A great joy of planning a garden is making sure it provides visual delight year-round. Even if you live in a cold winter climate, you can strategically plan for plants that change with the seasons to get a variety of color, texture, and foliage throughout the year.
Choosing Plants That Evolve with the Seasons
Make the most of plants and seasonal changes to create a garden that is stunning any time of year.
Plants That Change Dramatically in Winter
If you live in a zone with cold winters, you may be limited as to what your garden will host in the winter months. However, there are some options for winter color and texture in a variety of climates:
- Ornamental cabbages and kales: Colorful winter annuals, ornamental cabbages, and kales also have stunning foliage, shapes, and forms.
- Camellia: Camellia, in the right climate, will produce lovely flowers in the fall and winter.
- Winter jasmine: Winter jasmine blooms in the winter and is low maintenance.
- Dogwood: In climates where most foliage is lost in the winter, plant dogwood. This shrub has stunning, colored stems, like red and yellow.
- Snowdrop and Crocus: Plant snowdrop and crocus bulbs for some of the earliest spring blooms.
Early Spring Plants That Change with Seasons
Many seasonal changing plants really come to life in spring. To get foliage as early as possible in the spring, try these plants:
Seasonal Changing Plants: Summer Rebloomers
Not all plants that flower do so only once a year. To keep the floral element in your garden, consider these plants, as they will rebloom to transform your garden with each new season:
- Hydrangea: ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangea was developed to bloom throughout the summer. The color will be pink if you have acidic soil and blue if your soil is more alkaline.
- Iris: ‘Harvest of Memories’ iris is bright yellow and produces two or three blooms spring, summer, and fall.
- D’Oro daylily: ‘Purple d’Oro’ daylily will bloom almost continuously from early summer into the fall.
- Clematis: ‘The President’ is a variety of clematis that blooms in early summer and again in early fall.
- Lilac: ‘Josee’ lilac will give you fragrant, continuous summer flowers on a smaller shrub compared to other lilac varieties.
Plants and Seasonal Change - Fall Color
When choosing plants that evolve with the seasons, don’t forget those that produce stunning fall colors:
- Viburnum: ‘Winterthur’ viburnum is a variety of the shrub that produces pink berries in late summer. These change to deep blue in the fall as the foliage becomes deep red.
- Oakleaf hydrangea: ‘Snowflake’ oakleaf hydrangea is a variety that produces a range of colors from summer through fall. Summer blooms change from white to green to pink, while the foliage turns fiery red in autumn.
- Spicebush: Spicebush is a large shrub that adds bright, cheerful yellow foliage to the garden in fall. With a male and a female shrub, you will also get berries that shift from green to yellow to red.
- Highbush blueberry: Highbush blueberry shrubs will give you edible, dark berries as well as long-lasting, deep red leaves.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.