Outdoor Winter Plants

Winter gardening is the art of finding good outdoor winter plants that have interesting foliage, flowers, fruits, or bark in the cold weather season. Winter plants are plentiful but can be overlooked, with people using more spring and summer displays. Make your garden a full-year garden by sprinkling in some of these great outdoor winter plants.

Winter Jasmine

Jasminum nudiflorum from the Olive family, what is known as winter jasmine or hardy jasmine, is an easy to grow shrub. It gets 6 to 10 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide. Yellow funnel-like flowers are 1 inch wide and bloom in the winter. Leaves are dark green and 1 inch long. Plant a winter jasmine plant in full sun or shade in any soil. Propagate via cuttings in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 6 through 9.


Pyracantha coccinea from the Rose family, what is known as firethorn or scarlet firethorn, is an easy to grow evergreen shrub that is fast-growing. It gets 10 feet high and 12 feet wide. Leaves are dark green with thorns and white flowers in spring 2 inches wide. There are fall and winter berries in red, yellow and orange that feed birds and gives a showy winter display. Plant a firethorn in full sun, partial sun/shade, or near full shade. Propagate via cuttings in USDA zones 5 through 9.

Southern Bayberry

Myrica cerifera from the Wax Myrtle family, what is known as southern bayberry or southern wax myrtle, is a fast-growing evergreen shrub that is drought-tolerant. It gets up to 25 feet high. Leaves are fragrant and 1 to 5 inches long. Flowers come in winter and are 1-inch-long catkins. There are blue berries that adorn the shrub. Plant a southern bayberry in full sun to partial shade in any soil type. Propagate via cuttings in USDA zones 7 through 10.


Euonymus fortunei from the Bittersweet family, what is known as wintercreeper or wintercreeper euonymus, is a vine-like shrub. It gets 2 feet high and can creep to 50 feet. Leaves are oval and 1 to 2 inches long. Flowers are of no visual interest but the berries are orange-red and showy. These fruits go through winter. Plant a wintercreeper in full sun to deep shade with regular watering. Propagate via cuttings in USDA zones 5 through 9.

Thorny Elaeagnus

Elaeagnus pungens from the Oleaster family, what is known as thorny elaeagnus or spotted elaeagnus, is a fragrant evergreen shrub that grows fast and is drought tolerant. It gets 15 feet high and 20 feet wide. Leaves are 2 to 4 inches with winter cream flowers that are a quarter inch long. Plant a thorny elaeagnus in part to full sun in any soil that isn't soggy. Propagate via cuttings or seed in USDA zones 7 through 9.

Keywords: winter plants, winter gardening, outdoor winter plants

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years (in health and gardening topics) and a writer for 20 years. She has one book, "A Georgia Native Plant Guide," offered through Mercer University Press. She is happy to be a LIVESTRONG and Gardenguides writer.