Your garden can be attractive throughout the year if you include a variety of shrubs with winter interest. Plant mixed shrub and tree borders, perennial beds and foundation plantings around the house. Try to plant winter shrubs where they can be seen and enjoyed from indoors.
Broadleaf evergreens are an important part of the winter landscape. Broadleaf evergreens are flowering shrubs that retain their leaves in winter. This group of shrubs, together with conifers, add structure, form, and color to the winter landscape when other plants are dormant. Some of the most popular broadleaf evergreens are rhododendron, azalea, boxwood, shrub holly, mountain laurel and evergreen euonymus.
Narrow leaf evergreens or conifers, such as pines, junipers, and spruces have needle-like leaves that are retained all year. There are a wide variety of coniferous shrubs in all sizes and shapes, and colors such as blue, yellow and all shades of green.
Some varieties of barberry have red winter berries. In addition to adding beauty to the winter landscape, berry-producing shrubs are an important winter food source for wildlife. Plant in groupings of three or more to increase their visual impact. There are many shrubs that produce colorful winter berries such as winterberry holly, evergreen holly, viburnum, pyracantha, cotoneaster, chokeberry, sumac, and beautyberry.
Stems and Bark
Two of the most popular shrubs for winter color is the red twig dogwood and the yellow twig dogwood. When pruned properly, the bright red and yellow upright stems of these shrubs are an impressive display in the winter landscape. Shrubs that are notable for their winter bark include oakleaf hydrangea, with reddish-brown peeling bark, and crape myrtle shrubs, with multicolor mottled and peeling bark.
Winter blooming camellias have rose-like flowers and evergreen leaves. Adding shrubs for winter interest usually does not include flowering shrubs. However, there are a few shrubs that do bloom in winter. Numerous varieties of evergreen camellias have white or pink flowers appearing in late winter. The witch hazel is another attractive shrub that blooms in the late winter before its leaves appear. This underused shrub comes in several sizes with flowers that range from yellow to red in color.
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