Skip to content

Winter Garden Joy: Cold-Hardy Plants to Grow

Winter Garden Joy Cold-Hardy Plants to Grow

The winter months can seem dull and lifeless in the garden. But did you know there are many plants that thrive in the colder season? With a little planning, you can enjoy splashes of color, tasty harvests, and gardens humming with life all winter long.

Cold-hardy plants are specially equipped to handle frosty air, frozen soil, and snowy conditions. From vibrant flowers to crisp veggies, these tough beauties shrug off winter’s worst. Let’s explore some wonderful options for refreshing winter gardens.

Winter-Garden-Joy-Cold-Hardy-Plants-to-Grow Winter Garden Joy: Cold-Hardy Plants to Grow

Why Grow Cold-Hardy Plants?

More than just staying alive when temperatures drop, many plants absolutely excel in cooler weather. There are lots of benefits to growing a winter garden:

Visual Interest: Enjoy blooming colors and textures when most plants are dormant. Vegetable Harvests: Have fresh produce in winter when supplies are limited. Lower Maintenance: With slower growth, many plants need less tending. Extend the Season: Get a jumpstart on spring by planting earlier. Help Wildlife: Provide crucial food and habitat when resources are scarce.

Even just adding a few cold-tolerant containers can brighten up barren winter spaces. Or go all-out and turn your landscape into a four-season garden wonderland!

Best Cold-Hardy Flowers

Want bursts of color to chase away the winter blahs? These bloomers will bring cheer through the dark, chilly months.

Pansies and Violas: Perhaps the most classic winter flowers, these beauties reward with blooms in nearly every hue. Pansies handle very cold temps.

Hellebores: The elegant, cup-shaped blooms of Lenten Roses add charm to shaded areas. Colors range from white to pink, red, purple and almost black.

Ornamental Cabbages and Kales: These edibles double as landscaping stunners thanks to their bold leaf colors and textures. Grow in full sun for best color.

Winter Jasmine: This vining plant bursts with bright yellow blooms when little else is flowering. Great choice for trellises or groundcover.

Sweet Alyssum: These sweetly fragrant flowers carpet beds with dense blooms of white, purple or other pastel shades.

Winter Aconites: One of the first harbingers of spring, these buttercup relatives send up cheerful yellow flowers as snow melts.

Snowdrops: Speaking of snow, these elegant, nodding white flowers often poke through snow cover to announce spring’s arrival.

Edible Cold-Hardy Plants

Want to keep harvesting fresh food even when snow is flying? Try growing these cold-tolerant edibles for delicious winter crops.

Carrots: Left in the ground to be harvested as needed, carrots get extra-sweet when nipped by cold weather. Cover for easy access.

Kale: This superfood gets even more flavorful and tender after frosts sweeten the leaves. Many colorful ornamental varieties too!

Spinach: Spinach loves to be planted very early since it thrives in cooler temperatures. Harvest the new growth only.

Brussels Sprouts: More than just mini-cabbages, sprouts develop their best flavor after a few cold snaps. Leave plants in ground for winter harvests.

Leeks: With their thick stems insulating their subterranean growth, leeks can keep growing slowly all winter for early spring harvests.

Garlic: Plant garlic in fall and let it grow all winter. Harvest the flavorful bulbs the following mid-summer.

Winter Radishes: From classic bright red to colorful novelty types like green Ramoli and black radishes, these mature quickly even in cold weather.

Broccoli: As long as heads don’t freeze solidly, you can harvest the small, sweet broccoli side shoots all winter long.

Hardy Herbs and More

Round out the winter garden with these herbs, edible flowers, and other unique cold-weather plants.

Parsley: This herb keeps producing fresh growth well into winter if covered with mulch or fabric row covers. Let some go to seed too!

Sage: Cut back this herb hard in fall, and the compact plant will often keep producing new growth for winter harvests in mild climates.

Mint: A winter mulch can allow these vigorous plants to wake up early in spring, providing fresh mint before anything else.

Edible Flowers: Calendulas, violas, and many other edible flowers bloom through surprisingly cold temperatures and add pizzazz to winter dishes.

Rosemary: This herb is impressively cold-tolerant, although harsh winter winds can damage outer growth. Bring a back-up pot inside.

Lavender: Both English and Spanish lavender varieties often stay green through winter and make lovely, fragrant cut flowers or herb accents.

Winter Greens: Certain lettuce, arugula, endive, and other greens can withstand cold when protected from hard freezes. Use season extenders.

Design a Beautiful Winter Garden

While individual plants make lovely accents, combining them into a full winter garden design can be stunning. Try these ideas:

  • Mass cold-hardy annuals like pansies together for bigger impact.
  • Add height and structure with grasses, evergreens, branches or boulders.
  • Plant herbs and vegetables in attractive patterns or swirling designs.
  • Tuck oddities like ornamental kales or Brussels sprouts among winter bloomers.
  • Line paths or steps with fragrant plants like rosemary or lavender.
  • Make an edible wreath using trimmings from winter herbs and veggies.
  • Use garden art and focal points to draw the eye, like colorful tuteurs or sculptures.

Don’t forget to set up protective measures too! Row covers, cold frames, and other season extenders can help plants thrive during extreme cold or snow. Thick mulches also insulate soil and protect plants.

Cold Climate Tips

Gardening through winter in harsh climates admittedly takes more effort and planning. But it’s well worth it to enjoy homegrown harvests and living landscapes! Follow these tips for success:

  • Have a sunny, sheltered spot ready since most cold-hardy plants still need 6+ hours of light.
  • Start with cold frames, row covers or small hoop houses at first while learning what works.
  • Protect crops from winds, which can be even harsher than low temps. Windbreaks and shelters help.
  • Choose appropriate cold-hardy varieties bred for extreme cold resistance.
  • Add generous winter mulches or cold protection covers during arctic blasts.
  • Embrace the fact that some plants will look rugged, bent over or discolored at times but bounce back.
  • Get cold weather equipment like heated buckets or stock tank heaters for water.

If you thought gardens were just for spring and summer, think again! With the right preparation and selection of cold-defying plants, you can coax beauty and bounty from the ground all year round.

So embrace winter, pull on some warm layers, and get outside to design and plant the winter garden of your dreams. Your green thumb will be so proud!

2 thoughts on “Winter Garden Joy: Cold-Hardy Plants to Grow”

  1. Pingback: Winter Garden Joy: ColdHardy Plants to Grow | G...

  2. Pingback: Geogenanthus Ciliatus: How to Care for the Fuzzy Lip Plant -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *