Perfect Christmas plants
Which plants will survive this Christmas?
The holidays are nearing, and everywhere you look there are jaunty red ribbons, and brightly colored lights, and silver bells shining in the waning light of December.
Meanwhile, outside your home, your poor garden is nothing but twigs and dry leaves.
But there are plenty of survivor plants that you can use to add some holiday cheer to your home’s exteriors. In fact, these hardy specimens not only endure through the cold weather, they live for it. Here are twelve plants that will flourish throughout the holiday season—one for each day of Christmas.
This winter stunner lives for the cold—in fact, it saves its best foliage for early to mid January, when it erupts with delicate pink blossoms. Those flowers eventually give way to small yellow fruits in the early spring, and deep green leaves throughout the rest of the year. It makes a wonderful shrub for a hedge or fence line, and is generally fairly easy to care for
Not all irises are sun worshipers. Iris unguicularis—commonly called an Algerian iris—frequently buds as early as late November to December, and is no less beautiful to look at than its warm-weather cousins. Plant the bulbs now for mid-winter florals that last all the way until April. They enjoy rocky, dry soil and full sun.
Cornus alba Sibirica, also known as the Westonbirt or Red-stemmed Dogwood, comes by its nickname honestly. The bark is a bright, holiday red, adding a cheerful splash of rosy color to your garden all season long. It isn’t fussy about soil conditions and can tolerate shade—although the hue of its bark is much more intense when it’s planted in full sun.
As the name suggests, this flowering tree fares well in chillier weather, and remains loaded with unique yellowish flowers that give off a dreamy, sweet scent November through March. Temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius may damage young, tender shoots, but you can protect them by planting near a stone wall or border that receives plenty of sun.
Even when flowerless, heather adds a ruddy pop of winter color to landscaped beds and hillsides, shading from deep bronze to kelly green. It does well in poor, acidic soils, although you should be careful not to place it in areas where it will be exposed to high winds, as this can dry out the roots.
These lush, delicate flowers come in white, pink, and bright red, and have been known not to die back after periods of cold temperatures, frost, and even snow. Still, to give them some protection, plant the bulbs under a tree or in a container on the porch.
Star of the cold-weather garden, winter aconite brings notes of sunny gold to yards that have long since wintered down. The flowers come out even in colder weather, but do prefer to show their petals in the sunshine, so plant in a spot that gets plenty of light.
I’d be remiss if I left out the appropriately named Snowdrop, a late fall blossom with tender, pale white flowers. They’ve often been seen shooting right out of a snowdrift, and they’re deer and rabbit-resistant as well, so they’ll keep hungry critters looking for a quick winter meal at bay.
This tree, known for its medicinal properties, lets off a burst of curiously-shaped mid-winter flowers in a flaming gold or orange. They can tolerate temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius, and they make lovely choices for landscaping in areas with well drained, moist soil.
Winter Beauty Honeysuckle
All you want for Christmas is a hardy flowering shrub? Look no further—the winter beauty honeysuckle is your plant. Unlike wild honeysuckles, the winter beauty has woody stems that can nonetheless be trained to climb over fences and trellises for a truly stunning aromatic winter showstopper.
Not really a rose at all, the evergreen Hellebore flowers from late autumn through early winter, earning it a well-deserved place in Christmas lore. It does well tucked below taller deciduous trees, which allows it to get partial shade during the summer, and plenty of sun throughout the winter, when the sheltering leaves drop. Treat them well and they will reward you with flushes of delicate white flowers.
Just when the darkest days of winter are upon us, and you begin to think it never will be spring, the primrose bursts into clusters of tiny yellow flowers—a signal that warmer days are not far away. They prefer well-drained soil, and are happiest if you add an occasional layer of compost or manure to their surroundings.
Forget the four calling birds and the three French hens—these gorgeous garden ornaments are where it’s at.