5 Shrubs That Add Color To Your Winter Landscape

When designing your yard, remember to keep all the seasons in mind.

November 14, 2016
Winter house

It’s no surprise that your yard looks dull and colorless in the winter—but it doesn’t have to. There are easy-to-grow shrubs for all climates that show off their best features in winter. It’s worth keeping the winter months in mind when shopping for plants.

Related: Learn The Basics Of Tree And Shrub Pruning

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

redtwig dogwood
Elegantissima Redtwig Dogwood

Providing brilliant color in the autumn and winter months, the bright red twigs of this plant really shine—even on dull days. For the rest of the year, the dark green leaves are edged in white. And this sturdy dogwood can handle our coldest winters, too. It grows best in sun, but you must remember to cut back hard in spring.

crown vetch
Olha Solodenko/Shutterstock
Mediterranean Crown Vetch

This little gem can be in flower at almost any time of year in mild climates, but it’s in late winter and spring that its neat clusters of yellow, peach-scented, pealike flowers are at their most prolific against prettily lobed, slightly bluish leaves. Ideal in the southwest in sun and in well-drained soil.

Related: 5 Perennials That Can Withstand Even The Toughest Winter

postill nepalese daphne
Graham Rice
Jacqueline Postill Nepalese Daphne

Primarily a West Coast plant, though worth trying in the southeast, this is the hardiest variety of an intoxicatingly fragrant evergreen. Each flower has purplish red buds that open to white flowers yet retain the dark coloring on the backs. Upright in growth. Often regrows well if cut back by frost.

james roof wayleaf silktassel
Graham Rice
James Roof Wayleaf Silktassel

A choice, vigorous form of this West Coast native with eight-inch, slightly red-tinted, grayish green winter catkins covering the plant and handsomely set against leathery, evergreen foliage. It happily tolerates a few branches being cut for the house, where it lasts well. 

Related: For A Biodiverse Fence, Plant Hedgerows

Witch hazel
High Mountain/Shutterstock
Arnold Promise Asian Witch Hazel

Unlike many Asian witch hazels, Arnold Promise features the valuable combination of bright, spidery winter and spring flowers, a strong fragrance, and fiery fall color. Developed at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, Arnold Promise matures into an attractive vase-like shape. It will grow best in humus-rich soil in sun or partial shade; dislikes alkaline soils.