nectar-filled native beauties. With two sub-types - spider and toothbrush - these intriguing, spindly flowers come in a range of colours from whites and creams through to mauves, pinks, reds, oranges and yellows, and sometimes even combinations of two or more. Grevilleas are incredibly versatile, and different varieties can be used for a range of purposes. Popular uses include hedging, groundcover, potted features and even weeping trees. Plant in well-drained soil and feed with a low-phosphorous native fertiliser in spring. Learn more about growing grevilleas here.
The happy and colourful little faces on these super-cute garden favourites make them perfectly cheerful additions! For added dimension, plant both pansies and violas together - the large pansy faces and diminutive viola faces will add a harmonious contrast. Both plants will thrive in full sun or part shade and work beautifully in pots, hanging baskets or in garden beds for groundcover or bordering. Plant in well-draining, nutrient-rich soil or potting mix and feed frequently with a high-potassium liquid fertiliser. Do this and you'll enjoy a proliferation of flowers all winter long in a range of colours including white, yellow, purple, burgundy, blue and pink. To learn more about pansies click here, or if you're keen on violas, click here!