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Pansies in the Frost
Credit: Getty/AnjoKanFotografie

Despite what some purple-thumbed folks might think, there are no breaks for gardeners, not even in winter. If you live in the South, particularly the warmer corners, even in December and January there is still time to plant. And if you live in a colder climate or just like to get a jumpstart on things, winter is for planning for the garden next year. That includes starting your summer annuals indoors for planting outside after your area's last frost and planting seeds in preparation for a bountiful spring and summer.

Before you start planting in winter, check out the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones Map to ensure you're choosing the right plants for your location. Most of the South stretches from the 7b to 9a zone, making it easy to plant and plan all winter long.

Here are the flowers and plants you can put in the ground in winter:

Pansies

These hardy little flowers not only have gorgeous blooms, but can survive almost anything winter has to dish out. Here's how to pick the best pansies.

Violas

These delicate-looking blooms are actually quite tough, perfect for adding a little color to your winter garden. Here's how and when to plant violas.

Forsythia

Classic border forsythia, also called "yellow bells" due to the shape and color of its blooms, can be planted in February in much of the South and will bloom throughout summer.

Bachelor's Buttons

Plant your bachelor's buttons seeds towards the tail end of winter for gorgeous blue blooms from early summer onwards.

Decorative Kale

Ornamental Kale is related to edible kale, but isn't for your kale salad. Instead, it has brilliant hues and a love of cold temperatures that makes it an ideal addition to a winter garden.

Delphinium

Put this long, tall plant in the ground in late winter and enjoy its elegant, lanky stalks all summer long.

Primrose

Few plants beat the primrose for winter color, and they are extremely cold-hardy. Pick up a few in February and plant in the ground or in containers where they do well outdoors.

Poppies

Poppies are those rare plants that do best when exposed to cold, so sow their seeds outdoors in the fall or winter and wait for their sunny blooms to brighten the garden.

Snapdragons

Whether from starts or seeds, snapdragons can tolerate a bit of winter chill, growing up (and up) to add some vertical heft and gorgeous color to a spring garden.

Calendula

Fill your garden with these cheerful yellow and orange blossoms and you'll have a plant that is beautiful, edible, and attracts those all-important pollinators.

Bluebells

Scilla, which are more commonly known as bluebells, are the perfect, durable winter bloom that provide a meditative splash of color to a winter garden.

Vegetables

Okay, these aren't flowers, but you can sow seeds for vegetables, like salad greens, radishes, carrots, onions, Swiss chard, English peas, and kale in winter.