Plants That Survive the Outdoor Winter Weather

As winter brings to the garden cold soils and outdoor temperatures, many outdoor plants emerge to flourish in the harsh weather, when most plants are dormant for the season. Winter-loving plants often are evergreen, meaning they retain their foliage all year long. Hardy and long-lived, evergreens help to provide color to an otherwise colorless landscape. Tucked within a perennial bed or flanking a front walk, winter flowers and plants add vibrancy to the garden.


As an evergreen and winter-loving shrub, camellia (Camellia japonica) thrives in the outdoor winter weather. Growing 8 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide, camellia shrubs have an upright, pyramidal shape that is dense. The semi-double to double flowerheads emerge in winter to light up the garden with color. Growing in white, red, pink and variegated varieties, camellia shrubs have a slow to moderate growth rate. The leather-like, dark green foliage is shiny and grows 2 to 4 inches long. Camellia shrubs require partial shade and well-drained, acidic soil that is nutrient-rich. Plant camellias in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 9.

Blue Atlas Cedar

Blue atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica 'Glauca') is an evergreen tree with a rapid growth rate that remains vibrant during winter. Growing 60 to 100 feet tall and 40 feet wide, blue atlas cedar trees create a commanding presence in the winter landscape. The open, pyramidal shade and plethora of lower branches casts dense shade. Drought-tolerant blue atlas cedar trees have blue to silver needles that grow in 1-inch spirals, the thickest of all cedar varieties. The barrel-shaped cones grow 2 to 3 inches long to sit atop the stiff branches. Versatile blue atlas cedar trees require full sun to partial shade and a range of soil varieties, including sandy, dry and clay soils. Blue atlas cedar trees do not tolerate wet or poorly drained planting sites. Plant blue atlas cedar in zones 6 to 9.

Lenten Rose

Lenten rose, also called hellebore (Helleborus orientalis) is an evergreen plant with winter-blooming flowers that emerge in winter to light up the garden. Growing 12 to 18 inches tall and in erect clumps, Lenten rose flowers grow in a wide range of colors, including, pink, white, purple and green. Saucer-shaped Lenten rose blooms are 2.5 inches wide and appear as if they are nodding down to the ground. The foliage on Lenten rose is shiny and dark green with a toothed edging. Lenten rose requires light to moderate amounts of shade and well-drained soil. Plant Lenten rose in zones 3 to 9.

Keywords: winter-loving plants, camellia shrub, blue atlas cedar, Lenten rose

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in and and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and