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Selecting Winter Hardy Plants for your Landscape

Living in northern climates presents a challenge for people when planning their home landscape. It is important to consider hardy winter resistant plants and shrubs. Many of the plants people use in landscaping are annual plants. They will not survive the harsh winter season. Annuals have their place in the landscape, but perennials, shrubs, and trees are the heart of a mature landscape. The hardy plants survive the winter and continue to grow the next year. An advantage of this is that you can plant some spring flowering shrubs to brighten your days as the warmer weather approaches. Hardy plants also add beauty to the stark days of winter by adding contrast to the winter landscape.

Winter Resistant Plants

Although most northern climate zones can support a beautiful array of trees such as Birch, Maple, Oak, and Dogwood, many homeowners would also like their landscape plants and shrubs to remain appealing even on the worst days of winter. With this in mind there are a variety of beautiful winter resistant plants and shrubs that can easily be added to the landscape during the warmer months.

Bayberry Shrub PhotoBayberry

If you are looking for a winter resistant shrub with fruit that will not attract deer throughout the seasons, the Bayberry shrub is an excellent choice. For those homeowners who enjoy birds in the spring, summer and fall months, the wonderful part about the Bayberry shrub is that while deer stay away, the birds love the fruit on this winter resistant plant. The Bayberry shrub also does well in warm weather and can be planted in shade or full sunshine without being disturbed.

Evergreen Holly ShrubEvergreen Holly

Holly is popular as a Christmas decoration because holly is one of the best available as far as winter resistant plants and shrubs go. Evergreen holly is also one of the most popular winter resistant plants because it also dons beautiful bright berries and elegant, evergreen colored foliage. Although many homeowners believe the Evergreen holly is excellent in all cold climate zones, it really does not do that well in extremely cold climate zones. Before using this plant, check your climate zone to be sure it will survive in your area.

Acacia Shrub PhotoAcacia

While both Prostrate Acacia and Acacia Redolens fall under the category of excellent winter resistant plants and shrubs, they also fall under the category of excellent drought and heat resistant plants and shrubs. Although there are no blooms in the majority of acacias, they do provide beautiful green foliage in the winter months and will be a wonderful addition to any winter landscape.

Longstalk Holly ShrubLongstalk Holly

This winter resistant element can be either a large shrub or tree, depending on the type of product selected at the landscaping company or store. Although it is called a holly the leaves are a beautiful evergreen that look more like mountain laurel than holly. One of the best reasons for selecting the Longstalk Holly is that it not only does well as a winter resistant shrub but it is also extremely heat resistant, making it excellent for climate zones that will warm up in the summer months. The trees will don a beautiful fruit throughout different seasons but especially in the winter, making this an excellent choice to spruce up your winter landscape.

Cranberry Bush PhotoCranberry Bush

Although the Cranberry bush is considered a shrub, it is a small shrub that can easily be mistaken as a plant and can be placed nearly anywhere in the garden to add color and flair. The Cranberry bush really is excellent for almost any season, but does well as a winter resistant plant. It produces large quantities of red berries in the wintertime, which add beauty to the winter landscape and feed the birds as well. In the early to middle summer months, the Cranberry bush will produce beautiful little white flowers and in the late summer there will also be red berries. The Cranberry bush foliage also turns a deep reddish purple, so is a plant that offers something for every season landscape.


These are just a few of the possibilities available when selecting hardy plants for a winter landscape. Many other small evergreen shrubs, like Boxwood are also very attractive during the winter months. Check with your local garden center to be sure the plants you want to use will live in your climate. Although not always true, a good rule of thumb is that if you can’t buy it locally, it probably won’t grow in your area.


3 Responses to Selecting Winter Hardy Plants for your Landscape

  1. Website Design September 3, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    I really like your writing style, good information, thanks for posting

  2. Mr. Thompson December 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    I have a very nice plant growing in my front yard. However, my dilemma is I don’t have any idea what this plant is and don’t have a clue to care for it this winter. I have a collection of pictures of the plant that I can show someone if they can help!

  3. Annie S. Shaffer May 26, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    Tough winters aren’t the biggest challenge that many Northeastern gardeners have to face; the region hosts hordes of hungry deer. Try adding deer-resistant plants in your landscape — the critters usually avoid them so you can garden in peace.

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