Twenty Terrific Plants for Winter Landscapes


It is very difficult to imagine what a yard would look like in the winter, but the winter brings an entirely new landscape with colours, textures, and shapes that cannot be seen at any other time of the year. What if the coming winter meant five months of beauty without staking, pruning or watering a single plant? (Click to Tweet)

Here are twenty plants that will keep a low profile from spring to fall, and then reappear when the cold weather arrives!

Color: When the world fades to shades of white and grey, these shrubs show their true colors.

Shrubby Dogwood (To guarantee bright color each winter, prune dogwoods each spring to remove some older branches and allow more new growth. The newer branches show better color.)

  • Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ (coral-red branches)
  • Cornus alba ‘Bud’s Yellow’ (yellow)
  • Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ (orange-red)

False Cypress

  • Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Aurea’ (yellow)
  • C. pisifera ‘Boulevard’ (blue)

Creeping Juniper

  • Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltoni’ (blue)
  • J. horizontalis ‘Mother Lode’ (yellow)


  • Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Angel’ (blue-green leaves, red berries)
  • I. x meserveae ‘Golden Girl’ (green leaves, yellow-orange berries)

Berries: If done right, birds will enjoy these berries until late winter.

  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
  • Firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea)
  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma)
  • Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum, V. dilatatum, V. lentago, V. opulus, V. rhytidophyllum and V. trilobum).

Texture: Shiny bark mirrors winter light and grasses rustle in the wind.

  • River birch (Betula nigra)
  • Paperbark maple (Acer griseum)
  • Bamboo (Nandina domestica)
  • Grasses (Miscanthus sp., Panicum sp.)

Shapes: Different sculptural forms are pleasing to the eye and create a foil for frost and snow.

  • Boxwood globe (Buxus)
  • Irish yew (Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’)
  • Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana)
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia, C. florida and C. kousa)

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