Plants For Winter Interest: Popular Shrubs And Trees With Winter Interest

camellia plant
Image by shihina

By Teo Spengler

Many gardeners like to include shrubs and trees with winter interest in their backyard landscape. The idea is to add interest and beauty to the winter landscape to compensate for the garden’s lack of spring flowers and new green leaves during the cold season. You can brighten your winter landscape by selecting winter plants for gardens that possess ornamental characteristics. You can use trees and shrubs with winter interest, such as colorful fruit or exfoliating bark. Read on for information about plants for winter interest.

Plants for Winter Interest

Just because winter days are cold and cloudy does not mean you cannot have colorful displays of shrubs with winter interest that lure birds into your backyard. Nature always manages to offer variety and beauty in the garden with sunshine, rain and snow. Ideal winter plants for gardens thrive in the backyard when the cold settles in, creating texture and surprises in the landscape when summer shrubs are dormant.

Shrubs with Winter Interest

For those who live in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9, camellias (Camellia spp.) are excellent winter plants for gardens. The shrubs boast glossy evergreen leaves and showy flowers in colors ranging from pink to brilliant red. Choose from hundreds of camellia species to select shrubs with winter interest that fit your landscape.

If you don’t need flowers to grace winter plants for gardens, consider bush berries, with bright fruit that adds dots of vibrant color. Berries attract birds to your yard and might just help them survive through the long winter. Berry-producing shrubs with winter interest include:

Trees with Winter Interest


Evergreen holly (Ilex spp.) is a berry producer that grows into a lovely tree. The bright red berries and shiny green holly leaves may make you think of Christmas, but these trees with winter interest also liven up your garden in the cold season. With hundreds of varieties of holly to choose from, you can find a tree that works well in the space you have.

Another plant for winter interest is the crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica). This beautiful tree is native to Southeast Asia. It grows to 25 feet in height and produces 12 inch clusters of ruffled white or purple flowers. Its gray-brown bark peels back in patches along the branches and trunk, revealing the layer of bark beneath.

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