Jelena Witch Hazel

Check Out These Cool Characters! The Top Plants for Winter Garden Interest

Winter doesn’t have to be white in the garden. Even if there is a blanket of snow covering the soil, these colorful characters will add some pizzazz to the winter garden with their showy limbs, bright berries, and even some flowers! Here are some ideas for what to plant for winter garden interest.the top 10 plants to add interest to the garden in winter


Emerald Colonnade Holly

This beautiful evergreen makes a great topiary planting. Its regal shape responds well to pruning and it thrives in a container environment. In the ground it’s also suitable planted as a hedge. This male holly won’t get berries, but it will stay evergreen all year.

emerald colonnade holly

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

In late winter this dogwood produces showy, small yellow flowers that brighten up the garden. You can prune it into an attractive low branching, multi stemmed shrub or small (15 to 20 feet tall) garden tree.Kornelkirsche - European Cornel Burgundy Lace Japanese Maple

Japanese maples are known for their graceful arched branches that swoop in organic shapes that provide structural interest to the garden in winter. This Japanese maple will not only look attractive in the winter, but also has lacy burgundy red leaves that turn fiery shades in the fall.

Acer palmatum Burgundy Lace

Berry Poppins Winterberry

This cousin of holly only reaches 3 to 4 inches tall but it packs a punch with a full set of bright red ornamental berries in the winter. Not only are these berries perfect for cutting and adding to decorative holiday flower arrangements, but also it provides a good food source for winter birds. berry poppins winterberry

Climbing Hydrangea

This hydrangea may not have any blooms, or even leaves, in the cooler months but the climbing brown peeling bark is attractive in winter. Allow this hydrangea to grow up a trellis, arbor, or wall and become a winter sculpture.climbing hydrangea

Winter Jasmine

Winter jasmine is a winter flowering shrub with bright, lemon-yellow flowers that spill over a wall or a steep slope. Unsupported it will grow to 4 feet tall and 7 feet wide, but provide a trellis or wall for it to climb up and it will reach heights of up to 15 feet. Its slender, bright green stems make an attractive show in winter.winter jasmine


This low growing ground cover is perfect to use in an area that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. It has small blue-green leaves, tiny white flowers in the spring, and red berries through the fall and winter. This evergreen is only 6 inches tall but it’s fast-growing and can reach a width of 8 feet in a short period of time. The berries are also a good food source for winter birds.streibs findling cotoneaster

Sienna Sunrise Heavenly Bamboo

Heavenly bamboo is another evergreen plant that provides for seasonal interest. While it’s slow growing to 3 or 4 feet, the new growth is characterized by fiery, red highlights on green older leaves. If you’re lucky enough to get the flowers in the spring you can get a nice crop of berries in fall and winter. Keep in mind that Heavnely Bamboo can be susceptible to freezing if not protected, so it is best grown in milder winter climates.sienna sunrise heavenly bamboo

Jelena Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is not just a medicinal superhero but also an unusual shrub that adds blazing color to the winter landscape. Flowers have wild coppery petals with dark eyes that look like pom-poms adorning the bare branches. These flowers are also fragrant, so plant witch hazel near entries and patios where you can enjoy them most.jelena witch hazel

Royal Star Magnolia

This magnolia is such an early bloomer that it’s characterized as winter interest. Gray limbs, shiny green leaves, and fuzzy flower buds show in winter. The deeply fragrant double white flowers emerge in spring before the foliage. Magnolias are a good choice to plant where unexpected late freezes can occur as the flowers bloom so early.royal star magnolia

Winter Jewels Apricot Blush Lenten Rose

Hellebores are all the rage in late winter. As they bloom in late winter or early spring they are often called a Christmas Rose or an Easter Rose (depending on when they bloom). The winter jewels apricot blush hellebore has a gorgeous peachy-apricot shade with dark rose speckling and edges. These large flowers are 3 to 4 inches in width and last for weeks. Plant these in a sunny garden for the best blooms.winter jewels apricot blush lenten rose

Thank you to Monrovia for helping me curate the plants for this list! This post was not sponsored but I do love Monrovia’s plants and love to share outstanding varieties for varying garden needs in plant lists. You might also like:

Perennials to grow in the fall for brilliant color Perennials for shade that don't skimp on wow factor The top 10 drough-tolerant perennials to grow in your garden (and save water!)


About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Marie Marsh
    Marie MarshNovember 27,15

    Winter gardening is hard task! My hydrangea has never bloomed during the winter. Thank you for sharing this article! Best regards!

  2. Rogelio Molinar
    Rogelio MolinarDecember 4,15

    Do you mail magazines?

  3. Stephanie Rose
    Stephanie RoseDecember 4,15

    Hi Rogelio, not on paper but you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here:

  4. mari
    mariJune 14,16

    hi stephanie, if i want to plant a holly bush like the red berried one that’ll drop it’s green leaves….what male pollinator will i need? and how many of them would i need? also, when is the best time of the year to plant them? New gardener here….

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