All avid gardeners will agree that their gardens present a sorry sight during winter months. Shorn of plants and bereft of blooms, the space reflects the starkness and bleakness of its surroundings. But it need not be so. There are many plants that grow throughout the winter months and some sprout colorful blossoms even when your driveway is buried under inches of snow. Knowing about these plants and trees will help you infuse a patch of color and a spot of cheer in your winter garden.
Whoever rues that winter is all dull, dreary, and absolutely shorn of colors will be surprised to know that the season can sport vibrant hues like fiery reds, bright violets, brilliant oranges, cheerful yellows, and lovely pinks. And all these right in your backyard! There are many plants that not only grow but also thrive in even the frostiest of winters. What is more, some of these varieties are quite low-maintenance plants that do not need to be pampered. The discussion below lists some plants that grow throughout winter and paint your garden in a riot of colors.
The camellia is a gardener’s sheer delight. The plant sports dark green and shiny foliage throughout the summer months and puts up a colorful spectacle during the winter with showy flowers in various brilliant shades of pink and red. Plant them in spring in a partially shady area. Put it in too much sun and the leaves will burn and wilt. Give it less light and the plant will not produce those gorgeous blooms. Plant the new trees in rich acidic and well-drained soil and keep it well-watered. Elaine lee, snow flurry, frost prince, and ashton’s pride are some camellia varieties that can stand wintry conditions well.
The evergreen holly is a firm winter favorite with its glossy deep green leaves and red berries that perfectly gel with the Christmas spirit and provide a bewitching display of colors against a snowy backdrop. It is a hardy plant and is not known to be prone to pest infestation. Plant the sapling right after the last frost has cleared the ground and the air has turned warmer. Hollies are drought-tolerant plants that thrive in well-drained acidic soil. Plant the trees in a place that receives full to partial sunlight.
A Japanese maple in full bloom during the fall season is a spectacle to behold. These trees can grow up to 25 feet but there are also some dwarf varieties that sport equally spectacular red, orange, and golden foliage. You can also grow them in containers and they make especially good candidates for bonsai. Plant new trees in spring, just after the last frost. These are hardy trees that grow well even in poor soil. They however thrive best in well-drained loamy soil that contains clay, sand, and silt. Although the fully-grown trees are pretty drought-tolerant, young plants need to be watered regularly and kept moist especially during harsh summers. It is best to plant the saplings in an area that receives partial sunlight and is shielded from high winds.
Pansies are the ideal plants to paint the grey canvas of your winter garden in dazzling strokes of crimson, deep blue, pale pink, sky blue, and rich violet. You should plant the seeds or saplings in late spring and no later than early fall. Plant these in a sandy and well-fertilized soil. Water the seeds or the saplings well. Pansies can also be grown in pots. The seeds germinate best in a warm environment but ensure that you keep the young plants away from scorching sunlight at least during the first two weeks after planting them.
Crepe myrtle is a favorite flowering tree of gardeners all around the world. Although a native of South-East Asia, this tree has adapted well to other vastly differing climates. These can grow up to heights of 25 feet and sport fragile-looking ruffled flowers in shades like snowy white and brilliant purple. There are however, some varieties of crepe myrtle that grow only up to shrub heights (you are thus spared the hassles of regularly pruning the branches) and provide the ideal foliage for your garden border. Plant the new trees in well-drained soil and in a place that receives full sunlight. Water the saplings regularly as they cannot tolerate drought conditions.
Berry bushes not only add splotches of color in your dull winter garden but also attract lots of birds. In fact, if you are a wildlife lover, you will want to have some of these shrubs in your garden especially during the cold winter months when your feathery friends have a tough time foraging for food. There are various kinds of berry bushes with differing abilities to withstand wintry conditions. Arrow-wood, sea buckthorn, Russian olive, and some varieties of crabapples are known to thrive in extreme cold conditions.
That very effective astringent with a delightful fragrance can make the leap from your makeup kit to your winter garden without you needing to put in much effort. Witch hazel is a dense shrub that is a great for borders. Plant the saplings in spring or early fall in well-drained and amply-fertilized soil in an area that receives partial sunlight. It is a no-fuss plant that does not demand tender loving care after it takes roots and settles in your garden. Just ensure that you water the young plants regularly during the hot summer days. Sprinkle mulch around the plant base to prevent the soil from drying out between watering.
Ornamental kale is a gardener’s favorite not only because of the vivid hues it sports but also for the diversity of texture that it adds to your winter garden landscape. They are fast-growing plants and require very little maintenance. Plant the saplings in late spring or fall in a place that will receive the full burst of sunlight. This ensures that the foliage is bright. The colors will start to appear only after the first frost and will continue to delight you throughout winter. Fertilize the plants well and cover them if you have forecasts of snowstorms.
Contrary to popular belief, plants that grow throughout winter—both annuals and evergreens—can actually withstand even frigid temperatures if you have tended to them well during their tender sapling days. Once these plants settle themselves in your garden or window sill, expect them to delight you with their foliage and blooms as rewards for all the love and care you had showered on them before.