Sunday, January 4, 2009

Landscape - Plants with Interesting Winter Features II

This is a continuation of the series on plants with interesting winter features.

Some shrubs have attractive twigs for winter interest. The shrubby dogwoods (Cornus alba and C. sericea) have either red or yellow twigs. Japanese Kerria is a great shade plant with green twigs. Other shrubs offer textural interest like the corky wings on some winged euonymus.

Another plant characteristic that can offer winter interest is fruit. Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) is a shrub with brilliant red fruits that persist on the plant all winter. Other shrubs that have colorful fruit include holly (red, black or white), jetbead (black) and bayberry (grayish-white).

Trees with colorful persistent fruit include crabapple, Washington hawthorn and Winter King hawthorn. Be sure to choose disease resistant crabapple varieties with persistent fruit. Many improved varieties have fruit that persists through early winter. The fruits on Red Jewel and White Angel crabapples usually persist through the winter.

Some plants bloom during late winter. They include early flowering hardy bulbs like snowdrop (Galanthus) and many varieties of witchhazel (except Hamamelis virginiana that blooms in late fall).

Trees and shrubs with a distinctive form lend winter interest. The plant might have a weeping habit like some crabapple or beech trees. A plant could have twisted stems like contorted filbert (Corylus avellana 'Contorta') or have layered horizontal branches like pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia).

Red Twig Dogwood, Photo by Marcia H.,

Yellow Twig Dogwood. Photo from the article listed below.

Article reprinted in part from "Some Plants Provide Winter Interest" By Steve Mayer, Extension Educator-Horticulture, Purdue Extension-Marion County. Yellow Twig Dogwood photo from the same article

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