9 Types of Snow Plants

Last Updated on March 9, 2023 by Derek

List of 9 types of plants that grow in the snow:

Plants that grow in the snow

  • Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
  • Evergreen Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
  • The berry bushes (Vaccinium)
  • Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)
  • Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
  • Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger)
  • Kaffir Lily (Clivia miniate)
  • Ornamental Cabbage and Kale (Brassica oleracea)
  • The Winter Pansies (Viola × wittrockiana)

Snow Plant Varieties (Sarcodes Sanguinea)

Sarcodes Sanguinea does not thrive in snowy conditions as its name suggests. It is a spring and summer flowering plant with beautiful bright red flowers. “Snow plant” name comes from the brilliant scarlet red flowers that appear like snowflakes. 

The plant is categorized as mycotrophic because it has no chlorophyll and obtains its nutrients from the soil through symbiosis. 

Sarcodes Sanguinea has a striking red stem and scarlet red flowers with five petals each. The fruits are the only exception as they are pink. It is a rare plant that grows in specific sites in the Sierra Nevada, Oregon, California, and some isolated spots in western Nevada. 

It starts to blossom during the snowmelt in late spring. It is among the rare plants that do not need the sun to flourish. 


Types of Snow Plants_post top
The plant named ‘Snow plant’ doesn’t actually do well in the snow!
Snow Plant
Plant Common Name Scientific Name US Growing Zone Hardy/Perennial Soil Type Sunshine Requirements Water Needs
Snow Plant Sarcodes sanguinea 5-9 Perennial Well-drained acidic soil Partial shade to full sun Moderate

Video – Snow Plants in the forest

Snow plants are not common and don’t really like snowy conditions.

Are Snow Plants Rare?

The snow plant is a rare species and is under protection by the law. Picking or interfering with any of these rare beauties can result in heavy fines. The snow plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) is the major tourist attraction plant in California. It appears like a vast asparagus shoot with its fleshy and watery stem and flowers. 


It is a fast-growing plant that reaches a height of eight to twelve inches and a diameter of two inches. It sprouts from the ground rich in humus soon after the snow melts away in the fir and pine woods. At this point, the bell-shaped flowers open up with almost thirty-five lobes. 

While it is believed to grow through the snow, it waits until the ground warms up to come out. The spring storms bury or half-buries this plant for a day or two. 

The snow plant is rare and unique as it can stand unnoticed in the midst of fir and pine woodlands without a fragrance except for its exceptional beauty. You can only find Sarcodes Sanguinea in California, Nevada, and Oregon

Is Snow Plant Poisonous?

The snow plant is not poisonous, but on the contrary, it is edible. It poses analgesic effects and also soothes epithelial tissues. Most people understand its edibility and medicinal value but rather stay away from it due to the law’s strict protections on the rare flower. 

The stem and the leaf of the snow plant are excellent for treating skin rashes, ulcerated sores, tooth pain, and other tooth and gum problems. It is a perfect natural blood tonic remedy. All these benefits of the snow plant remain unexploited to prevent the rare beauty from becoming extinct. 

Winter flowering plants
5 plants for snowy winter conditions

Plants That Grow in Snowy Regions

What could feel better than enjoying the sight and fragrance of magnificent winter flowers? It is easy to assume that no plant can survive in the icy, snowy regions. However, there are many varieties of plants whose adaptations allow them to flourish in the cold snow areas. 

Their adaptations permit them to remain intact in the harsh climatic conditions as they cannot hibernate or move to a better location like animals. Some of these plants are flowering and will keep the season colorful. Take a look at some hardy winter plants that will thrive in snowy regions. 

Plants that grow in the snow – Seeds

    Winter Flowering Plants and Shrubs

    Having some bright colors in your garden’s environment can brighten the harsh, gloomy winter. Almost anything blossoming in the cold winter months is always welcome, which is why you might need to identify hardy shrubs to bring some color to life during the harsh weather. Here are some tremendous flowering plants and shrubs for winter.

