Good Life

Winter Blooms

Just because the weather is cooler doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an outdoor garden. Here are some colorful options to consider, depending on where you live

If you think flowering plants can only be enjoyed outdoors in the spring, fall and summer months, think again. Even if you live in a colder climate, there are flowers (and even veggies!) that thrive in the cold.

To see what plants are best for your area, find out which planting zone you’re in by visiting the National Garden Association’s Learning Library at

Then, grab your gardening gloves and get going! Here are some popular winter plants you can enjoy in zones throughout the United States and Canada.

Veggies and Herbs

Zones 1-3
Due to harsh weather conditions, plants in these zones need to be extra hardy to survive. But fast-growing annuals, including many vegetables and herbs, have a good chance of surviving. Expert gardeners recommend plants like beans, broccoli and potatoes, along with salad greens and herbs like basil, oregano and rosemary.


Zones 9-11
These annual or biennial flowering plants have dark purple, bell-shaped blossoms and mottled gray leaves that are the showstopper of any garden. They thrive in full sun but don’t need regular watering. As a Mediterranean plant, the Honeywort’s normal habit is to grow in winter, bloom in spring, set seed and die, and then germinate from seed in the fall.


Zones 9-11
Also known as the marigold, these colorful flowers typically bloom in the summer and fall, but many will stick around longer, and some will provide a second bloom in the dead of winter. And even when they’re not in bloom, the green leaves add color to your garden. Plus, calendula makes delicious tea.


Zones 8-9
A cooler-weather cousin to the pansy, these small, cheerful flowers include both pure species types and hundreds of hybrids in all shades of the rainbow. Many varieties are fast-growing and will self-seed, giving you years of enjoyment. Another bonus: Violas are edible flowers, making them a great addition to your salad plate.

Witch Hazel

Zones 5-9
The evergreen shrub typically produces vibrant red-hued blooms (a few varieties produce yellow flowers). It should be planted in full sun, though it tolerates some shade. Besides looking pretty, witch hazel is incredibly fragrant and has multiple medicinal uses, like treating mild burns and insect bites.