10 Winter Landscape Plants

Though cold weather is setting in, leaves are falling, and plants are going dormant, there are still many shrubs and trees that provide winter interest for your landscape. The shining stars of the winter season are plants that provide interesting texture, silhouettes or color.

Here’s a list of plants you can include in your landscaping for winter interest:

Ornamental grasses

Ornamental grasses provide structure and height during the cold winter months. When your landscape needs it the most. Grasses are interesting and dynamic, provide movement and color.

winter texture ornamental grass
winter texture ornamental grass
winter texture ornamental grass

Miscanthus Grass (Miscanthus species)

Soft plumes and a feathery texture make Miscanthus grass a wonderful addition for winter interest. It also comes in a variety of colors.

Pampas Grass (Cortaderia species)

Pampas grass is tall, tough and beautiful. This large grass is easy to care for and features long, feathery plumes which add a graceful touch to any landscape.

Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon species)

Mondo grass is a low-profile ornamental grass that comes in a variety of colors including green and black. This easy to care for perennial is ideal for adding texture to your landscape.

Interesting shapes and colors

Other shrubs add interesting shapes or colors to your landscape include contorted silhouettes and colorful branches. Use some of these as specimen plants for focal points or plant entire rows using the same shrub for a dramatic effect to draw the eye through your garden.

winter interest
winter interest
winter color

Contorted Filbert (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’)

Looking for a fascinating specimen tree with a unique silhouette? This small tree also has interesting seed pods in the late winter and early spring.

Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia species)

Many flowering plants have interested seed heads that can add texture to your landscape even after they lose their leaves and petals Black-Eyed Susan is just one of such perennials. Others include Yarrow, Butterfly Bush and Prince’s Plume.

Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’)

Native to Nevada and adapted to our variable climate, the Red Twig Dogwood makes quite a statement with its stunning red branches. The Artic Fire Dogwood features yellow and red branches, creating a pop of intense colors in a landscape.

Evergreen shrubs and trees

It’s important to incorporate evergreen shrubs and trees into your landscape. Colors range from blue to green and they vary in size, texture and shape.

winter evergreen shrub
winter evergreen shrub
winter evergreen tree
winter evergreen tree

Variegated Euonymus (Euonymus japonicus ‘Microphyllus Variegatus’)

With evergreen foliage, there are many varieties of euonymus that are appropriate for the northern Nevada climate. Variegated Euonymus provides a wonderful contrast, especially when planted near dark green shrubs.

Mugo pine (Pinus mugo)

Mugo pines thrive in our area with drought tolerant, lush green color all year long. Though they are often planted as a small shrub, they do get very large. Make sure you leave room for Mugo to spread its branches.

Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’) and Weeping Blue Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’)

Pictured is a young weeping Blue Atlas Cedar in the snow. Its blue green coloring serpentine form, and sprawling horizontal habit create a dramatic waterfall effect. The Blue Atlas Cedar is a charismatic and spectacular evergreen specimen suitable for large landscape areas. It has a pyramidal shape and expansive branches. Like weeping Blue Atlas Cedar, it gets more interesting as it ages. 

Weeping Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum ‘Pendulum’)

Weeping Sequoia often make a statement in a landscape. Their elegant, weeping branches and unique growing habit make this conifer an exceptional choice for a focal point.

Consider adding these winter landscaping plants to add year-round interest to your landscape. For more landscaping tips or ideas, check out our other blog articles.