    1. The Winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima)
    Winter plants - Honeysuckle
    Winter honeysuckle shrub like cold conditions

    The winter honeysuckle is a flowering shrub that blooms in early spring and winter. It grows in any soil type as long as it is moist, well-drained, and has a neutral, acidic, or alkaline PH. It attains a mature size of 3 meters in height and width. It can tolerate drought, deer, and clay soil. 

    Identifying Winter Honeysuckle

    Winter Honeysuckle – NC State Edu

    Winter Honeysuckle
    Plant Common Name Scientific Name US Growing Zone Hardy/Perennial Soil Type Sunshine Requirements Water Needs
    Winter Honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima 4-9 Deciduous shrub Well-drained, fertile soil Full sun to partial shade Regular watering

    1. Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
    Oregon grape holly thrives in winter
    This plant produces blossoms in fall and winter

    Mahonia aquifolium is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 90cm to 180cm tall and spreads up to 150cm. The plant can grow in any moist and well-drained soil with acidic or neutral PH and thrives best in the shade but can tolerate partial sun. Oregon grape holly boasts showy, fragrant blossoms in mid and late spring, late summer, fall, and winter. 

    OS National Parks

    Oregon Grape
    Plant Common Name Scientific Name US Growing Zone Hardy/Perennial Soil Type Sunshine Requirements Water Needs
    Oregon Grape Mahonia aquifolium 5-9 Perennial Moist, well-drained soil Partial shade to full sun Low

    1. Scarlet Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)
    Winter plants - Scarlet Firethorn
    Low-maintenance Scarlet Firethorn flowers in winter conditions

    Scarlet firethorn is a fruit-bearing shrub that blossoms in spring, summer, fall, and winter. It grows well in moist, well-drained chalky, clay, loam, and sandy soils with alkaline, acidic, or neutral PH.

    Scarlet Firethorn
    Plant Common Name Scientific Name US Growing Zone Hardy/Perennial Soil Type Sunshine Requirements Water Needs
    Scarlet Firethorn Pyracantha coccinea 6-9 Evergreen shrub Well-drained soil Full sun to partial shade Low to moderate

    Although it thrives in full sun, it can adapt and flourish in partial shade. It is showy, semi-evergreen, or evergreen and attracts birds. It is tolerant to drought and clay soil and requires low maintenance once established.

    Scarlet Firethorn Facts – PDF

    1. Winter Flowering Cherry (Prunus subhirtella)
    Higan cherry tree
    Gian Cherry Trees can withstand cold winters, even snow.

    Winter flowering cherry, also called Higan Cherry, is a low-maintenance flowering tree that blossoms in spring, fall, winter, depending on the climate. It grows in moist but well-drained clay, sandy, loam, and chalky soil with alkaline, acidic, or neutral PH. The higan cherry can withstand extreme cold and heat more than any other cherry tree. 

    Winter Flowering Cherry Trees
    Winter Flowering Cherry
    Plant Common Name Scientific Name US Growing Zone Hardy/Perennial Soil Type Sunshine Requirements Water Needs
    Winter Flowering Cherry Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’ 5-9 Hardy Well-drained soil Full sun to partial shade Moderate

    1. Clematis Jingle Bells (Clematis cirrhosa)
    Clematis blossoms in winter
    Clematis – one of my favorite winter flowering shrubs

    Clematis jingle bells is an evergreen climbing plant blooming in spring and winter. It grows in well-drained chalky, clay, loam, or sandy soil with alkaline or neutral pH. 

    Purple Clematis – USDA

    They thrive in full sun but can withstand partial shade. Clematis jingle bells produce showy white to yellow flowers with a shade of red and a mild scent. Clematis jingle bells plant is deer and rabbit resistant and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

    Clematis Jingle Bells
    Plant Common Name Scientific Name US Growing Zone Hardy/Perennial Soil Type Sunshine Requirements Water Needs
    Clematis Jingle Bells Clematis florida ‘Jingle Bells’ 4-9 Perennial Well-drained, fertile soil Full sun to partial shade Regular watering, do not let soil dry out

    Winter Flowering Annuals

    Every season of the year feels better if there are some blossoms adorning the surface. There are many flowering annuals adapted to cold conditions, so they flourish and bloom in winter. Here are some of them.

