9 Popular Garden Plants For Winter – A Garden Still Flourishing In Harsh Winter


As an enthusiastic gardening lover, I could spend an entire afternoon in my sweet yard during the weekend.

Either taking care of the plants and water features or having some drink while reading in the garden during warm season. (Some people may suffer mosquitoes infestation in their garden during warm season. Actually, the infestation could be well solved by some natural plants or repellents, which I mentioned in our previous posts.)

With lush and colorful plants surrounding you, you will lose yourself in the natural world and forget all the trifles in the daily life.

While in winter, most of the plants will be withered, making the garden losing its vitality. Here we will show you some excellent garden plants for winter. Hope will be helpful to you to enrich your yard and turn it in one you still want to hang around in the cold season.

1: Plum Blossom
2: Brassica oleracea(Ornamental Kale)
3: Saffron Crocus
4: Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)
5: Cotinus Coggygria (Smoke Tree)
6: Cornus
7: Camellia
8: Coral Bells (Heuchera micrantha)
9: Sedum Spectabile

Plum Blossom

When coming to garden plants for winter, the first one leaping into my mind is Plum Blossom.

During the extremely harsh winter, almost all plants are withered and bare, while the plum standing out alone with pink flowers blossoming on its branches.

The plum is quite resistant to cold, it survives in the snow with tenacious vitality just like a tough warrior.

Actually, the plum blossom occupy a high position in the oriental culture. There is one famous Chinese poem going: fragrance of plum comes from hardship and cold, which means to be successful, we have to exert constant efforts, endure many hardships and overcome lots of difficulties.


There are many varieties of plum blossoms. The cold resistance of different plum blossoms will vary a little, among which the Apricot Plum will top of them.

The plums like warm temperature, generally growing in the area with annual average temperature of 15 ℃ to 23 ℃. But the plum can withstand low temperatures as well. It can still grow well in cold environment with temperature of -5 ° C ~ -15 ° C

Generally, the blooming period of the plum starts from December till February of the next year.

The plum does not have high requirement of soil condition and is tolerant of poor soil. It can grow well on the well drained clay soil, loam soil or weak alkaline soil with pH value ranging from 6.0~8.0.

The plum could be grew directly on the garden ground or planted as bonsai.

Brassica oleracea(Ornamental Kale)

Ornamental Kale, also known as “Leafy Peony”, is a very popular garden plant for winter season.

The colors and shapes of its leaves are rich and varied. The edges of the leaves get different colors, such as purple, green, red and pink. The shape of the whole plant looks like a peony.

Brassica oleracea-(Ornamental-Kale)

Curly Kale has strong cold tolerance and can withstand cold temperature low as -7 °C. It is an important foliage plant for winter season and early spring. The shape of the plant is neat, suitable to grow in flower beds, and also be pot-planted for indoor decoration.

Apart from its high visual value, the Ornamental Kale is also edible as a vegetable. It is a green leafy vegetable with very comprehensive nutrients. In addition, it contains very low calories, it is also an ideal food for body building and weight shedding .

Saffron Crocus

Saffron Crocus is one cold-resistant plant with bulb root. It prefers cold weather, while won’t grow well in the hot environment.

There is one romantic tale going with Saffron Crocus: The pasturage elves prayed to the goddess of flowers-Flora: Please set some flowers blossoming on the desolate pasture for the lambs during the cold deep autumn. It is said that after Flora heard this prayer, many beautiful flowers coming into blossom on the pastures. And the flowers are Saffron Crocus, with flower language as: Happiness and Joyfulness.


It is ideal to plant Saffron Crocus in autumn season on the well drained soil, such as sandy soil, to ensure breathability for its roots. And avoid water accumulation on the soil, which might bring significant damage to the plants.

Saffron Crocus will blossom in deep autumn, with blossoming period from October to November.

You will be definitely delighted when seeing the purple and red flowers standing in your snowy garden during the freezing cold weather.

