8 flowers to plant for a colourful garden all year round

Joanna Cruddas

Amaryllis Royal Velvet

Image via Hunter Net

December is a month for festive colours.

Amaryllis Royal Velvet can grow to a magnificent 3’ and produces luxurious rich red flowers. They should flower two months after planting and will last for several weeks indoors.

Narcissus Paper White

A pot filled with narcissus Paper White fills a room with scent in early winter.

Once planted, keep in a cool, dark place for several weeks. Check regularly and water if the soil is drying out.

Bring into the warmth when the shoots reach about 2 inches.


Hyacinth bulbs should just show above the surface of your pots when planted. 

Place several in a wide shallow bowl, sticking to one colour per pot. Keep in a cool place for two months and then bring into the warmth. An October planting could give you a colourful January. 

Alternatively, grow in a glass hyacinth vase and enjoy watching the roots dangle in the water. (Hyacinth scent is heavy and some may prefer to grow outside).

Iris Reticulata

Delicate and diminutive iris reticulata deserve pots to match. Bury at least 2 inches below the surface and leave outside until buds appear.

Bring them inside and enjoy the deep blues of Harmony, Gordon and Clairette or the paler shades of Iris Specie Katherine Hodgkin and Sheila Ann Germany in January and February.


Create ground cover by planting cyclamen in partial shade.

Once established, it will become a carpet of pink and white during the winter months.

Dwarf Narcissus

Image via J Parkers

March is a month for yellows.

Dwarf narcissus will brighten up the front of a border, window box or inside window ledge. There are many varieties and it’s fun to include the less obvious ones.

Rip Van Winkle resembles a sparkler with its multitude of spiky petals. For contrast, try the ‘hoop-petticoat’ daffodils such as Golden Bells. Intersperse these with grape hyacinths for spirals of blue.


The bold heads of alliums, late-flowering daffodils and tulips, ensure colour for May. Forget-me-nots make an excellent carpet for yellow and red tulips to tower above.

Orange tulips such as Ballerina complement poeticus daffodils, such as Pheasant’s Eye.

Always check bulbs are in good condition before planting and discard any that are soft. When planting in the garden, group at least seven together for a colourful display.

Joanna Cruddas lives in London and gardens at her plot in Fulham Palace Meadows Allotments, on her balcony, and in her window boxes. She is the author of The Three-Year Allotment Notebook with photographs by Edwina Sassoon.