The AGC Blog

Where to See Colorful Winter Blooms in Greater Philadelphia

As winter blankets the landscapes of America's Garden Capital, one might assume that the vibrant hues of spring and summer are tucked away until the warmer months return. However, a closer look reveals a hidden treasure trove of winter blooming plants that defy the chill and add a touch of color to the garden landscape. Read on to learn about these resilient winter blooming plants and where you can find them in America's Garden Capital.

Witch Hazel Wonders

Witch hazel (Hamamelis) is a true winter gem that graces gardens with its vibrant blooms and subtle fragrance during the colder months. This deciduous shrub boasts unique ribbon-like petals that unfurl to reveal a burst of color against the backdrop of winter’s muted tones. The genus includes several species, each with its own distinct characteristics.

In addition to the core varieties of witch hazel listed below, there are many hybrid cultivars! 

Common Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana):

Native to North America, this species is renowned for its medicinal properties and is often used in skincare products. Blooms feature a spicy fragrance and appear as delicate yellow strands, creating a striking contrast with the snowy surroundings.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'

Japanese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis japonica):

Originating from Japan, this variety is celebrated for its elegant, fragrant flowers that range in color from red to yellow. Its compact size makes it a popular choice for smaller gardens and containers. 

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Orange Beauty' is a cross hybrid between Japanese and Chinese witch hazels.

Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis mollis):

Hailing from China, this species boasts large, fragrant flowers in shades of yellow and red. Its vigorous growth and eye-catching blooms make it a favorite among garden enthusiasts.

Chinese witch hazel (Hamamelis mollis) blooms along a pathway at Morris Arboretum & Gardens

Where to see witch hazels: Many gardens in America’s Garden Capital

Witch Hazel Collections of Note:

More Winter Blooming Flowers

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)

Winter aconite, with its cheerful yellow flowers, is a charming groundcover that signals the arrival of spring even in the heart of winter. These low-growing plants emerge from the frost-covered ground, adding a burst of color and vitality to gardens. Winter aconite is known for its resilience, often blooming even in the coldest temperatures.

Where to see winter aconite: Most gardens in America’s Garden Capital

Winter Aconite

Snowdrops (Galanthus):

Snowdrops, aptly named for their bell-shaped, drooping flowers resembling drops of snow, are another winter marvel. These dainty perennials often appear in late winter or early spring, creating a delicate carpet of white blooms. Snowdrops are a symbol of hope and renewal, ushering in the promise of warmer days ahead.

Where to see snowdrops: Most gardens in America’s Garden Capital


Hellebore (Helleborus):

Adding to the winter tapestry is the enchanting hellebore (Helleborus), commonly known as the Christmas or Lenten rose. These evergreen perennials bloom in a range of colors, including white, pink, purple, and green, bringing a touch of elegance to winter gardens. Hellebores are known for their ability to thrive in shade and are often found nestled beneath deciduous trees, creating a serene and magical atmosphere.

Where to see hellebores: Most gardens in America’s Garden Capital


While winter may be synonymous with dormancy in the garden, these resilient winter blooming plants stand as a testament to nature’s ability to thrive, even in the chilliest of temperatures. So, bundle up, grab a hot cup of cocoa, and embark on a winter garden adventure filled with unexpected beauty in America’s Garden Capital.