When winter rolls around and you don’t want to deal with cold, your best bet is to plant easy-to-grow, hardy perennials. Flowers and crocuses are great choices, but they still suffer from the cold. The best protection against the cold comes from evergreens. Read on to learn more about winter-hardy perennials. Listed below are five of my favorite plants for winter. Try one or all of them!
Irises are perennials that thrive in cool, damp conditions. However, in cold climates, the plants can benefit from winter mulch. This will moderate the cycles of thawing and freezing that can push the plants out of the ground and expose them to the risk of winter rot. Another option for winter mulch is snow, which acts as a natural insulator. If your climate has ample snow, you can place the mulch on the iris planting in the fall and gradually remove it over the winter.
Irises grow from rhizomes, which are most easily divided once they bloom. It is best to divide one clump after it blooms to promote regrowth. To divide one clump, cut several rhizomes from the main plant, using a sharp knife. Be sure to separate two clumps. The division process should be done gently and carefully, as the plant will have plenty of time to grow and bloom again next spring.
If you want to enjoy the flowers of an Iris year-round, you can plant clumps of dwarf irises near the side of a house. They will bloom for several months in a row. They grow to about 12 inches tall, and they will produce flowers from November through March if planted in spring. Irises are very hardy and don’t need much attention, so they are a great choice for cold-weather gardens.
A crocus bulb should be planted about three to four inches deep in fall. Water the bed in the fall and cover with mulch before the winter months. Remove the mulch in February to allow the crocus to produce its first blooms. Despite their early blooming season, crocuses can be forced to bloom indoors during the winter months. Here are some tips for forcing crocus to bloom indoors.
A crocus bulb is one of the most popular flowers of the winter season. It grows from corms that are planted in the fall and blooms in late winter or early spring. The plants grow well in both part-shade and full sun. Clematis crocus is a winter flowering evergreen with bell-shaped petals. Crocus is a hardy perennial that needs part-shade, but can tolerate a moderate amount of shade.
Care for your crocus: The first tip for growing crocus in the winter is to water them regularly. They need ample time to store the energy they need to produce beautiful flowers next year. Avoid overcrowding them by dividing large clusters into smaller clusters and replanting them with plenty of space between them. Also, don’t forget to divide extra crocus bulbs and plant them in new locations or share them with your friends.
If you want a low maintenance outdoor plant, ivy is a great choice. It grows vigorously from 13 to 17 feet tall and will complement other evergreens. Ivy’s dagger-like leaves complement the textures of evergreens, and the plant’s name was derived from the Roman god Bacchus. He favored the plant, which he invested with the power to prevent drunkenness. A ivy wreath was a common ornament on the heads of Romans, who were famous for sporting or intellectual prowess.
Ivy is hardy and tolerant of cold temperatures. In a garden, it thrives in dappled light. The soil should be kept moist when young, and allowed to dry between watering sessions. You must trim it a few times a year to keep it from becoming too invasive. It will also need staking, and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
If you have a large outdoor space and want to keep ivy growing, you may consider training it to climb on fences and buildings. This plant is an excellent choice for both full sun and partial shade gardens. You can even train it to climb a wall or arbor if you want to give your garden architectural interest. It will keep the weather at bay until spring. But be sure not to over-water it, as it is known to die back during the winter months.
While coral bells do best in partial shade, they need at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day to bloom. Because their leaves are so pale, this isn’t a problem if you live in a cool climate, but they can handle more sun if given enough moisture. Coral bells grow best in humus-rich soil that drains well. They will grow poorly in soggy soil, so add compost to your soil to increase the drainage.
If you want to extend the life of your coral bells during the cold season, you should cut off the dead leaves or damaged stems with pruning shears. If necessary, prune the plants three to four inches above the ground. You can also divide the root clumps if you want to propagate more than one plant. If you’re not interested in propagating your plants, you can always divide them once they’re in flower and enjoy their beauty for years to come.
This perennial is shade-tolerant and easy to grow. The leaves of coral bells are glossy and vary in color from dark olive green to deep bronzy purple. It does best in partial shade to avoid scorching or fading of leaves. This genus is a good choice for container gardens because the water-soluble fertilizer will replenish nutrients that leach out of the soil. Coral bells are tolerant of a range of light temperatures and a variety of soil conditions.
One of the best outdoor plants for winter is Nandina, commonly called “Heavenly Bamboo.” This perennial is actually in the barberry family. Nandina foliage varies from lime green to reddish-orange, and is stunning when paired with fall colors. This plant can be grown in nearly any part of the landscape, and is a particularly useful choice for areas that don’t receive much sun. It can even grow in shady conditions.
Most Nandina plants are light feeders, but they will benefit from fertilization. Feed your Nandina once a year in the spring with a slow-release shrub and tree food, or a natural organic plant food. Fertilizing should be stopped two months before the first frost in your region. If you’re planting your Nandina in a container, consider using a water-soluble fertilizer or timed-release fertilizer.
Nandina domestica, also known as heavenly bamboo, is another good choice. This plant grows slowly to reach its maximum height of 1.5 meters. It can take as long as 20 years to grow to its full height. Nandina is hardy in the UK and tolerates temperatures between -23 and 43degC. In colder climates, it doesn’t require protection from frost. The berries produced by this plant are highly prized by pollinators.
When it comes to planting a tree, the best outdoor plants for winter are the evergreen blue spruce. This beautiful winter plant is hardy in Zones 2-7, and requires full sun. Its foliage is useful in making Christmas wreaths. It grows well in full sun and requires little pruning. Blue spruce can be planted in late fall or early winter, but you should avoid planting it in early fall as this makes it vulnerable to winter damage.
Despite its name, blue spruce is native to Japan. It is now grown extensively on American soil, where it is popular as a Christmas tree. Although its foliage is blue, it is incredibly resilient and can survive dry weather and cold winters. Blue spruce is also a popular choice for holiday decorations because its berries are red. It does require constant watering and full sunlight, but it is a low-maintenance plant that requires little care.
Blue spruce trees need plenty of water, especially in the first few years of growth. Avoid overwatering it or you may see its needles turning brown or die off. The bark beetle, or pine beetle, is another common pest of blue spruce. Blue spruce can be treated with pheromone packets or spraying to prevent infestation.
The best camellias to grow during winter are those with low chill tolerance, such as the ‘Winter’s Snowman’ and ‘Polar Ice.’ They can tolerate temperatures down to -15 degF but will need protection from wind and winter sun. Other high-quality varieties to consider include ‘Snowflurry’, ‘Lady Hume’s Blush’, and ‘Snowflake’.
To protect camellias from a cold snap, plant them in pots. When the weather forecast predicts a hard freeze, cover them with plastic. Plants in pots should be anchored with stones or bricks to help trap heat from the soil. Once the temperature warms up, remove the plastic, which may create a greenhouse effect and scorch the camellias. Alternatively, plant them in a sunny window.
Although camellias have long been staples in southern gardens, new cultivars are becoming increasingly hardy and cold-tolerant. The Winter and April Series, introduced by Dr. Ackerman, are excellent choices for climates in which Camellias can tolerate temperatures as low as 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Some cultivars even survive down to USDA Zone 6 where winter temperatures can drop to minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit.