You blinked and before you knew it, 2022 had gone and now it’s January 2023! Now that the festivities are over, it’s a great time of the year to get outside and take a stroll around the garden. Not only to top up your vitamin D levels, but to assess what’s looking good. There are many plants that come into their own during the winter months, lots of them highly scented. So, here’s my top ten plants for January gardens.

1. Camellia japonica (camellia) ‘Winter Perfume Pearl’

The first of the January plants is this camellia. This is the time of the year when camellias look striking, producing many flowers. The compact growing ‘Winter Perfume Pearl’ is no exception, delighting with its sweet-smelling blush coloured flowers. It thrives in a sheltered position, watering during dry spells to ensure it produces flowers the following year. But, other than that, it should be trouble free to grow.

  • Flowers in winter
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 2m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Partial shade (avoid east facing aspects)
  • Sheltered

2. Daphne bholua (daphne) ‘Jacqueline Postill’

Next is another winter flowering shrub producing beautifully scented flowers. The buds on this cultivar are deep pink in colour, opening to reveal light pink flowers. Then, the blooms are followed by purple-black colour berries. It looks wonderful surrounded by white flowered winter flowering cyclamen.

  • Flowers in winter
  • Hardy through most areas of the UK
  • Grows to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
blank

3. Skimmia japonica (Japanese skimmia) ‘Rubella’

If you’re looking for a compact, shade loving, evergreen shrub with winter interest this could be the one for you. It produces dark red flower buds from autumn right the way through until spring, when the buds will burst open into flowers. They also look good grown in containers, where they will be appreciated by pollinators.

  • Evergreen foliage and flowers in spring
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
blank

4. Ajuga reptans (bugle) ‘Catlin’s Giant’

Evergreen ground cover is important to include in a flower border, because it will provide year-round interest, and also helps keep weeds at bay. This easy to grow plant has the added bonus of shiny, purple leaves, which will grow well in full sun, as well as shade. It produces pretty spikes of bright-blue flowers during spring and early summer.

  • Evergreen foliage and flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 15cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Partial shade
  • Sheltered
blank

5. Calamagrostis x acutiflora (reed grass) ‘Karl Foerster’

Ornamental grasses can also look good over winter. This amazing cultivar makes its presence felt in the garden for a whopping ten months of the year. It has a upright, uniform, growth habit making it perfect for a modern style, contemporary garden. Cut the plant back to 10cm above ground in mid-February and divide overly large or congested clumps in spring. That should be all they’ll need to grow well year after year.

  • Flowers in spring and autumn
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
blank

6. Galanthus elwesii (greater snowdrop)

Spotting snowdrops in flower on a cold winter’s day is such an exciting experience and this is a great choice. It produces neat looking green leaves, that complement the nodding white blooms perfectly.

  • Flowers in winter
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 30cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
blank

7. Edgeworthia chrysantha (paperbush)

These unusual shrubs deserve to be more widely grown as they produce the most wonderful, highly scented, bright yellow flowers for several months during the winter. They are best grown in a sheltered position to avoid the worst of the winter frosts. The leaves are mainly produced near the end of its branches, which means you can plant lower growing evergreen shrubs closely alongside it.

  • Flowers in winter
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
blank

8. Rhododendron mucronulatum (rhododendron)

This dwarf, deciduous shrub originates from Mongolia which may explain why it flowers during the coldest part of the year. Pretty pink flowers appear in winter before the leaves. Thriving in full sun, this plant requires no pruning, making it a great addition to a low maintenance garden.

  • Flowers in winter
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 2m tall
  • Moist but well-drained acidic soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered
blank

9. Sarcococca hookeriana (sweetbox) ‘Purple Stem’

The musky scent from the white flowers of this compact, easy to care for, evergreen shrub is exquisite. So, it’s well worth growing this shrub near the house or alongside pathways where you can enjoy the fragrance. Not only are the flowers beautifully scented, but they’re attractive to pollinators too.

  • Evergreen foliage, flowers in winter and berries in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 1m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full shade or partial shade
  • Sheltered
blank

10. Hamamelis x intermedia (witch hazel) ‘Jelena’

Last of the plants for January is a witch hazel, renowned for their wonderful scent. This slow growing, trouble-free variety is no exception, producing beautiful, scented, coppery-orange flowers from now until early spring. Best planted near the edge of a path or in a large container, it looks good underplanted with winter flowering heathers or spring bulbs.

  • Flowers in winter
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 4m tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered
blank

Though it may still be cold, get out into the garden and take a look at these top ten plants for January. During the winter months, there are plenty of foliage and flowering plants to enjoy and put a spring in your step.

Find out more about adding textured plants to your garden:

Adding texture

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

Pinterest