    Common name Botanical nameGrowing conditions
    CalendulaCalendula officinalisCalendula grows in well-drained loam, chalky, or loam soils with acidic, neutral, or alkaline pH. It requires full sun to develop but will bloom with peach or yellow blossoms in winter and summer. Calendula plant is deer and rabbit resistant but attracts butterflies.
    Sweet AlyssumLobularia maritimaSweet Alyssum grows in well-drained, sandy, chalk, or loam with acidic, alkaline, or neutral PH. It produces fragrant, showy white flowers all winter and stops growing when the weather warms up. 
    Alpine VioletCyclamenCyclamen is an annual bulb that blooms in winter, from November to April. It thrives in well-drained, acidic, neutral, or alkaline soil. It requires more water and feeding during the flowering season. French marigoldTagetes patula The French marigold plant starts to blossom in June up to the onset of frost. It produces fragrant orange, red, or purple flowers. It thrives in moist, well-drained acidic, alkaline, or neutral PH. 
    Sweet PeaLathyrus odoratusSweet pea is a climber plant that produces purple blossoms in winter. It thrives in well-drained acidic, alkaline, or loam soil.  
    4 annuals that flower in the snow

    Blue Winter Flowers

    There is a wide range of flower shades for winter. Here are some blue flowers you can find during winter.

    • Reticulated Iris
    • The glory of the snow
    • Bushy bluestem
    • Bright blue flower
    • Gentians

    Winter Plants for Pots

    Growing flowers in your compound are the best way to brighten the gloomy winter days. Here are some winter flowers you can grow in a pot. 

    • Erica carnea
    • Gaultheria procumbens
    • Jade plant
    • Lily of the Valley
    • Japanese Skimmia
    • Clivia
    • Violas

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What Plant Is Planted in Snow?

    Pansies are one of the best plants that can survive the snow. It is a hardy plant that can withstand frost and hard freeze for a considerable period. The already existing flowers may wither depending on the hardness of the glaze, but the plant will remain alive. During this time, the next bud remains under the protection of the foliage crown until temperatures rise again. 

    Pansies Growing Conditions
    Plant Common Name Scientific Name US Growing Zone Hardy or Perennial Soil Type Sunshine Requirements Water Needs
    Pansy Viola tricolor 3-8 Hardy Perennial Loamy, well-drained Full sun to partial shade Regular watering, do not overwater

    A single yellow pansy
    Pansies are much tougher than they look in winter conditions

    What Plant Looks Like Snow?

    The Snow on the Mountain (Euphorbia marginata) plants bear flowers that look like snow. The flowers are tiny with petal-like bracts and appear in clusters on top of the stem. The single-stem plant has oval light green leaves with the top side bearing a white stripe at the margin. The whole plant is attractive and ideal for wildflower meadows. 

    Snow on The Mountain flowers close up
    Snow on The Mountain flowers are white and green – good camouflage on snow!
    Snow on the Mountain Growing Conditions
    Plant Common Name Scientific Name US Growing Zone Hardy or Perennial Soil Type Sunshine Requirements Water Needs
    Snow on the Mountain Euphorbia marginata 4-10 Annual or Short-lived Perennial Well-drained, sandy or loamy Full sun to partial shade Drought tolerant, water only when soil is dry

    Which Plants Survive in Snow?

    There are several plants that can survive in snow, but pansies and violas top the list. They are hardy plants adapted to a range of climatic conditions, including extreme colds, frost, and hard freeze. Most of them survive by remaining dormant while the already existing blooms wither.

    Here are more plants that can survive in snow:

    • Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
    • Wintergreen Boxwood (Buxus sinica var. insularis)
    • Coral Bells (Heuchera)
    • Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
    • Winterberries (Ilex verticillate)
    • Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
    • Hosta (Hosta)

    Other resources relating to Snow Plants

    Snow Plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) – Yosemite Hikes

    Sarcodes sanguinea – Snow Plant – Calscape

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