Cold Hardy Shrubs – Popular Shrubs With Winter Interest

Red Berried Shrubs Covered In Snow
winter shrub
(Image credit: Delpixart)

All shrubs look great in spring when new leaves or blossoms cover the branches. Some can add interest to a garden in winter as well. Shrubs for winter don’t have to be evergreens to be ornamental in the colder months. Some shrubs with winter interest have brightly colored stems or fruit that remain on the branches as autumn turns into winter. For more information about winter shrubs, read on.

Choosing Shrubs for Winter

Fall can bring brilliant and fiery displays as leaves turn different reds and yellows. Eventually, the colors fade and winter gray blankets all. If you choose your backyard shrubs carefully, however, they can add color and interest to the garden.

Which plants make good winter shrubs? It is important to pick cold hardy shrubs that thrive in your hardiness zone. In addition, look for shrubs that offer ornamental qualities when their leaves are gone.

Fruiting Shrubs to Grow in Winter

When winter arrives, you’ll be glad to have shrubs with winter interest in your backyard. Trees that hold onto fruit into the winter months are often very ornamental. 

Winterberry hollies (Ilex verticillata) are popular choices for shrubs to grow in winter. These native shrubs lose their leaves in winter, but the red holly berries stay on the branches almost until spring. Wild birds feed on the fruit.

There are many other shrubs that hold onto fruit throughout winter. These cold hardy shrubs include:

Winter Shrubs with Beautiful Bark

If a deciduous shrub has beautiful or unusual bark, it can become a focal point in winter. The Redosier dogwood shrub (Cornus sericea), a type of red-twig dogwood, displays brilliant red stems once autumn leaves fall. This makes it a great winter shrub to have.

Coral bark willows (Salix alba ‘Britzensis’) also stand out as a winter shrub. Their pale orange bark adds color to the garden.

Shrubs with exfoliating bark are especially lovely shrubs for winter. Consider planting a paperbark maple (Acer griseum). When its leaves fall, you can admire the cinnamon-hued peeling bark that is the texture of paper.

Another you could select is the Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia). Its bark peels back to expose hues of brown, silver, and gold.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.