Ilex verticillata (Winterberry)

Ilex verticillata(Winterberry) belongs to deciduous tree species. There are few leaves or no leaves at all on the plant during winter. Only sparkling red fruits, like agates, hanging on the branches and standing out to be a dazzling landscape in your winter garden.

Ilex verticillata -Winterberry

During withering season, there is no food for the wild animals, such as birds. They can eat Ilex verticillata’s red fruits to spend the cold winter. That’s why the flower language for winterberry is: Life.

Ilex verticillata(winterberry) is extremely cold-resistant and can grow well in the snowy days. It can withstand cold temperature low as -30℃.

Ilex verticillata sprouts on late March, grows on early April and blossoms on early May, with flowering period for about half month. Fruits will be yielded soon after the flowering.

The color of the fruits will be turning to red on early October and leaves of the tree will start to fall on beginning December. The red fruits will keep hanging on the branches till April of the next year.

Cotinus Coggygria (Smoke Tree)

Cotinus coggygria is another popular garden plant for winter season. It is an excellent foliage plant with leaves turning to orange color in autumn season, and red color gradually, eventually even in deep purple color.

Cotinus coggygria -Smoke-Tree

Its pink feather-like flowers, standing on the top of the branches, reminiscent of cloudy fog when seen from afar. That why Cotinus coggygria gets another name: Smoke Tree.

Cotinus coggygria is suitable to be planted in lawns, mounds or hillsides in the garden, or near the evergreen trees. It will add appealing autumn scenery to your yard.


Cornus is a very bright and beautiful plant in the desolate winter, the flowering period can be as long as 50 days.

Normally, the plants start to come into blossom on early March. But sometimes its flowering period can be brought forward to as early as on January.


The vibrantly yellow flowers of the Cornus will definitely bring living touch to your yard. It is an extremely cold-resistant plant and can well withstand the harsh weather during winter in the outdoor garden.


In the cold winter, many plants will go into dormancy or wither. While Camellia is different, because winter is just right its flowering period!


The color of flowers will vary according to different species. Generally, its color would be red, pink, white, etc. The dark green leaves are also very shiny.

Coral Bells (Heuchera micrantha)

Coral Bell is one cold-resistant herbaceous flower, and is regarded as “garden designer” for winter season.

Coral-Bells-Heuchera micrantha

It is not only cold-tolerant (can survive at strikingly low temperature as -35℃), the most outstanding point is its colorful leaves, which will vary with time. Planting one stretch of Coral Bells on your flower bed, it would look like the color palette swept off by God!

Sedum Spectabile

Sedum Spectabile is very cold and drought-tolerant, and it can survive in a very extreme living environment.

Sedum Spectabile blooms in clusters and with many colors: purple, pink, and reddish etc. The flower is very eye-catching and with high ornamental value, I’m sure this plant will please all your visiting guests.


Sedum Spectabile prefers to be planted in well ventilated and drained place. And avoid water logging on the soil. It can withstand temperature low as -20℃.


Instead of crouching indoor during the winter season, you might still want to hang around in your garden if the plants and garden features are well organized and taken care.

Cultivate a combination of evergreen coniferous trees, foliage plants and garden plants for winter as well in your yard, will create a multi-level gardening landscape and bring endless enjoyment to your living environment.

Further Notes For Taking Care Plants In Winter

In addition to growing plants that can survive the harsh cold weather, we should pay attention to taking care the normal plants as well.

Here are some tips for taking care normal plants during winter season.

  • Keeping Warm

winter-garden-plantsThe lowest temperature the Epipremnum aureum can withstand is 15℃, while it is 10℃ for Chlorophytum (Spider plant), Jasmine bonsai, Monstera deliciosa etc. When the temperature is lower than 10℃, bring them indoor to prevent incurring significant damage during severely cold weather.

Most plants can pull through the winter safely after they are moved indoors. If there are still a few plants that can’t stand the low temperature, they can be properly warmed by air conditioning, ideally with temperature set at 10℃~15℃.

