With the heating cranked up and the fluffy socks on regular rotation, you'd be forgiven for thinking winter isn't a time for flowers – but we're here to change all that.
Winter flowers are extra special because they bloom when they shouldn't, lifting your spirits and reminding you that warmer days are on the horizon – just gotta get through January first, whew.
We think flowers are the perfect Christmas gift or the ideal present to perk someone up who struggles throughout the darker months or simply a wonderful way of adding a little cheer to your home. So, which winter flowers are in bloom and which are the best for bouquets and floral arrangements? We have all the answers, right here.
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Irises are enjoyed year-round in floral arrangements but we love them particularly in winter when their regal purple flowers work as standalone bouquets or look oh so lovely amongst lush green foliage. Look out for this flower's vibrant strip of yellow throwing in a little sunshine amongst all the grey of winter. Irises are also said to symbolise hope, another reason why they're one of our favourite winter blooms, as we all hope for a warm spring to pick us up again.
The flower's shape itself is thought to have inspired the French fleur-de-lis design which the monarchy enjoyed branding on all its buildings and clothing and weaponry. It's also believed that the flower is named after the Greek goddess of the rainbow who guided souls to heaven – this is why to this day people living in Greece continue to plant irises on graves. A little morbid but interesting all the same.
There's something so precious about the delicate Christmas rose as it fights through the cold and the dark to bloom for us to enjoy – much like many of us crawling to the finish line in 2020…
Also known by its scientific name Helleborus, the Christmas rose unfurls as early as December, revealing icy hued petals flecked with pretty pink freckles. But don't be fooled by its beauty, this plant should be enjoyed as a purely decorative bloom as it is highly poisonous. In fact, the Christmas rose sounds innocent but it was once used in scandalous schemes of kings and queens of old and was known as a plant that grew in 'witches' gardens.
But those days are past us, now we can enjoy this stunning flower for its beauty alone either in our gardens or as cuttings in a wintery floral arrangement.
The velvety petals of the cyclamen offer comfort and softness during the harsh winter months while its vibrant pops of colour brighten up window sills and our homes. Cyclamen is the flowering plant of choice for those looking for a gift over the Christmas period as it is believed to symbolise genuine affection and love.
We love the cyclamen's curved flower heads that remind us fairy goblets and the magical twilight hours but the flower actually gets its name from the Greek word 'kuklos' which means circle and refers to the plant's rounded petals. Sadly, not quite as mysterious. Look for the silvery veins on the cyclamen plant's leaves too, ideal for the festive period when everything seems to glitter.
Talking of festive flowers, we couldn't leave the ever-stunning amaryllis off the list. This vibrant bloom gets its name from the Greek 'to sparkle' and its red and white striped petals remind us of sweet candy canes. Although the amaryllis is a popular winter flower, it is native to typically hot climates growing freely in the Caribbean, Mexico and South America.
The flower itself is said to symbolise success, determination and strength so if a loved one has achieved something great over the winter months, maybe a new job or a house purchase, this is the bloom of choice for that celebratory gift.
Amaryllis is typically grown between October and January and blooms six to eight weeks after being planted, so if you want yours to wow during the Christmas period pick up one of these budded plants in mid-November.
When choosing the perfect complementary bloom for that winter bouquet, eryngium is a striking choice. Also known as sea holly, this unusual, spiky bloom adds the perfect wintery feel to any bouquet as it grows in cool shades of blue and purple.
Eryngium blooms in the autumn months but stretches into winter and looks stunning when paired with contrasting red flowers and dark green foliage, or mixed with simple white flowers for a classic winter arrangement. The flower is said to symbolise independence and with its prickly head we can see why. Consider giving a bunch to someone moving out of the family home or off on a new adventure to wish them luck and strength.
Crack out the Cliff Richard and get the mulled wine simmering, holly is here. This vibrant coloured plant may not be your typical flower – well, it's not a flower at all – but it is stunning enough to feature in a festive bouquet. In fact, we reckon a few sprigs of holly nestled in amongst deep green foliage and bold red roses is the perfect gift that you can present to whoever is cooking your Christmas dinner this year.
Watch out for the spiky leaves that ensure holly holds onto its red berries for as long as possible – we recommend wearing gardening gloves if you're arranging the plant! Holly is, of course, the December birth month flower for those born near Christmas time; just another reason for it to be included in a celebratory bouquet.
We're not talking about the under the sea variety that you'll spot clownfish (aka Nemo) frequenting but instead anemone flowers that bloom late in the year. These sweet blooms look like the love child of a poppy and a daisy and grow in a variety of stunning colours from vivid shades of white with pretty yellow centres to blush pinks and violet hues.
While these flowers grow in bushlike forms in English gardens they do look lovely as cuttings. Rescue the remaining new buds as winter draws in and feature these in a floral arrangement in a vase in your home.
This unique looking bloom has seen it all, as it's been growing on this planet for over 300 million years. We wonder what it thinks of things now?
Also known as the sugarbush, the protea flower has an intriguing cone-like head and blooms in stunning shades of orange, yellow and red – ideal if you want to add a quick pop of colour to a winter bouquet. This flower is also so hardy that it's been known to survive wildfires and grows naturally throughout the likes of Australia and South America.
A single protea flower, in amongst your usual suspects in a bouquet, steals the show as it's unlike anything you've ever seen. They also look great in bunches of two or three as a standalone arrangement.
Hypericum berries perfectly complement any winter flower and our florists love to feature them in winter arrangements. These vibrant pops of colour add a rustic vibe to any arrangement, pairing beautifully with foliage and popular blooms such as chrysanthemums and spray roses. If you're planning a winter wedding consider hypericum berries for the corsages and buttonholes – they'll last longer than any carnation or rose on the dance floor.
Hypericum actually produces pretty yellow flowers during the summer months and you may know these by their common name of St John's Wort, which is used for herbal medicinal purposes. It's a plant that just keeps giving all year long.
Orchids add a touch of the exotic to any bouquet, with their fantastical shaped flower heads and unusual display. We also love orchids as potted plants, ready to wrap up and present to loved ones not just at Christmas but because you want to let them know you care.
But which orchid should you choose to enjoy over winter? After all, there are over 20,000 species of this ornamental bloom. We're big fans of the cascade orchid which typically features four or five flowers that – you've guessed it – cascade down. Orchids will bloom several times throughout the year, making them not just a great winter flower but the perfect all-rounder to add a touch of colour and style to your home.
Feeling clued up when it comes to winter flowers? Take a look at our available bouquets and gorgeous arrangements here whether you want to treat yourself or someone you love to a special gift.