Ornamental Plants for Winter Gardens

Here are a few plants you can try out in your winter garden. Remember that winter conditions vary considerably throughout the U.S., so you should talk to your local extension agent for a list of specific plants that are guaranteed to last through the winter. The following list contains plants that should hold up very well in most parts of the country.

  • Alaeagnus. A nice variegated plant for the winter garden.
  • Annuals: You can plant a variety of annuals in late winter and early spring, depending on what area you live in. Try out foxglove, snapdragon, nasturtium, pansies, calendula, bachelor buttons, and sweet alyssum. Some of these plants are more intended for the warmer parts of the country, so make sure to ask your nursery or extension agent for more information.
  • Asters: This plant produces a large group of flowers with lots of fall color. Asters can bloom well into the fall and early winter in some areas.
  • Azalea Girard ‘Crimson’: This is a shrub that grows between two to three feet high. This plant has beautiful fall and winter foliage.
  • Big Betony: A nice plant similar to lamb’s ears that works well all year long.
  • Blue Leaved Hebe: A beautiful spreading plant.
  • Bulbs for the Spring: Daffodils, day lilies, iris, tulips, and ranunculus. Plant these bulbs in the fall and winter for early spring blooms.
  • Boxwood: An excellent garden plant for year round beauty.
  • Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides): An evergreen fern. Also used for Christmas decorations.
  • Evergreen Vines: There are a huge number of pretty vines that will provide your garden with year round color and interest. English ivy is an excellent overall vine for your landscaping. Even vines like wisteria that are deciduous can add interest with there sculptural trunks. See this site for more information.

gaultheria

  • Gaultheria: A popular groundcover that has red berries in the winter.
  • Golden Ragwort (senecio aureus): Another semi-evergreen groundcover. Works well in the shade.
  • Green & gold (Chrysogonum virginianum): A beautiful semi-evergreen groundcover. Yellow flowers in the early spring.

holly

  • Holly Trees: These are evergreen shrubs that can grow into small trees. Holly plants are very diverse. Winterberry Holly (ilex verticillata) is actually a deciduous plant that has spectacular red berries.
  • Indian Hawthorne: An excellent shrub for your landscaping. Works well in containers as well.
  • Junipers: Attractive evergreen plants that come in a huge variety of colors and sizes. They usually have attractive berries that are present during the fall, winter, and spring.

lavender

  • Lavender: An attractive herb that maintains interest through the fall and winter.
  • Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis): Pink, purple or whitish flowers in the late winter and early spring.

nandina

  • Nandina: An evergreen shrub with showery fall and winter colors.

viola tricolor

  • Pansies: You can plant these colorful flowers in the fall and they will continue to bloom throughout the fall and winter. “Icicle Pansies” are a good pick.

    pyracanthus

  • Pyrcantha (Firethorn): An attractive evergreen shrub that grows very tall and has colorful orange berries. Also has large thorns and can act as a natural “security fence.”
  • Oleander: This is an attractive shrub that can grow into a small tree.
  • Ornamental Grasses: Blue fescue and blue oat grass are good choices that will keep their shape and often their color through winter.
  • Pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria): A perennial plant with nice summer blooms and attractive foliage. Attracts bees and butterflies.
  • Plum Pudding Heuchera. An interesting plant with purple leaves and summer flowers.

rosemary

  • Rosemary: A beautiful herb that has flowers and foliage that last through cold weather. Has a wonderful smell, too.
  • Sempervivum (Houseleeks, Hens and Chicks): An alpine succulent that looks great even in cold weather.
  • Viburnum Tinus. Flowers in the winter and spring and also produces small berries.
  • Winter Heather. A beautiful bushy shrub for the winter garden.
  • Winter Jasmine: A nice plant with brilliant yellow flowers appearing in late winter and early spring. The flowers have no strong fragrance.

yarrow

  • Yarrow: An attractive perennial with lots of different colors available. Can get a little ragged in the winter but in some areas looks attractive all year long.

