Most of us think of evergreens when we want some color and life in our winter landscapes. Small leaved varieties, such as spruces, yews and junipers are timeless, hardy and familiar. But if you’re yearning to break out of the mold, consider some less familiar, but equally divine winter specimens….
There are plenty of species that are considered a semi-evergreen. Which basically means, in warmer climates they will retain their leaves. In colder climates they may or may not retain their leaves depending upon the location, and the variety of species planted. This doesn’t mean they won’t do well in a colder climate; they just might be more deciduous in nature. Various Rhododendrons and Azaleas are great examples of popular semi-evergreens. During a mild winter in Omaha, you may have yourself an evergreen, but next year if it’s very cold… you’ll be waiting for spring to see leaves again.
Purple Wintercreeper is a hardy, versatile evergreen groundcover. There are plenty more that are true to semi-evergreen including but not limited to, English Ivy, Pachysandra, Periwinkle, and European Wild Ginger.
The large variety of drought tolerant succulent plants offers selections that can be used as evergreens in cold climates up to zone 4.
Bark and Twigs!
There is no doubt that the warmer your climate, the more options you will have when it comes to ‘greening’ up your landscape. If you are in an extremely cold area, you may want to think a little outside of the box.
When choosing plants for your garden or yard, think about what it will look like in winter. Trees such as River and Paper Birch offer stunning bark that show dramatically in a winter snow. Shrubs like Red and Yellow Twig Dogwood are also grown as much for their brilliant twig color as they are for their summer foliage.
Waiting until early spring to cut prairie grasses and flowers also provides your winter scenery with attractive interest as well as beneficial food and shelter for wildlife.
Please keep in mind that many of the above mentioned plants are general selections. Always read the labels of your specific variety carefully to make sure you are making a decision that will keep you happy all winter long!
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