What’s Hot? What’s Not?
Hot-coloured plants have red, pink, orange or yellow flowers or foliage. Hot colours make the garden feel warmer and look more vibrant – just what you need in winter.

When you choose a hot-coloured plant, look at when it flowers or when the foliage colours are most intense. For a hot-coloured winter garden, there’s not much point choosing plants that only flower in summer or autumn.

Hot Winter Flowers

  • Primulas – annuals with masses of pink or white flowers throughout winter; good for pots and window boxes
  • Polyanthus – annual plants with showy flowers in midwinter; prefers shade; good for pots and for edges of garden beds
  • Iceland Poppy – annual poppies with single petals in many shades of yellow, red and pink; best in mass plantings
  • Narcissus – early varieties of Daffodils and Jonquils start flowering in mid winter; great for pots, in garden beds, under deciduous trees
  • Sasanqua camellias – medium shrubs with flowers in many shades including vibrant pinks and reds
  • Pyrostegia – Flame Vine is a climber with masses of tubular orange flowers over winter; for mild climates
  • Browallia – a small shrub with orange-red flowers from midwinter; for mild climates
  • Banksia ericifolia – native shrub with large yellow-orange candle flowers in winter
  • Boronia megastigma – the Brown Boronia has strongly scented brown flowers with yellow insides during winter. A yellow flowering form ‘Lutea’ is also available.
  • Thryptomene – a low spreading shrub with masses of small pink flowers for several months over winter
  • African Tulip Tree – large spreading tree with showy orange-red flowers; for subtropical climates

Hot Foliage

  • Aucuba – the Gold Dust Plant is a medium shrub with glossy green leaves splashed with yellow; good in shade
  • Acalypha wilkesiana – Fijian Fire Plant is a small to medium shrub with reddish leaves; best in full sun; for mild climates
  • Crotons – showy foliage plants with splashes or spots of orange, red and yellow; best in full sun; needs a subtropical climate for growing outdoors
  • New Zealand Flax – upright foliage plant with bronze, red and green leaves; best in full sun
  • Japanese Blood Grass – small clumping grass with bright red leaves; good for pots

Hot Berries

Hot colours don’t have to come from flowers and leaves. These plants have brightly coloured berries in winter:

  • Duranta – small shrub with yellow-green leaves and orange berries in winter; for warm climates
  • Ardisia – small shrub with bright red berries that stay on the bush throughout winter; needs shade
  • Sorbus – Rowan is a medium-sized tree with pink-red berries for most of winter; for cool climates

Bark with a Bite
Bark can also add warm colours to the winter garden:

  • Acer ‘Sangu Kaku’ – the Coral Maple has bright red stems that glow in winter sunshine; for cool climates
  • Cornus sanguinea ‘Winter Beauty’ – has bright orange/yellow and red stems in winter; suited to cool climates
  • Lagerstroemia indica – the pink/orange bark is best seen during winter when the plant loses its leaves
  • Prunus serrulata – burnished smooth dark red trunk; for cool areas

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