This page may contain affiliate links. In addition to sharing our personal experiences, we often write about products and services that we use ourselves or that we believe would be a helpful resource for you. To support our work, and remain a free website, we receive a commission from some of the links we share.
The plants that made your garden look great through the summer can make it look downright depressing in the fall.
The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of a nice garden though.
Following are 6 plants that thrive in the winter and remain colorful until spring comes around again…
Plan Now For Winter Landscaping
As fall winds down into winter, the brilliant autumn foliage around your home will give way to dreary browns and grays.
The garden views that brought you pleasure for 3 seasons may look rather dreary by the time December and January roll around — but they don’t have to if you incorporate some color into your winter landscaping.
The idea is to build plants into your landscaping that will provide flashes of color throughout the winter months.
While there are only a few plants that actually bloom in winter, you can also add plants with bright foliage or colorful berries to expand your cold season color palette.
Colorful Winter Flowers & Plants
The 6 colorful winter plants suggestions listed here range from small plants to large shrubs and include annuals and perennials.
See which gardening zone you live in.
Plants on this list that are hardy above Zone 6 will also be indicated — but if you live in a more northern area, you should ask your local nursery which plants are able to thrive through the winter.
#1 – Heather
Well-loved in European gardens, heather deserves more attention in the United States.
One variety in particular, Blazeaway, brings brilliant color to the winter landscape.
Like other heather, it produces small purple flowers in late summer to early fall — but when the first frost hits, its foliage turns a bright orange red and remains so until spring.
Even better, with good mulching, Blazeaway is cold-hardy as far north as Zone 4.
#2 – Hellebores
Hellebores are better known as the “Christmas rose” and “Lenten rose”:
- The Christmas variety produces white blooms in December and can even bloom in the snow!
- The Lenten variety blooms in the very early spring.
Both have flowers that gradually turn green and become leaves of the plant as the season goes on.
#3 – Camellias
Camellias have glossy evergreen leaves, and their flowers range from white to light pink to dark fuchsia.
In the southern United States:
- Fall-blooming camellias can bloom right through the winter.
- Spring-blooming varieties begin blooming in January.
Increasingly hardy cultivars have been developed for more northern climates.
A combination of hardy fall-blooming and spring-blooming varieties can provide showy flowers through the winter as far north as Zone 4.
#4 – Ornamental Kale and Cabbage
Ornamental kale and cabbages are annuals planted in fall for winter color interest due to the deep
purple, green and white leaves they produce.
Hardy from Zones 3 through 11, they are an excellent winter gardening choice for most areas of the United States.
Although called ornamental, they are actually edible — like their vegetable garden cousins, just not as tender and flavorful.
#5 – Violas and Pansies
Violas and pansies are closely related:
- Violas are smaller and often planted as ground cover.
- Pansies tend to be one of the larger and showier landscaping plants.
Pansies and violas both prefer cool weather to warm weather and will happily bloom through the fall. They perk up again for even more blooming as soon as the weather warms up a little.
These annuals are best planted in early to mid-fall, and should be replaced with summer plants when spring heat causes them to wilt.
In Zone 7 and southward, these flowers typically bloom all winter long.
#6 – Winterberry
Winterberry is related to the holly:
- The holly is an evergreen that retains its leaves all year round.
- Winterberry loses its leaves in the fall, leaving nothing to obstruct the view of its gorgeous orange to orange-red berries.
Hardy as far north as Zone 3, winterberry is practical as a winter landscaping plant, as well as a decorative plant — because birds enjoy the berries during the winter when other food can be scarce.
There’s no need to wait till spring for colorful outdoor flowers.
Grow a few of these winter-blooming perennials and shrubs in your backyard and you won’t miss out on colorful winter landscaping this year!
Other Winter Landscaping Suggestions
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some additional resources to help you plan your winter landscaping around the house:
- Advice About Winter Plants
- How To Acclimate Plants To The Indoors During Winter
- Steps You Should Take To Ready Your Plants For Winter
- Home & Garden Tours Are A Great Way To Get Landscaping Ideas
My husband and I have been through the home building process… from scratch… more than once! (And we still have a few pieces of property that we might build on in the future.) So we definitely have some helpful tips to share when it comes to designing your dream home and building a house from the ground up. We've also learned that the 'fun' doesn't end once the house is built. Our clever home maintenance hacks will save you time and money each year that you live in the home. And… since everyone's house eventually needs a little remodeling (as has ours), we've got some ridiculously helpful home renovation tips as well! Whenever I’m not DIYing something around the house or adding to my Dream Home Wish List, you can find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).