Test Your Knowledge of Great Plants for the Winter Garden

Autumn is the perfect time to add plants to the landscape, and now is a good time to look at your outdoor space with a critical eye to see where you can add some color, structure or texture to increase winter interest. Yes, your garden can be attractive and appealing during the long winter months. Test your knowledge of great plants to plant now that will add that much needed punch. Answers appear at the end of the column.

1) This tree can be untidy during the spring and summer when it is prone to lose small branches on a windy day and drop its leaves prematurely in hot and dry weather. This tree, however, redeems itself in the winter when its spectacular “V” shaped trunks and papery, peeling bark add great texture and a wonderful silhouette to the winter landscape. Choose the newer cultivars, ‘Heritage’ or ‘Dura Heat.’

2) This beautiful evergreen shrub has dark shiny leaves and dense upright foliage. During the holiday season you can count on a profusion of small, single, bright red flowers with yellow stamens. Unlike other holiday plants that may last only one season, this festive shrub will give you years of holiday blooms and a pleasing evergreen appearance in the winter garden.

3) This deciduous shrub, or small tree, blooms in the spring but is grown primarily for its unusual twisted branching pattern. Make this plant a focal point because its contorted corkscrew branches add tremendous whimsical interest to the winter garden.

4) Nothing hails the end of winter and promise of spring as the blooms and fragrance of this deciduous woody shrub or small tree. The showy and attractive yellow, orange or red scented flowers appear on bare branches in mid to late winter (January – March). An added bonus is the attractive fall foliage.

5) This plant was the 2005 ‘Perennial Plant of the Year’ and deserves the recognition. This spreading evergreen perennial stays low to the ground and rewards the gardener in January or February with a profusion of small bell-shaped nodding blossoms in a variety of colors. This easy to grow and drought tolerant plant will uplift your spirits in the late winter.


1) River Birch (Betula nigra)

2) Yuletide Camellia (Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’)

3) Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’

4) Witch Hazel (Hamamelis intermedia ‘Diane,’ ‘Jelena’)

5) Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus)

For more information on plants that can add winter interest to your garden, contact the UGA Cooperative Extension Fayette County at: 770-305-5176

Bonnie Helander

I am a writer and blogger with a specialty in gardening and a proud graduate of the University Of Georgia. I live in Peachtree City with husband, Dan, and enjoy hiking, gardening, being a member of the Peachtree City Garden Club and rooting for the Georgia Bulldogs!

October 3, 2010