Cold-Hardy Plants Add Color to Winter Gardens; Fresh Produce to Dinner Tables
By Leigha Staffenhagen
As fall arrives, leaves turn and colder temperatures set in, the bounty of bright colors in your spring and summer gardens have faded. Garden beds that popped with colors of purple, pink, orange and yellow flowers and seasonal fruits and veggies. Now the beds are covered in mulch, winterized for the approaching cold season.
Wait! Just because the typical gardening season winds down doesn’t mean you still can’t mix things up in the backyard. RE/MAX recommends that you visit your local nursery or garden store to shop around for regional cold-hardy plants that catch the eye with color! Here are a few of our seasonal favorites to try for winter.
Kale and Chard
Kale and chard plants aren’t only tasty, but quite beautiful with shades of green and reds – and bonus, they are awesome for you! Look for varieties that feature purple coloration for even more of a pop! Kale continues to grow until the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Some gardeners argue that the leaves are crisp and taste even better with a touch of frost!
The great thing about hosta is that they require little attention and are available in a wide variety of colors. Just a few of the varieties include ‘blue angel’, ‘big daddy’, ‘halcyon’, and ‘Gold Standard’. Though they bloom in the summer, their brightly colored leaves remain vivid during the winter months. While they are low-maintenance, hostas prefer lots of water with well-drained soil. As for sunlight, hostas prefer full-sun, but can tolerate shadier locations.
If you’re on the hunt for a beautiful plant that can survive just about any cold condition, search no further because camellias are your flower. In northern climates, camellias bloom in October and can continue through December. Their white, pink or red petals bloom in a variety of different ways, making them quite a unique addition to your garden. This versatile flower can be trained to grow into a shrub or into more of a tree-like shape. Preferring acidic, well-drained soil, these winter beauties do best in a semi-shaded area.
For some lower-growing color, consider pansies! Blooming year-round, pansies come in just about every color imaginable and can be arranged to create colorful groundcover art. Pansies prefer moist, well-drained soil and thrive in colder temperatures. Farmer’s Alamanac mentions that the reason pansies die is because they aren’t being watered enough, so shower them with plenty of love and attention and they’ll return the favor in the form of a colorful winter display!
Holly brings up thoughts of Christmas trees and mistletoe for its bright red color that it can add to your garden in the winter. It’s especially eye-catching after a recent snowfall. Holly bushes prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil and do best in full sun. With that said, holly is a pretty tough plant that can be ignored for a bit and can flourish in less-than-perfect conditions.
You’re in for a treat if you’ve never seen a Brussel sprout plant growing. It looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie! Not to mention, you’ll have a terribly-tasty vegetable to enjoy all spring long. Brussel sprouts wrapped in bacon, anyone?
You may recognize the crocus as one of the first signs of spring after a long winter. These purple, yellow and white bulbs prefer full sun or partial shade and appear in late winter or early spring. For all you foodies out there, consider planting Crocus sativus, or autumn crocus-it’s a crocus variety that produces saffron!
Tips for Winter Gardening Success
Keep in mind that while you can daydream of an amazing winter garden all you want, when it comes to successfully growing one, you want to make sure you’re choosing plants suitable to your USDA growing zone. Depending on your area’s local climate and temperature, some winter plants may not grow as well as others.
To help your winter garden reach its full potential, protect your plants from getting hit with winter’s worst. Make sure you’re diligent about weeding, applying lots of mulch and keeping an eye out for pests. Taking advantage of row covers, portable cold frames and covering crops when the frost rolls in is a good idea too. Visit the RE/MAX blog for more tips on house, home and garden this winter season.
Bio: Leigha Staffenhagen is the managing editor of Insteading.com, a homesteading and sustainability site focusing on everything from gardening and raising chickens to tiny homes and off-grid living.