Plants That Thrive as Mercury Drops in Winter

Article By: Clare Chapman

Winter gardens don’t have to replicate how we might feel in the depths of the colder months. In fact, they can be the opposite – bright, vibrant spaces full of scent, colour, and nutrition, thriving as the mercury drops. So, don’t hang up the gumboots just yet. We’ve put together a list of some of the best plants to create a stunning winter garden.

There are lots of plants that bloom throughout winter and many options to create beds of colour and scent as well as edible gardens. Each will work well in certain climatic conditions, so it’s always worth consulting a professional to ensure your planting plan will thrive in its micro environment.  

Winter Flowers


Pansies are an old favourite for a reason; they flower and flower and flower, starting in autumn, throughout winter, spring and into summer. And they come in almost every colour imaginable so they’re always a popular choice to add colour and variety in a garden for the cooler months.

Iceland poppies

Blooming in striking yellow, red and pink hues, Iceland poppies appear delicate with their silk-like petals but they’re hardy flowers that can typically cope with anything a New Zealand winter throws at them, and are beautiful for picking.


Cineraria typically produces quite dense clusters of flowers ranging from bright blue to red, purplish blooms and will flower year-round.


The brightly coloured Protea ‘mini red’ sports goblet flowers that create a striking addition against other foliage and produce flowers throughout the year, including winter, with the flowering typically peaking towards the end of winter.

Ornamental kale

These decorative cabbage plants come in shades of pink, green and cream and offer a colourful option to dot throughout the vegetable garden. If they’re planted closer together, the heads will be smaller and have stems long enough for picking.

Winter Gardens NZ


Edible Winter gardens


If you’re looking for real bursts of deep colour, red glow calendulas bloom a burnt orange flower during autumn and continue throughout winter. These are often a safe choice to provide areas of bright colour, typically easy to grow, and work well in an edible garden where they repel pest insects and provide splashes of colour. Their petals are also edible.


This delectable little fruit is best planted in winter to enhance the summer crop. Their leaves are a distinctive deep green throughout winter, offering a vibrant colour to contrast against other flowering plants.


Generally, silverbeet is one of the easiest edibles to grow in a winter garden. The rainbow chard variety has brightly coloured stems ranging from a striking yellow through to orange, red and pink. Against the deep green leaves, these attractive edibles are a definite for a colourful and nutritious winter garden.

Edible Winter Gardens NZ


Winter Natives

Kaka beak

The Kaka beak is a small evergreen tree that likes to sprawl. It’s sought after for its pendulous bright red flowers, beautiful in their unique droplet form. An endangered plant in New Zealand, it will bloom in late winter and early spring.


A hardy plant, flax will survive almost any climatic condition in New Zealand and is a great way to add texture to a garden. Flax is available in various colours and is popular because of the lack of maintenance required.

You might also be interested in Outdoor Covering Options & Costs

Get in touch with Zones to discuss your winter garden project

If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your outdoor renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your landscaping design and build. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.

*All information is believed to be true at the time of publishing and is subject to change.

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