The beginning of the year, after the fun of Christmas and the New Year, can be a bit of a dreary slog. The weather is overcast, things are looking drab, and we’re counting down the days until spring. Luckily, here in Powell River, we can grow quite a few winter-blooming and early-spring blooming shrubs to brighten up the long weeks ahead!
Here’s a preview of our selection of Powell River winter-blooming shrubs to add to your garden for early blossoms. These blooming beauties are coming soon to Mother Nature!
Charity Mahonia (Berberis x media) is a hybrid Mahonia with beautiful sprays of vibrant yellow flower spikes blooming in January. This evergreen shrub can reach up to 3 meters tall and 1.5 meters wide. It prefers full sun but will do alright with some dappled shade. Pruning the tips in spring will encourage this plant to grow bushier and fuller throughout the season. This hybrid Mahonia is a great companion for a Daphne Odora!
Sweet Box (Sarcocca confusa) is another winter bloomer, with tiny, fragrant white flowers that appear in January. The pretty blossoms alternate with the deep green leaves, adding delicacy to this shrub’s appearance. This shrub is an easy grower and perfect for a shady border near the house where you’ll be able to enjoy its sweet vanilla-like fragrance.
Dawn Viburnum (Viburnum x bodnantense) should start to bloom with its tiny, pretty pink flowers in late January. However, in a mild winter, it may begin blooming as early as late December! It is highly fragrant and can keep flowering for up to 2 months. This viburnum can get up to 2.5 meters tall with a width of up to 3 meters and is drought-tolerant once established. It’s happiest in a spot with full sun.
Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) features beautiful bowl-shaped blooms in shades of golden yellow near the end of January or early in February. They have a lovely sweet scent, and blossoms may last into early spring. Wintersweet loves a sunny, but sheltered spot, and well-draining soil. This perfectly-named shrub can grow from 1-2 meters tall and wide.
Rhododendron Christmas Cheer is a tough hybrid rhododendron that should start to bloom early in February and keep flowering for up to 2 months. Its beautiful ruffled blossoms open with strips of deep pink and fade to very pale pink later in the season. This tough Rhody is winter hardy down to -23°C and is also drought tolerant. It will grow to about 1-2 meters tall and wide. Plant some Christmas Cheer in a spot with full sun to partial shade.
Daphne (Daphne odora)’s pink buds should show up in late February and last through March. Daphne is a more compact shrub, reaching just over 1 meter tall and about 1 meter wide. Daphne needs excellent drainage and does best in a slightly elevated bed with lots of organic matter. This shrub will do best with some shade in the afternoon to protect it from scorching sunshine.
Camelia x williamsii is a hybrid of Camellia japonica and Camellia saluenensis. They’re one of the most cold-hardy camellias available and also one of the easiest camellias to grow. They explode with bright pink blossoms starting as early as March and lasting well into late spring. They prefer rich, moist, acidic soil that drains well, and should be planted somewhere where they’re protected from the wind. This shrub prefers shade but can tolerate part shade and sun provided it gets a little extra water through the hottest days of summer. Camelias are susceptible to sooty mould, particularly during very humid times of the year. Prevent the onset of this disease by planting somewhere with excellent air circulation and shelter from heavy wind. Annual pruning to thin out the shrub will also promote healthy airflow.
Red Head Japanese Andromeda (Pieris japonica) has clusters of pink buds that start to bloom in March that transform into pendulous flowers, fading to white with time. The blossoms contrast beautifully with the dark green foliage. Andromeda does best in moist, acidic, rich, and well-draining soil, in a sunny to part shade location. Their flowers do have a rather strong scent that not everyone appreciates, but some people adore. They can grow up to 8 feet tall and wide.
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) produces stunning blossoms as early as March or April. They are available in red, orange, white, or pink. Quince is not too picky about soil, though it won’t do well in heavy clay. You don’t need to prune quince unless you don’t like its shape. Quince will flower the best in full sunshine. Once they are established, quince is quite drought-tolerant and hardy to -30°C.
Our spring nursery stock, including these winter bloomers, will be arriving from late February to early March! Please call or stop by our garden center today to learn more about our new arrivals for the upcoming season.
Ready to embrace our long growing season here in Powell River with some late-winter or early-spring blooming shrubs? With these gorgeous plants in your landscape, next January is sure to feel a little less grey.