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Winter Interest

Winter interest perennial plants offer a welcome burst of color, texture, and form in the often bleak landscape of winter. They add visual appeal and life to your garden even when most other plants are dormant. Here are some key characteristics to look for:

  • Evergreen Foliage: This is a major category, showcasing plants with leaves that retain their color and form throughout winter.
  • Colorful varieties: Heuchera with burgundy leaves, Helleborus with evergreen foliage and winter blooms, Carex Evergold with golden blades.
  • Textured foliage: Ferns like Dryopteris erythrosora with coppery fronds, Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' with cascading variegated blades, ornamental grasses like Pennisetum setaceum with feathery plumes.
  • Unique Plant Structures: Even without color, interesting plant structures add visual interest. Look for:
  • Architectural forms: Miscanthus with tall stalks, tall Sedums with upright clusters, Echinops ritro with spiky blue seed heads.
  • Evergreen groundcovers: Creeping Jenny with bright green foliage, Pachysandra with emerald leaves, Ajuga reptans with bronze or purple foliage.
  • Colorful Stems and Bark: Some plants add winter interest with vibrant stems or interesting bark:
  • Red Stems: Dogwood varieties with red twigs, Cornus sanguinea.
  • Exfoliating Bark: Betula papyrifera with peeling white bark, Cornus kousa with mottled bark.
  • Berries and Seed Heads: These provide food for birds and add visual interest:
  • Berries: Viburnum with red berries, Nandina domestica with clusters of red berries, Gaultheria procumbens with red wintergreen berries.
  • Seed Heads: Echinacea with spiky seed heads, Rudbeckia with cheerful cones, Echinops ritro with spherical blue seed heads.

Remember: Choose plants suitable for your climate and growing conditions. Consider your desired level of maintenance and whether you want primarily color, texture, or structural interest. With careful planning, you can enjoy a vibrant and beautiful winter garden despite the cold weather.