Plants That Peak in Winter for Your Region

Fine Gardening – Issue 203
(left) ‘Dallas Blues’ Switchgrass, Photo: Nancy J. Ondra; (center top) ‘Matrona’ Sedum, Photo: Carol Collins; (right) ‘Silver Ghost’ Lacebark Pine, Photo: Danielle Sherry; (center bottom) western soapberry, Photo: David Salman

Richie Steffen, executive director of the Elisabeth C. Miller Garden in Seattle and a leading expert on plants, discusses the often-undervalued appeal of winter gardens:

“What many see as a dark and inhospitable season of dull dormancy, I view as a chillier continuation of my gardening season. There are many reliable plants that will tolerate, even look their best, during the frosty days of winter. While winter gardens may run short of blooms, especially in cold climates, there is a wonderful selection of evergreen foliage, interesting bark, and richly colored twigs that can make anyone’s winter brighter.”

We couldn’t agree with Richie more. Though winter doesn’t have the same flashy-floral color that spring and summer do, that doesn’t mean the season should be ignored or viewed as a time that the garden is out of commission.

To give winter even more of the love it deserves, we asked some regional experts to pick their favorite plants that peak in winter. They chose plenty of show-stopping shrubs and trees, but also some ornamental grasses that stand tall all year long, as well as a few eye-catching evergreen perennials. Find fantastic plants for winter interest in your region below, and discover even more plants that peak in winter in Richie’s article Winter Interest From the Ground Up.