The bright-colored berries of a firethorn plant last through winter. ATTRIBUTION: slgckgc (Flickr)

Don’t let the gloomy winter weather affect the beauty of your garden. There are numerous species of plants that thrive during the cool season. Vibrant winter plants can add an instant splash of color to a lifeless winter garden and are hardy enough to withstand cold temperatures, harsh winds, and precipitation. I’ve experimented with many different winter plants over the years, and the following are best-suited for the cold.


Camellia is a stunning woody plant with its elegant shape, bright green foliage, and colorful blooms. These winter-friendly plants generally bloom from late October into February, with blooms that range from white to red and all shades of pink. Winter-flowering camellias are typically 4 to 12 feet tall and have a dense, upright shrub shape. They are most suited for areas that receive part sun to part shade, with acidic soil that allows for proper drainage.


Winterberry is a deciduous holly that can reach heights of 6 to 12 feet. During the fall, the plant loses its leaves, resulting in a beautiful display of thousands of brightly colored berries that cling to the stems. Plant winterberry in a moist area that is exposed to partial shade or full sunlight. The berries from the plant attract a variety of creatures looking for a late-winter snack, including various species of songbirds, game birds, and waterfowl.

Red Twig Dogwood

Best known for its bright red stems, red twig dogwood is a fast-growing plant that is tolerant of both hot and cold temperatures. During the spring, red twig dogwood produces creamy-white flowers as well as berries that start off green and turn white over the course of the seasons. The plant is both cold-hardy and water-tolerant and requires full sun to shade. Plant red twig dogwood in an area with plenty of space, as it can spread up to 12 feet wide and 7 to 9 feet tall.


Firethorn is a hardy plant that remains attractive all year long, with small clusters of white flowers that pop up in the spring and glossy green leaves that remain the rest of the year. The plant is also known for its tiny orange or yellow berries, which grow in clusters on the stems. Firethorn is a relatively tall shrub, growing to heights of 6 to 16 feet. One of the biggest perks of firethorn is that it’s low-maintenance and can tolerate brief periods of freezing and drought.


Hellebores are a versatile winter plant available in a wide range of colors, such as green, white, pink, purple, and apricot. The flowers generally bloom in late winter and can withstand the cold and the heavy forces of frost and snow. Hellebore does best in shady areas and combines well with other perennials. Once established, the care this plant requires is minimal. To look its best, hellebore should be pruned back in early spring to make room for new growth.

Any of these plants could make a nice addition to your garden and would help break up the monotony of winter’s dreary color palette. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty of nature.