Question: How can I give a little color to my landscape during the winter months?
Answer: Just because it’s wintertime does not mean that you have to do without color in your garden. There are a number of plants with winter interest that can be used to brighten up your landscape during an otherwise bare and colorless time. Listed are just a few plants to consider for bringing color into your winter garden.
Camellias are a traditional garden favorite that provide beautiful flowers in the winter garden. There are many cultivars of camellias available for landscapes. Camellias have been a cherished plant in southern gardens for years, known for their flowers that bloom from fall through winter and range in color from white through pink to deep red. The flowers can be simple, single flowers with few petals or be double flowers that include numerous petals. Camellias range from large shrubs to small trees and have dark-green, broad-leaf evergreen leaves. Camellias tend to favor moist, acidic, well-drained, high-organic matter soils.
There are many cultivars of evergreen hollies that have red berries during the winter. ‘Burfordii’, a well-known cultivar, is a dense shrub or small tree with red fruit. An alternative to the common ‘Burfordii’ cultivar is ‘D’ Or’ that bears bright golden berries instead of the standard red berries. There is even a Chinese holly cultivar that has dark green leaves with cream and gold variations called ‘O’Spring’. Most hollies are durable, very adaptable, and withstand droughts.
Dogwoods are especially striking because they have brilliantly colored red or yellow stems in winter. The ‘Baileyi’ cultivar has a red stem color, while the ‘Flaviramea’ has yellow stems. When used in the landscape these dogwoods are showy in the winter months with their brightly colored stems. Both dogwoods have small, whitish flowers in early summer. The fall foliage is variable but can be reddish purple.
Winter daphne flowers from late January through early March. Winter daphne has a wonderful fragrance that can be used to entice anyone into the garden during the winter. Winter daphne is a small, mounded evergreen shrub with clusters of rosy pink to lavender blooms. Daphne usually grows in sun to partial shade and needs well-drained soil. One downfall to this winter flowering shrub is that it has reportedly been short lived.
Winter jasmine is a broad spreading shrub with arching stems. Winter jasmine has light yellow flowers from January to early spring. The foliage is glossy, emerald-green foliage that is divided into three leaflets. This is a good plant for banks and poor soil areas. Because of its trailing branches, winter jasmine works well along walls where the branches can flow over the side. Winter jasmine can grow rapidly and probably should be rejuvenated every 3 to 5 years by cutting the plants to within 6 inches of the ground.
These are just a few of the many plants that can provide color and interest to your garden during the winter months. There are many other plants that can provide winter color whether it is through flowers, berries, or stems.
Reminder: A new program for 2012 is the “Sampson County Friends of Horticulture.” This program offers monthly “How To” Horticultural Seminars. Please call (910) 592-7161 for more information. Please turn your radio to WCLN 1170AM every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12-noon (that’s lunch time) and listen to the Sampson County Ag Minute segment, which is brought to you by the Sampson County Extension Agricultural Agents. Please call the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center at (910) 592-7161 with your horticultural questions and to register for any upcoming events. Be sure to check out the Ask An Expert Widget at sampson.ces.ncsu.edu for any questions you may have.