  • Cover The Roots For Winter Protection

For the tropical plants, such as palm species, that grow directly on the garden ground, the common cold-proof measure is heaping up one mound on their roots. This will prevent the cold weather damaging their root collar and can reduce the evaporation of soil’s moisture as well.

For big bonsai or medium size plant that is difficult to manoeuvre, we can cover the whole plant with one big basket, with one thin layer of mud daubed on the basket, creating one small and humid greenhouse. Or more simply, we can set one wind barrier near the plants for better cold resistance.

  • Clean The Flowerpots Before Moving Them Indoors

If some plants get pests or disease infestation and the flowerpots are not well cleaned before moving indoors, it would pose high risks to other surrounding plants, which might get easily infected.

A lot of insects or their eggs are lurking in the pots’ soil. It is necessary to inspect the branches and leaves of the plants, cut off the dead branches and infested leaves in time. The bottom and wall of the pots should be well cleaned before moving indoors.

  • Prevent The Plants “Catching Cold”

It is indeed that the plants will “catch cold” as well. Avoid sudden alternating of hot and cold environments.

After moving the plants indoors, keep ventilation for a period of time and let the plants adapt to the indoor temperature gradually.

When the indoor temperature exceeds 20 °C, it is necessary to open the window regularly to cool it down and for better ventilation. It can not only avoid the plants being suffocated, but enhance their cold resistance as well.

If the room temperature is too low, the plants can be covered with plastic bags. Make sure that there are a few holes on the bags for good ventilation.

Once there are water drops appearing inside the plastic bag, we should lift up the plastic bag a bit for better breathe. The water drops indicate that the temperature inside the bag is already too high for the plants.


10 thoughts on “9 Popular Garden Plants For Winter – A Garden Still Flourishing In Harsh Winter

  1. This is such an informative article, thank you. I live in the UK so winter is very cold and wet here. Do you think snowberries and coral bells would cope with the wet as well as the cold?

    1. Hi Amy, thanks for checking this post!
      For Winterberry, as i mentioned in the post: It can withstand cold temperature low as -30℃. And actually it prefers and will grow prosperously in the wet place, such as near the pond, swamp or other wet places. But avoid accumulating water on the planting soil.
      Concerning Coral bells, it can survive at strikingly low temperature as -35℃. Concerning the soil, it prefers loose and fertile ones. The soil could be wet but need to be well drained.
      So i think these two plants can well grew in UK. Hope this will be helpful to you.

  2. Such an interesting article, this makes me want to “make something” from my brown garden. I love the ornamental kale and the saffron crocus. I am in the UK and the only one of the lovely plants shown that is in our garden right now is the Camellia which is full of flowers and very bright.
    Thank you for the inspiration and fab ideas. Mike

    1. Hi Mike, thanks for checking this post. I do hope this article will give some inspiration and make your garden still flourishing during the cold weather!

  3. This is a well informed article for winter plants. What exact regions do these plants do the best in? I’m not sure that they will work in the southern part of the U.S. but it would be nice to think they would.

    1. Hi Cody, thanks for checking this post. And you remind me that i should specify more on the plants that i mentioned, i should indicate more clearly which are area zones can well accommodate the plants. Normally, these plants can grow well on temperate zones. But i will update more detailed or link the post to Wikipedia for the visitors better understanding. Thanks!

  4. Very detailed article. My wife and I have a garden in the spring and summer but have never thought about continuing it into the winter. This article makes me think I need to change some things up.

    Great pictures by the way

    1. Hi Camden, thanks for stopping by and having a look. Do hope this article will bring some new inspirations to you for enriching your garden in winter!

  5. Hi Shaun, thanks for your article!
    This is really very informative for me as i live in the northern part of BC, Canada. We have really cold winter and i`m just wondering what plants are best and how to take care of them.
    I appreciate you sharing this information.
    All the best!

    1. Hi Hanna, thanks for stopping by and checking the post. Do hope this article will be a bit helpful to spruce up your garden for winter season. Have a great day!

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