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Winter Plant Ideas – Color & Texture

US_Growing_Zones_smallLast week, I presented some ideas for adding winter-interest plants to your landscape in such a way that they provide four-season beauty, and introduced you to some new evergreen varieties. This week, I’d like to introduce you to some new plants that can add color and texture to your landscape, even in winter.

Plants that add color include…

  • Impish Elf Lily of the Valley Shrub (Pieris japonica ‘Shy’) – This compact shrub, hardy to Zone 6, was just introduced in 2015. It has deep purple-pink buds that burst into bell-shaped blooms for late-winter color. The glossy, new, red foliage is good for foundation or mass plantings. It’s the first in the new Enchanted Forest series and grows 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.
  • Windcliff Double Pink Lenten Rose (Helleborus x. ‘Woodcliff Double Pink’) – This old-fashioned perennial, hardy to Zone 4, is becoming increasingly popular. A beautiful new variety with double pink flowers blooms in late winter. Mounding foliage clumps are 15 to 18 inches tall and 24 inches wide.
  • Arctic Fire Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera ‘Farrow’) – This native shrub, hardy to Zone 3, has gorgeous red stems, especially against a background of snow on sunny days. The Arctic Sun variety has yellow stems with red tips. Both work well in borders, in mass plantings or in container gardens.  They grow 36 to 60 inches high and wide.

Plants that add texture include…

  • Gold Bar Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinesis ‘Gold Bar’) – Gold stripes on bright green leaves with burgundy stalks add both texture and color to your winter landscape. This slow grower, hardy to Zone 5, grows 4 to 5 feet tall, 20 inches wide.
  • Little Quickfire Hardy Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘SMHPLQF’) – White summer flowers fade to pinkish-red and linger throughout cold-weather months. Hardy to Zone 3, this plant is ideal in mixed borders, as a foundation planting or as an accent. It actually blooms earlier than most hydrangeas. The dwarf form grows to 36 to 60 inches tall and wide.
  • Winter Berry Poppins (Ilex verticillata ‘FarrowBPop’) – Hardy to Zone 3, this cold-hardy native deciduous shrub has stunning red berries in fall through winter. The heavy fruiting dwarf variety fits in most landscapes. Use Mr. Poppins as a pollinator to yield fruit. Grows 36 to 48 inches high and wide.

Even if you don’t select these specific plants, I hope reading about them will give you inspiration to add more winter interest to your landscape. Most of these plants are new varieties of species that have been around for a long time.

Here’s hoping you have a nice, peaceful, yet productive winter. Please don’t put your green thumb away. Keep it active this winter thumbing through gardening books and magazines, and meeting with one of our landscape designers to create a beautiful four-season landscape next year that you will want to sit by the window admiring and enjoying it.

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