Snow-resilient flowers – 5 beautiful blooms that will withstand winter weather

Come sunshine or snowfall, these pretty planting picks will help to brighten your garden

composite image of winter flowers
(Image credit: (From left to right) Oksana_Schmidt / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images – rolfo / Moment / Getty Images – Nik Cain / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Whether growing in patio pots or garden borders, winter flowers lift the spirits through the colder, grayer months. But if you’re worried about impending snowfall ruining your planting efforts, you needn’t be – some varieties are tough enough to stand up to such conditions.

What’s more, these cold-season plants tend to be easy to look after, making them ideal for beginners. Plus, most will return year after year, so they're great investments for your winter garden.

violas in the snow

Violas are small yet tough

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5 garden flowers that can withstand snow

While some plants need protection from frost when temperatures drop, the following winter flowers will tolerate colder weather.

1. Violas

violas in the snow

Violas are ideal for winter containers

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‘The viola may look delicate, but don’t be fooled,’ says Jen McDonald, a co-founder of Garden Girls. ‘It is, in fact, a very hardy plant perfectly suited for cold winter conditions.

‘Violas bloom from fall into winter and provide a pop of color to beds and borders,’ Jen continues. ‘They look best planted in masses or rows.’ They are also well-suited to winter containers and hanging baskets.

Violas should be planted in moist but well-draining soil, and benefit from deadheading. Protect them from slugs and snails. ‘Given the right conditions, you may just find that they bloom again in the spring,’ Jen adds.

Top tip: As violas are short, Jen recommends planting them in front of perennials or in pots. 

Jen McDonald
Jen McDonald

Jen McDonald is a garden expert and co-founder of Garden Girls, LLC, based in Houston, TX. With 14 raised garden beds and 400 square feet of garden space, Jen grows cut flowers to peanuts, amaranth to okra, and everything in between.

2. Camellias

camellia shrub in flower in the snow

Some varieties of camellia bloom early in the year

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For something larger, consider camellias. These evergreen shrubs have stunning, peony-like blooms, with some of the hardier varieties blooming in late winter.

Plant expert Autumn Hilliard-Knapp recommends the ‘High Fragrance’ variety, available from Perfect Plants Nursery, known for its glossy, dark green foliage and gorgeous, scented flowers. ‘These blooms occur in the late winter and spring and can withstand cold temperatures and even some snowfall,’ she says.

‘Choose a location in your garden that provides partial shade to protect the plant from excessive sun exposure and cold winds,’ Autumn continues. ‘Mulch around the base of the plant to conserve moisture and insulate the roots.'

Prune camellias lightly after flowering to maintain a compact shape and remove any dead or damaged branches, she adds.

Autumn Hilliard-Knapp
Autumn Hilliard-Knapp

Autumn is a horticulture specialist and marketing professional at Perfect Plants Nursery. With four years of experience in the horticulture industry, she has developed a passion for helping people create beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces to enjoy. Her expertise in horticulture encompasses a broad range of activities, including plant care and selection, landscape design, and maintenance.

3. Snowdrops

snowdrops in snow

Snowdrops grow from bulbs, but are best planted 'in the green'

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As their name suggests, snowdrops are unperturbed by snowier conditions. Their elegant, bell-shaped flowers make them a personal favorite, and if you plant them in the ground, they have a tendency to spread and rebloom year after year. 

Try growing them beneath trees or shrubs where they will appreciate the dappled shade. They also look stunning in pots (and can be transplanted into the ground once they’ve finished flowering, if you wish).

While snowdrops can be grown from bulbs, it is generally more successful to plant them ‘in the green’ – when they have already grown their leaves.

4. English Primroses

yellow primroses

These small and sweet blooms brighten the winter garden

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The English primrose is another favorite of Jen McDonald’s, who comments on how the gorgeous hues provide a welcome sight in an otherwise snowy landscape. 

‘It blooms from winter to spring and tolerates partial shade,’ she says, adding that it’s perennial, so will flower each year.

To prolong blooming, Jen recommends pinching off the expired flowers. Try to keep the soil moist, too – a layer of mulch can help. 

After a few years, English primroses will spread into clumps, which can be divided and replanted around your yard. 

5. Hellebores

pink hellebores in snow

There are many varieties of hellebores to choose from

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Hellebores have nodding double or single flowers in a spectrum of pretty shades, from inky almost-black (try 'Winter Jewels® Onyx Odyssey' from Burpee) to speckled white (such as 'Wedding Party® Confetti Cake', also from Burpee).

'Plant them in semi-shaded areas with well-drained, fertile soil,' advises gardening expert Alexander Testel of Frugal Frontier. Waterlogged or excessively dry soil should be avoided, he adds.

Alexander also recommends pruning the old or damaged foliage in late winter or early spring to encourage new growth.


What are some good snow-resilient choices for container planting?

Snowdrops, violas, primroses, and hellebores are all ideal choices for winter patio pots, as are early crocuses, winter heath, and outdoor cyclamen. Remember to ensure good drainage and keep them relatively sheltered from winds to help them thrive.

What are some snow-resilient shrubs?

As well as some varieties of camellias, consider other winter-flowering shrubs such as winter jasmine, witch hazel, and the sweetly-scented winter daphne. There are also a good few hardy shrubs that offer greenery, structure, and – if planted in the right place – backyard privacy over winter, such as hollies.

As well as planting flowers to bring life to your winter garden, consider giving visiting feathered friends a helping hand, too. Feeding the birds is a great way to support your local ecosystem during the colder months, and they’re a joy to watch as they flit around your space.

Holly Crossley
Contributing Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then; over the years, she's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator. Having worked for for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.