Though nature appears to vacation during the winter, some species brave the cold. The hardiest boldly survive frost and snow! They can even yield flowers, despite the chilling conditions. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have them in your yard? You can! Many plants grow in winter, defying the odds. Below we’ve listed seven courageous all-stars.
Plants That Grow in Winter
This princess has shiny evergreen leaves and dazzling symmetric blooms. She’s one of the most gorgeous plants that grow in winter! Flowers bear showy shades of pink, peach, and red. You can also find variegated and white varieties. All told, camellia has 280 species.
Camellia prefers zones 6 through 9. She blooms from October through March, her flowers surviving temps down to 15°F! Especially hardy cultivars are Frost Prince, Ashton’s Snow, Elaine Lee, and Snow Flurry. Be sure to shelter her from harsh winds.
Camellia grows to an average height of ten feet. She likes her feet in rich acidic soil, covered with mulch during winter. Unable to withstand drought, she needs regular watering. Partial shade is her preference, and her leaves burn under excessive sun. Start a new shrub in spring, after the last frost.
Firethorn berries flame in orange, gold, and red. Each variety will bring flocks of birds to your property. The fruit clusters also make stunning wreaths and bouquets. Plus, growing this shrub is a walk in the park! She’ll flourish in both sunny and shady spots, whether the soil is dry or moist. The only caveat is that her stems have thorns, hence her name. To be safe, avoid planting her near entryways. If you mulch firethorn, she can withstand short stints of freezing and drought. She’ll prosper in zones 6 through 9.
Firethorn has glossy leaves year-round. White flowers bloom in early summer, followed by berries. To ensure fruit, prune her in early spring before flowers form. Ranging in height and width from six to sixteen feet, she serves several landscaping purposes. Plant her as a border, hedge, or wall-trained specimen known as espalier. She can also be container-grown.
Heather, another low-maintenance plant, is prettiest during winter. She requires little care, cheerfully blooming from both pots and landscapes. Spreading species are ideal ground covers while upright types suit rockeries. Unlike her acidic summer cousin, winter-flowering heather can grow in alkaline soil. She prefers full sun or light shade.
Blossoms can be pale pink, fuchsia, red, or lavender. Some varieties flower non-stop from December through April. Her needle-like leaves also vary in color beyond the usual green; cultivars come in silver, light yellow, bronze, and gold tinged with red. Erica grows in zones 6 through 8.
Prune heather immediately after blooming. During spring and summer, water her regularly. Once a year, mix peat moss into her soil. However, don’t mulch, as she can’t handle sodden feet.
One of the most beautiful plants that grow in winter, holly has an interesting history. The Romans paid homage to the harvest god with holly sprays. Europeans, Native Americans, and Chinese cultures used branches and berries for cultural and religious celebrations. During medieval times, people even believed holly could ward off evil!
With 400+ species of various sizes, you have many options. Small shrubs less than one foot tall can hedge a garden, and trees can serve as wind breaks. Holly’s shape can be round, columnar, pyramidal, and pendant, and her leaves can be large and spiny or smooth and tiny. You’ve probably seen her red berries, but that’s not her limit of color. She also produces fruit in yellow, blue, orange, pink, and white. Her small flowers are white as well.
For holly to bloom, she must have a male shrub close by for pollination. If you intend to plant several, you’ll need at least one guy for every ten gals. Be sure to know the gender of plants before buying them. Plant holly in springtime, just before growth starts, in full sun. She prefers slightly acidic soil that’s well-drained. The soil should also be loamy, mostly sand with some clay. Usually, rainfall is adequate to meet her water needs.
During winter, apply several inches of mulch to prevent damage to her shallow roots. Dispense it in a circle as wide as her branches.
Creeping, arching, climbing, and weeping, winter jasmine is prolific. Wherever her stems touch the ground, they take root. Unrestrained, she’ll expand 20 feet wide. In her glory from December through March, she bears flowers in yellow and pink. You have several landscaping options. Plant her as a ground cover or train her to climb fences and walls. Let her cascade from a rock ledge or retaining wall.
Winter jasmine has an agreeable nature, tolerating shade and most soil types. She fares best in full sun. Though her flowers are surprisingly unscented, she’s a welcome sight on otherwise dreary days.
Red Twig Dogwood
Red twig dogwood is deciduous, dropping her leaves in autumn, revealing scarlet bark. For the brightest color, she needs full sun, but she’ll tolerate partial shade. Although she made it onto our list of plants that grow in winter, she’s a looker year-round with white spring blooms, summer leaves, and red berries from late summer through fall.
She’s suitable for zones 3 through 8, and the “dog” in her name is derived from “dag,” as in dagger. Thus, perhaps unsurprisingly, homesteaders used her strong branches to fashion tools. In addition, Native Americans ate the berries of red twig dogwood to treat colds and staunch bleeding.
Red twig dogwood is a thirsty gal, preferring wet soil. Her wide-spreading roots forestall erosion, and she matures to a height of three to six feet.
Winterberry is related to evergreen holly, but she sheds her leaves in the fall. Animals feed on her berries from summer through winter. Her bright red fruit is a source of food for 48 bird species, and her leaves and stems are savored by moose, rabbits, and deer.
Winterberry grows to a height and width up to 12 feet, depending on variety. Her branches veer in a zigzag fashion, with an upright “crown” or canopy. In early summer, she produces greenish-white blooms, followed by blazing red berries.
Like holly, she must be paired with a male; she only yields fruit with a male plant nearby, within 50 feet. He needn’t be the same species, but he must bloom simultaneously to pollinate her. Space the two at least four feet apart in soil that’s rich with organic matter. In addition, choose a spot in partial shade or full sun. Water weekly through spring and summer until leaves drop in autumn. Prune her in late winter, before signs of sprouting. Be patient, as she is a slow grower.
Landscape with plants that grow in winter, suited to your zone and growing conditions. Your reward will be showy blooms and vibrant fruits. In fact, you may come to regard winter in a whole new way – a season to anticipate!
Finally, if you’d rather leave the job to the pros, contact Nixa Lawn Service. We offer full-service lawn care, from weekly mowing and aerating to overseeding and irrigation. Plus, we can spruce up your landscaping with newly trimmed bushes, mulching, lighting, water features, trees, and (of course) some plants that grow in winter. To get started, please give us a call at 417-724-0318 or contact us online.