Here are a few plants you can try out in your winter garden. Remember that winter conditions vary considerably throughout the U.S., so you should talk to your local extension agent for a list of specific plants that are guaranteed to last through the winter. The following list contains plants that should hold up very well in most parts of the country.

  • Alaeagnus. A nice variegated plant for the winter garden.
  • Annuals: You can plant a variety of annuals in late winter and early spring, depending on what area you live in. Try out foxglove, snapdragon, nasturtium, pansies, calendula, bachelor buttons, and sweet alyssum. Some of these plants are more intended for the warmer parts of the country, so make sure to ask your nursery or extension agent for more information.

  • Asters: This plant produces a large group of flowers with lots of fall color. Asters can bloom well into the fall and early winter in some areas.
  • Azalea Girard ‘Crimson’: This is a shrub that grows between two to three feet high. This plant has beautiful fall and winter foliage.
  • Big Betony: A nice plant similar to lamb’s ears that works well all year long.
  • Blue Leaved Hebe: A beautiful spreading plant.
  • Bulbs for the Spring: Daffodils, day lilies, iris, tulips, and ranunculus. Plant these bulbs in the fall and winter for early spring blooms.
  • Boxwood: An excellent garden plant for year round beauty.
  • Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides): An evergreen fern. Also used for Christmas decorations.
  • Evergreen Vines: There are a huge number of pretty vines that will provide your garden with year round color and interest. English ivy is an excellent overall vine for your landscaping. Even vines like wisteria that are deciduous can add interest with there sculptural trunks. See this site for more information.
  • Gaultheria

  • Gaultheria: A popular groundcover that has red berries in the winter.
  • Golden Ragwort (senecio aureus): Another semi-evergreen groundcover. Works well in the shade.
  • Green & gold (Chrysogonum virginianum): A beautiful semi-evergreen groundcover. Yellow flowers in the early spring.
  • Holly

  • Holly Trees: These are evergreen shrubs that can grow into small trees. Holly plants are very diverse. Winterberry Holly (ilex verticillata) is actually a deciduous plant that has spectacular red berries.
  • Indian Hawthorne: An excellent shrub for your landscaping. Works well in containers as well.
  • Junipers: Attractive evergreen plants that come in a huge variety of colors and sizes. They usually have attractive berries that are present during the fall, winter, and spring.
  • Lavender plant

  • Lavender: An attractive herb that maintains interest through the fall and winter.
  • Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis): Pink, purple or whitish flowers in the late winter and early spring.
  • Nandina

  • Nandina: An evergreen shrub with showery fall and winter colors.
  • Pansies

  • Pansies: You can plant these colorful flowers in the fall and they will continue to bloom throughout the fall and winter. “Icicle Pansies” are a good pick.
  • Firethorn Pyrcantha

  • Pyrcantha (Firethorn): An attractive evergreen shrub that grows very tall and has colorful orange berries. Also has large thorns and can act as a natural “security fence.”
  • Oleander: This is an attractive shrub that can grow into a small tree.
  • Ornamental Grasses: Blue fescue and blue oat grass are good choices that will keep their shape and often their color through winter.
  • Pincushion flower (Scabiosa columbaria): A perennial plant with nice summer blooms and attractive foliage. Attracts bees and butterflies.
  • Plum Pudding Heuchera. An interesting plant with purple leaves and summer flowers.
  • Rosemary plant in winter

  • Rosemary: A beautiful herb that has flowers and foliage that last through cold weather. Has a wonderful smell, too.
  • Sempervivum (Houseleeks, Hens and Chicks): An alpine succulent that looks great even in cold weather.
  • Viburnum Tinus. Flowers in the winter and spring and also produces small berries.
  • Winter Heather. A beautiful bushy shrub for the winter garden.
  • Winter Jasmine: A nice plant with brilliant yellow flowers appearing in late winter and early spring. The flowers have no strong fragrance.
  • Yarrow

  • Yarrow: An attractive perennial with lots of different colors available. Can get a little ragged in the winter but in some areas looks attractive all year long.

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