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Planting for Winter Interest: Blooms and Bark

Planting for Winter Interest: Blooms and Bark



Ben Trest whisks us away to a world of plants that defy nature's wish of quiet dormancy during the wintertime. Topics include types of plants that bloom during the winter and early spring, plants with showy bark and/or berries, and seasonal leaf color.



Plants Mentioned in this Webinar:


Plants for Fall Color:



Deciduous Trees:





Dogwood/Cornus Good tree for understory & along wood lines


Blackgum/Nyssa sylvatica-very hardy, can take a range of conditions.


Japanese Maples/Acer Palmatum

Coral Bark Japanese Maple/Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’-goes from green to yellow to a brilliant orange. Has coral-hued bark for winter interest.






Deciduous Shrubs:



Viburnum (Brandywine Viburnum) -Native species, brilliant red fall color & blooms in the spring.




Sweetspire/Itea-very bright and consistent fall color. Durable and tough bush





Bluestar/Amsonia-brilliant yellow-orange fall color. Looks nice in masses



Bronzing-when an evergreen changes color into the winter. Amount of bronzing depends on sun-more sun = more bronzing


Evergreen Shrubs



Winter Gem/Buxus micro var japonica ‘Winter Gem’

Wintergreen/Buxus micro var japonica ‘Winter Green’

Unravel Buxus sempervirens ‘Unravled


Japanese Cedar/Cryptomeria

Mushroom/Cryptomeria ‘Mushroom’-green during the year, but turns yellow to purple as the temps drop.


False Holly/Osmanthus

Osmanthus heter ‘Goshiki’


Leucothoe-purple to reddish tones


Yucca-evergreen, drought-tolerant, can take a lot of cold and sun.

Yucca ‘Color Guard’-bright, variegated leaves.


Crossvine/Bignonia-native plant. Evergreen vine. Turns a red/purple color in the winter. Good for screening and to create privacy screens 


Heavenly Bamboo/Nandina-does well in full sun

Lemon Lime

Evergreen Perennials


Dianthus-creeping groundcover


Coral Bells/Heuchera-full shade to part sun. Comes in many colors.


Ferns-shade to part sun. 


Autumn Fern-turns bronze and orange in the fall.


Lenten Rose/Helleborus-bloom in the early spring


Winter Blooms


Camellia-plant in a protected area with morning sun and afternoon shade.

Camellia japonica ‘April Dawn’

Learn more about camellia care and varieties.


Winter Jasmine/Jasminum nudiflorum-ground cover plant. Good for sides of driveway, wall, road frontage. Blooms bright yellow mid-winter. Large vining shrub.


Witch Hazel/Hamamelis-native plant. Large bush to small tree. Frilly unique blooms in the mid-winter


Hydrangea-keep the blooms on and intact for winter interest. Especially paniculata varieties.


Winter Texture


Ornamental Grasses-leave seedheads on for movement and color in winter landscapes. Some will bronze in the fall as well. Seedheads also feed birds and wildlife.

Sedge/Carex-evergreen. Good for adding color and texture in shaded areas.



Winter Berries

Learn what to plant to attract birds and wildlife to your garden in the winter months. 


Evergreen Holly/Ilex

Ilex ‘Nellie R Stevens’

Ilex ‘Christmas Jewel’

Ilex ‘Red Beauty’-nice dwarf


Deciduous Holly/Ilex-These get 8-10’ tall.

Ilex ‘Winter Red’




Beautyberry/Callicarpa-bright purple berries

American Beautyberry/Callicarpa


Juniper/Juniperus-wildlife will feed on the blue to black berries.


Cotoneaster-low growing, spreading evergreen with bright red berries.



Winter Texture: Bark

Japanese Maples/Acer palmatum

Coral Bark Maple/Acer palmatum ‘Sango Kaku’-bright reddish/pinkish bark.

Bihou/Acer palmatum ‘Bihou’-stays smaller. Leaves turn yellow, trunks turn red to yellow.

Rough Bark Japanese Maple/Acer palmatum ‘Arakawa’-Knotty, beautiful bark.


River Birch/Betula-peeling, exfoliating bark

Fox Valley-Dwarf River Birch/Betula


Red/Yellow Twig Dogwood-good in naturalized gardens. Yellow twigs tend to get bigger. 8-10’

Arctic Fire/Cornus 'Arctic Fire'



Register for the next Bates Nursery Botanical Bootcamp session here.



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