The idea of “showy winter plants” sounds like an oxymoron. After all, this time of year, grass is dormant, the trees are bare, and it’s usually dark when we go to work and when we come home. Are there really plants that bring life and color to an otherwise dull winter landscape? Of course there are! Vibrant berries, exotic bark, and unique foliage color are the stars of a winter landscape, and we have the list to prove it.
Best Showy Winter Plants for Commercial Landscapes
Juniperus conferta ‘Golden Pacific’
This low growing evergreen shrub lights up the landscape with soft bright yellow needles. Durable and fast growing, these plants are stunning in mass or as a low border. Deer resistant, insect resistant, and about as low maintenance as you can get, this one is hard to top.
Cedrus deodara – Deodar Cedar
This one is a stunner in the winter months…not that it isn’t a spectacle in every other season. The bright blue needles and graceful weeping shape bring height and color to a drab winter landscape. These trees are drought tolerant and provide ideal nesting sites for many varieties of birds.
Cornus sericea ‘Arctic Fire’ – Red Twig Dogwood
A compact variety of Red Twig Dogwood with vibrant red stems in winter. This shrub is super adaptable and maxes out at about 4′ in height. It is great when used in mass or as a garden border. Bonus – cut branches add dramatic height and color to holiday arrangements
Callicarpa americana – Beautyberry
Beautyberry is native to the Southeast US and is a fast growing shrub with an arching shape. Tolerant of moist soil and full sun, this plant is low maintenance once established. The clusters of metallic purple berries are the star of this show, AND they provide food for birds and other animals.
Ilex verticillata – Winterberry
There are dozens of varieties of Winterberry that vary in size and shape making them very versatile landscape plants. These shrubs thrive in moist soils and are disease and insect resistant. Winterberry is best known for its bird-friendly, vibrant red berries along the stems throughout the winter.
Other Showy Winter Plants Worth a Second Look
Betula nigra ‘Heritage’ – River Birch
Acer griseum – Paperbark Maple
Hammamelis virginiana – Common Witch Hazel
Camellia japonica – Winter Camellia
Coryllus avellana ‘Contorta’ – Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
Jasminum nudiflorum – Winter Jasmine
Muhlenbergia capillaris – Pink Muhly Grass
Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ – Feather Reed Grass
I could seriously go on and on because there are countless more plants out there that dress up winter landscapes. If you are interested in more ideas for brightening up your winter landscape, Request a Winter Landscape Design Consultation or if you want to purchase any of these plants for your home landscape, visit our nursery, Patuxent Nursery.