Cool-weather Flowering Plants by Pat Naughton

Winter is here and gone are the beautiful summer and fall flowers. All that is left are evergreens. Cool-weather flowering plants can add color to your landscape. Here are a few colorful plants to consider for your landscape.

Pansy (Viola x wittrockiana) is an annual plant that comes in many colors. This plant is very popular and readily available at home improvement stores and nurseries. It appears very delicate but can withstand winter frost. Pansies can bloom for up to six months. Dead heading spent blooms will prolong the blooming period. They do well in moist well drained soil in full sun and partial shade. The flowers are edible and can be used to decorate cakes or with crackers and cream cheese.


Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is a native annual plant that does well in coastal North Carolina. It may be difficult to find at local nurseries but seeds and roots can be mail ordered. It can grow 5 ½ feet tall and 2 ½ feet wide. Jewelweed flowers year-round. In the summer it attracts hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. It is moderately resistant to deer. This plant has a unique way of spreading seeds. The flowers give way to slender seed capsules which when ripe explosively split open at a touch, dispersing the tiny seeds within in all directions, hence the common name of touch-me-not. The watery plant juice can be used relieve itching associated with poison ivy, stinging nettle, and insect bites.

Cransbill (Geranium maculatum) is another flowering native perennial with medicinal benefits. The early Native Americans used this herb to treat many medical conditions including dysentery and diarrhea. This plant is also known as wild geranium. It can be propagated from seeds or rhizomes. Cransbill does well around the base of trees. It prefers partial shade in rich loamy soil that is slightly dry. This ground cover grows 1 to 2 feet tall and will bloom from fall to spring.

For more information on cool-weather flower plants, visit the North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox,

Pictures from the NC NCSU Plant Toolbox.