Shrubs with Winter Interest

An unexpected plant feature — winter blooms that perfume the air, bright berries, colorful or textured foliage or unusual bark — add a welcome element to gardens. These winter shrubs will not disappoint.
















Edgeworthia, also known as paperbush, is a multibranched shrub that drops its leaves in mid-December to reveal a bare silhouette of beautiful bark and flower buds composing white and yellow clusters that open from December through early April, depending on the cultivar. The strong fragrance evokes springtime in the depths of winter. Look for 'Snow Cream', 'Gold Rush', and 'John Bryant'.

Name: Edgeworthia chrysantha
Growing Conditions: Partial sun to shade; rich, moist soil with excellent drainage
Size: 3–8 feet tall; up to 6 feet wide
Zones: 7–9; in protected areas in Zone 6
Origin: China


Winter Daphne

Winter Daphne is a rounded evergreen shrub with variegated leaves edged in yellow and blooms that appear in late winter to early spring. The rosy pinkish purple flower buds open to light pink or white star-shape blooms. It's stunning in the winter garden and its sweetly perfumed fragrance can snap you out of the winter doldrums. Plant it close to an entry or patio so you can enjoy it.

Name: Daphne odora
Growing Conditions: partial shade to full sun; rich soil with excellent drainage. It doesn't like to be transplanted or disturbed.
Size: Up to 4 feet tall and wide
Zones: 7–9
Origin: China


Red Osier Dogwood

Red osier dogwood, sometimes called red willow or red twig dogwood, is a deciduous shrub. The bright green bark, twigs and leaves of spring and summer turn to a deep red to burgundy in fall. The leaves drop in fall, fully revealing the rich color and structural element of the red stems.  Some cultivars – ‘Flaviramea’ or ‘White Gold’ are available that boast yellow stems instead of red and are sometimes called Golden-twig Dogwood.

Name: Cornus sericea
Growing Conditions: moderate to full sun; likes moist soils and wetland areas.
Size: 4–19 feet tall
Zones: 2–7
Origin: North America


Inkberry Holly

Inkberry is yet another option when it comes of the numerous hollies to consider. It is among the toughest hollies for winter conditions. Inkberry is named for its abundance of black berries during the winter. The evergreen shrub is compact with deep green lustrous foliage, which might become lighter green in summer. Compact cultivars to consider are 'Shamrock' (3– 5 feet) or 'Compact' (4–6 feet).

Name: Ilex glabra
Growing conditions: full sun to full shade; prefers moist soils but somewhat adaptable to dry soils
Size: 4–8 feet tall; up to 8 feet wide, depending on cultivar
Zones: 4–10; more hardy than Ilex crenata for tough winters
Origin: North America



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