Plants blooming in winter are unusual for most of us in United States Zone 7 so finding a combination is a luxury. This one is not easy to put together or keep going but it is a gem if you can pull it off. Both the Lenten rose and winter daphne are evergreen and will look attractive in winter but the Lenten rose is very variable in color from white to green, to pink, deep maroon, and purple and getting one that echo the pink buds or flowers of the daphne may be difficult. Winter daphne also has its problems; it resents transplanting and are slow to establish and once established it may die very suddenly and for no apparent reason. Given the liabilities of the combination, it is recommended only for the garden connoisseur who has patience and if you are such a gardener you will have an outstanding combination in winter that other gardeners will admire. Both plants like part shade and fertile, moderately moist, well-drained soil.
Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)
This evergreen perennial is easy to grow and quickly forms handsome clumps. The nodding flowers have overlapping petals surrounding a center of the conspicuous yellow stamens. They are two or more inches in diameter and are borne in clusters of one to four above the foliage beginning as early as February and lasting ten to twelve weeks. The leaves are large, coarse and dark green. All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Bloom Time: Late winter into spring
Size: 18” H x 24” W
Hardiness: Zones 4-9
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora)
As finicky as this perennial shrub is, it is still worth having in the garden. Enjoy its glossy evergreen foliage all year and then savor the fragrance of its beautiful pink to white flowers in mid-winter and early spring. Heavy pruning will keep it compact and attractive. All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Bloom Time: Mid-winter to early spring
Size: 3-6’ H x 3-6” W
Hardiness: Zones 7-9