10 Daring Vegetation for Winter Curiosity within the Southeast

No doubt among the best components about gardening within the Southeast is winters which can be temperate but nonetheless carry seasonality to the backyard. I’m grateful that we don’t typically get bone-chilling chilly that lasts for days and weeks on finish. Many gardeners in colder climates spend their winters ready for spring. As gardeners within the Southeast, we are able to plan for vibrant gardens with winter curiosity in thoughts. For our functions, we are going to outline “winter” as December by February. For this text I’ll take you on a journey by the crops which can be trying good in my winter backyard in jap Tennessee throughout these few months. I’ve made a word of the date I took the picture of every plant to provide you a sense of how the season progresses all through my backyard within the Southeast.

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Yucca gloriosa var. tristis ‘Hinvargas’, Zones 7-11
Yuccas like this Margaritaville™ curve-leaf yucca (Yucca gloriosa var. tristis ‘Hinvargas’, Zones 7-11) keep their construction even when coated in snow.

Curve-leaf yucca

Identify: Yucca gloriosa var. tristis syn. Yucca recurvifolia syn. Yucca gloriosa var. recurvifolia

Zones: 7-11

Measurement: 4 to six ft tall and huge

Circumstances: Full solar; well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: December 25

Yuccas of every kind carry construction to the winter backyard. To me, curve-leaf yucca is likely one of the most sleek. It likes to be planted in full solar with good drainage. Nonetheless, I don’t discover it overly fussy. This plant might be long-lived and arduous to take away, so be sure you place it precisely the place you need it.

Delavay’s schefflera
Even in January, Delavay’s schefflera brings a tropical vibe to the backyard.

Delavay’s schefflera

Identify: Schefflera delavayi

Zones: 7-11

Measurement: 10 to fifteen ft tall and 5 to eight ft huge

Circumstances: Partial shade; well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: January 10

I get extra enthusiastic about this plant yearly. Delavay’s schefflera has massive, broad, enticing leaves which can be evergreen. In winter, seeds mature and cascade over the foliage. It appears to love being planted in afternoon shade.

Hellebores 'HGC’ Josef Lemper’
Flip to hellebores like ‘HGC Josef Lemper’ for lovely blooms in the midst of winter.

‘HGC Josef Lemper’ hellebore

Identify: Helleborus niger ‘HGC Josef Lemper’

Zones: 3–8

Measurement: 1 foot tall and 1 to 2 ft huge

Circumstances: Partial shade; moist, well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: January 16

Hellebores are an thrilling group of crops for North American gardeners. They are often grown virtually wherever. What makes this species, Hellborus niger, and notably this cultivar, ‘HGC Josef Lemper’ so particular is how early and the way lengthy it blooms. Blooming as early as December, it places on a present that lasts for a number of weeks. Flowers fade from clear white to chartreuse inexperienced.

Cyclamen coum
This cyclamen species has mottled leaves and fairly purple blooms.

Jap sowbread

Identify: Cyclamen coum

Zones: 5-8

Measurement: 3 to six inches tall and huge

Circumstances: Partial shade; well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: January 31

Gardeners within the Southeast can go down a protracted street of obsession for cyclamen, however not each species is well-suited for this area. My cyclamen-loving buddies inform me ivy-leaved cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium, Zones 4-8) is the best to develop, however that one is a fall bloomer. If you need a winter gem, Jap sowbread is on the high of my listing. Plant tubers below deciduous bushes. This plant is enticing in foliage and flower.

Iris reticulata ‘Pauline’, Zones 5-9
‘Pauline’ reticulated iris (Iris reticulata ‘Pauline’, Zones 5-9) has flowers that may vary from blue to purple.

Reticulated iris

Identify: Iris reticulata

Zones: 5-9

Measurement: 3 to 4 inches tall and huge

Circumstances: Full solar to partial shade; well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: February 9

Shock! That’s how reticulated iris greets gardeners on a winter ramble. Plant it en masse on the sting of beds and luxuriate in its early blooms. This plant is maybe not as long-lived as different fall-planted bulbs, so plant just a few extra yearly. It pairs nicely with snowdrops (Galanthus spp. and cvs., Zones 3-9) for an early-season present.

Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca'
Blue-colored conifers stand out in stark distinction in opposition to different bushes within the off season.

Blue atlas cedar

Identify: Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’

Zones: 6-9

Measurement: 40 to 60 ft tall and 30 to 40 ft huge

Circumstances: Full solar; well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: February 14

Conifers typically are the kings and queens of the winter backyard. Conifers with blue foliage appear to impress much more in colder months. Blue atlas cedar is one in all my favorites for its standout texture and coloration. Within the Southeast, be sure you don’t plant this or different conifers too deeply to make sure good drainage. For my picks on different stand-out cedars for the Southeast, click on right here.

‘Jelena’ witch hazel
‘Jelena’ witch hazel gives hot-colored blooms in shades of yellow, purple, and orange.

‘Jelena’ witch hazel

Identify: Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’

Zones: 5-8

Measurement: 15 to twenty ft tall and 10 to fifteen ft huge

Circumstances: Full solar; well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: February 15

‘Jelena’ witch hazel is a high shrub for these trying so as to add extra winter curiosity to their gardens. It performs nicely within the understory or in additional solar with enough moisture. This cultivar does job of shedding its leaves within the fall so flowers are much more noticeable throughout their winter bloom.

Forsythia spp. and cvs., Zones 3-9)
Japanese cornel dogwood’s ample little yellow flowers make this tree seem like forsythia (Forsythia spp. and cvs., Zones 3-9) when in full bloom.

Japanese cornel dogwood

Identify: Cornus officinalis

Zones: 5-8

Measurement: 15 to 25 ft tall and huge

Circumstances: Full solar to partial shade; medium moisture, well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: February 17

In the event you love dogwoods, you must add this little-known magnificence to your listing. Exfoliating bark shines within the winter solar and its terribly early blooms are pleasant. These flowers will yield to vibrant purple berries late within the season. This plant is nearly illness and pest free.

Parney cotoneaster
Parney cotoneaster’s vibrant purple fruits distinction nicely with its darkish olive-green leaves.

Parney cotoneaster

Identify: Cotoneaster lacteus syn. Cotoneaster coriaceus syn. Cotoneaster parneyi

Zones: 6-9

Measurement: 6 to eight ft tall and 6 to 12 ft huge

Circumstances: Full solar to partial shade; well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: February 17

If there’s a cotoneaster that has extra fruit per sq. inch than this one, I don’t understand it! Parney cotoneaster is a unfastened, open shrub with lovely foliage and arching stems through the season. In fall, long-lasting fruit develops and persists for an prolonged interval. This Asian species has been identified to flee the confines of cultivation in California, however I’ve not seen this identical subject within the Southeast. It will make an impressive unfastened hedge that provides you with flowers within the spring and a fruit show in fall and winter.


Japanese spirea
This sterile number of Japanese spirea has foliage that emerges cherry purple after which transitions to yellow and orange.

Double Play® Sweet Corn® Japanese spirea

Identify: Spiraea japonica ‘NCSX1’

Zones: 4-8

Measurement: 1 to 1½ ft tall and 1½ to 2½ ft huge

Circumstances: Full solar to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil

Photograph Taken: February 18

It is a smaller spirea that has one in all its greatest moments in late winter. Frost tolerant new foliage emerges vibrant purple when there may be nonetheless loads of chilly within the air. Later within the season, the foliage transitions to hues of gold and orange. The pink flowers are sterile, which alleviates issues about invasiveness and provides the plant itself much more vitality to placed on fabulous shows of foliage.


Strive any one in all these crops so as to add winter curiosity to your backyard. Higher but, plant all of them to maintain the present rolling by December, January, and February.


For much more on winter curiosity within the Southeast, try:


And for extra Southeast regional stories, click on right here.


Andy Pulte is a school member within the plant sciences division on the College of Tennessee.

Photographs: Andy Pulte

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