Although we are blessed here in sunny San Diego to have a mild winter, it’s still true that much of what is going on in our garden takes a break during the colder, rainier months. So there remains some sense in selecting plants that will continue to brighten your outdoor space year-round. Read on for some great options for keeping your garden blooming through the winter.
1. Camellia – These large, glossy leaved shrubs are excellent for shadier spots in the Southern California garden. They are evergreen and make an excellent hedge, screen or backdrop the whole year ’round, but are especially stunning when showing off their multitudinous blooms in late winter. There are hundreds of varieties to suit every taste, from red to white to pink to variegated and every size you can imagine.
2. Waxflower – Australian natives make excellent additions to the winter garden, as their natural bloom schedule is opposite ours. Waxflower is a great example. With open, branching stems and miniscule leaves, it provides a texture similar to Pittosporum ‘Silver Sheen’ at a smaller size. The small, waxy flowers range from white to deep burgundy and make excellent cut flowers due to their succulent nature.
3. Kniphofia – Did you know this succulent staple of many Southern California gardens blooms during late fall and often persists into winter? The bright, bicolored orange, yellow and red flowers are some of the brightest and strangest blooms you could hope to see in an otherwise sleeping garden.
4. Lilyturf – For most of the year, this small-statured grass is used as a lawn or turf alternative, to edge borders or generally fill in space. But in winter, the clumps of leaves produce small stalks of bright-purple flowers that bring a blanket of color to the garden.
5. Physalis – This whimsical plant is grown for it’s papery, lantern-like fruit capsules. Blooming throughout the fall, they are ready for harvest just around the time of Halloween and Thanksgiving, perfect for using in decorations and holiday centerpieces.
6. Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ – Per it’s name, this ornamental sedum is a larger variety that produces beautiful strawberry blonde blooms, adding textured clouds and organic form to the garden. The flowers persist into late fall and often into winter. What’s more, these succulent plants are extremely drought tolerant and low-maintenance.
7. Sweetbox – Although it has very small, conspicuous white flowers, this plant gets it’s name from their incredibly potent aroma. Akin to jasmine, this glossy green-leaved shrub doesn’t have a lot to offer throughout the rest of the year, but produces stunningly jasmine-scented flowers in the dead of winter. A great addition to the shadier portion of your garden.
8. Ornamental Eggplant – Called ‘Pumpkin on a Stick’ for obvious reasons, this eggplant is grown not for eating, but for showing off. Like physalis, its bright orange fruits mature in late fall and will last through the winter, either in an arrangement or after all the leaves have died back.
Interested in picking up some plants to make your garden a little more welcoming this winter? Want some help with another horticultural conundrum? Stop by North Park Nursery and let one of our qualified staff members help you today!