Our favourite January plants

Snowdrops and cyclamen

There’s an array of plants that can bring colour to your garden this month, in different forms, from vibrant bark to beautiful flowers. Here, we share our favourites to add colour and interest, through the cold months ahead. There’s something for every space, whether you want a pot to brighten a patio or a statement tree to bring years of pleasure. Our choices include recommendations from the Gardeners’ World team and familiar faces from across the gardening industry.

Find more January inspiration:

Sarcococca confusa

Sarcococca confusa, or Christmas box, grows well in shade and reaches around 1.5m tall

Chosen by Flo Headlam, Garden Rescue presenter

I love this solid, reliable evergreen. Slow and steady is how I see her. Deep green foliage, smart yet understated, providing exquisite fragrant flowers followed by dark fruit. Sarcococca confusa requires very little pruning – I like its unpredictable sprawling habit, personally.

Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’

Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’ has larger flowers than common wintersweet

Chosen by Errol Reuben Fernandes, The Great Garden Revolution presenter

For most of the year this is a pleasant if unremarkable large shrub, with mid-green lance shaped leaves. However, it is in winter that this beauty really shines. Best planted where it is backlit by low winter sun, Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’ produces a profusion of milky yellow, translucent blooms. The flowers appear like diffused fairy lights all over the bare-branched frame and they fill the fair with the most sweet, heady scent. I particularly like seeing it underplanted with snowdrops and partnered with Rhododendron duricum ‘Midwinter’.

Helleborus ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’

Hellebore ‘Walberton’s Rosemary’ is sterile, will flower for months, and thrives in partial shade

Chosen by Emma Crawforth, horticultural editor

This hellebore is a cross between Helleborus niger and Helleborus x hybridus, and it combines the best of both! It flowers from December until March, and its large, pink blooms and held upright, making them easier to admire. Perfect for brightening dull days.

Galanthus nivalis

Snowdrops can be planted in the green, after they have finished flowering, or in autumn as dry bulbs

Chosen by Kevin Smith, head of content

Little beats seeing the first snowdrop of the year, and it’s something that encourages me to venture to the bottom of the garden (where mine are) in the depths of winter. I planted lots ‘in the green’ about 10 years ago, and they’re now beginning to form a beautiful carpet. There are lots of lovely varieties but, for me, there’s no need to venture beyond the traditional classic.

Euphorbia ingens

Euphorbia ingens, or candelabra tree, is a fast-growing succulent, that develops a shape like a candelabra. Getty Images

Chosen by Gynelle Leon, Prick Ltd founder

The Euphorbia ingens was my first large succulent; I carried it home from Columbia Road flower market. I love its sculptural shape, and it transports me to the YSL gardens in Morocco, where I first fell in love with cacti and succulents.

Cyclamen coum

Cyclamen coum flowers January-April and the tubers are planted in autumn

Chosen by Catherine Mansley, digital editor

It seems impossible that such a tiny, and seemingly fragile, plant could bloom at this time of year. The delicate pink flowers of Cyclamen coum emerge, as if from nowhere, and look divine under trees or in pots where you can admire them up close.


Witch hazels prefer acidic or neutral soil that is free-draining

Chosen by Angelica Wilson, commerce & digital marketing executive

Perhaps most commonly known for its medicinal uses, the witch hazel is one of my favourite winter-flowering shrubs. In the depths of the darkest months, when many plants lay dormant, fireworks of spider-like fragrant blooms burst into life in fiery shades of red, orange and yellow along its bare branches.

Helleborus lividus

Helleborus lividus grows to around 45cm tall and requires some protection over winter

Chosen by Lily Middleton, content creator

One of the joys of late winter and early spring is crouching down to the ground and peering up into the beautiful flowers of a hellebore. Helleborus lividus is particularly attractive, with its unusual lime green blooms.

Chamaerops humilis

The dwarf fan palm will grow to around 2.5-3m tall. It’s hardy through most of the UK

Chosen by Oliver Parsons, horticultural sub-editor

In low, winter sun this makes an incredible silhouette against the sky. Cut straggly old leaf stems, leaving just the newish ones at the top, or you’ll lose that amazing shape in a mess of tattered old foliage. Warning: the thorns are sharp! (…and I have to admit, I still can’t work out how to pronounce the name Chamaerops humilis)



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