The winter period is usually a terrible time for outdoor potted plants, especially the ones grown for aesthetic reasons.
Their leaves and flowers have either withered away or entirely fallen off, leaving bare stems sticking out and defeating the purpose of growing them.
One way to prevent this from happening is by thoughtfully planting outdoor plants that are resistant to frost and freeze so your garden remains luscious and beautiful all year long.
Here are 15 such plants that can enhance the beauty of your garden irrespective of the season.
1. Japanese Maple
Scientific Name: Acer palmatum
Origin: East Asia
The Japanese maple, also called palmate maple or smooth Japanese maple, is frost tolerant. However, they need protection from winds to prevent the leaves from drying out and scorching, particularly in hot weather.
As the name suggests, Japanese Maple originates in Japan, Mongolia, China, southeast Russia, and Korea. The deciduous plant (technically a tree) produces attractive leaves with various colors and can grow up to 33 feet (10m).
It is one of the reasons why it is a favorite in several parts of the world. However, be mindful of using a reasonably large pot when potting this plant.
2. Spanish Bayonet
Scientific Name: Yucca aloifolia
Origin: Southeast USA
The Spanish bayonet, also called dagger plant and aloe yucca, can reach up to 5-10 feet (150-300 cm) tall. The plant requires little maintenance and can withstand several environmental conditions, including drought, heat, salt, and frost.
However, when growing this plant, ensure it’s getting the required amount of sunlight. Also, ensure that the soil is sandy or loamy.
During winter, place the pot in a sheltered area so the plant can retain some heat.
As the name implies, the leaves have a deep green, sword-shaped, almost dagger-like appearance. In the summer, large bell-shaped creamy, white (sometimes with purple tinge) flowers appear for an even more beautiful appearance.
However, note that there are several species of the Yucca plant apart from the Spanish bayonet, and their level of frost tolerance differs.
If you plan to add Yucca to your collection of potted plants, there are two things you should take into consideration. First, the plant is toxic to pets and horses, and the pointy tips of its leaves can cause injuries.
3. Blanket Flower
Scientific Name: Gaillardia
Origin: North and South America
The blanket flower is a perennial with different varieties. It’s another freeze and a frost-resistant outdoor potted plant that is low maintenance.
It belongs to a genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. This North and South American native produces beautiful flowers ranging from orange, red, and yellow to brown.
There are many species of this plant, and you need to consider growing them according to your hardiness zone. For instance, if you live in a colder region, use a light layer of straw or mulch to cover and insulate the roots of the plants from frost heaves.
Scientific Name: Juniperus
Origin: Tropical/South Africa, mountainous regions of Central America, the Northern Hemisphere, and Central/Southern Asia.
If you’re looking for an outdoor plant that can survive almost any condition, the juniper plant should be on your list. They belong to the genus Juniperus and belong to the family Cupressaceae.
Although junipers produce seeds, they’re gymnosperms with no fruits or flowers. They are a fantastic addition to your outdoor plants, with the only downside being the amount of time it takes for them to mature.
Scientific Name: Camellia japonica
Origin: Eastern and Southern Asia
The camellia plant is more than just a decorative plant in many areas of the world. They’ve been cultivated for a long time for tea and as an ornament. They are also of great commercial use to some countries.
Camellia plants can flourish in pots but must be taken care of because of their knack for growing big— sometimes too big for the pot. They thrive in cold weather and produce flowers with beautiful colors.
There are many plant species worldwide, with habitats ranging from Indonesia, Japan, and the Himalayas, to Southern US.
6. Golden Duke Eastern Hemlock
Scientific Name: Tsuga canadensis ‘Monjers’
Eastern Hemlock is a slow-growing tree that can resist frost and freeze. It is low-maintenance and can withstand a variety of soil and weather conditions.
Fun Fact: In the wild, Eastern Hemlocks provide food and shelter to forest songbirds and other wildlife.
A significant reason why Eastern Hemlock is a go-to for many people is its golden foliage which can remain that way all year long. During summer, ensure it gets enough water for it to thrive.
7. Compact Oregon Grape
Scientific Name: Berberis aquifolium ‘Compacta’
The Compact Oregon Grape doesn’t need full sunlight, which means it can thrive during winter. They are also quite resistant to frost, so you don’t have to worry about their roots or foliage being compromised during this season.
Oregon grapes can be planted in pots as they usually don’t grow past 3 feet. Their bright yellow colors are a great way to liven your outdoor garden. During the winter, water the plants sparingly to prevent root rot.
8. Natal Lily
Scientific Name: Clivia miniata
Origin: Woodlands of South Africa
Clivia miniata, also known as natal lily or bush lily, is becoming a favorite among gardeners. They have large, long, flat green leaves and beautiful bright flowers ranging from red, orange, and yellow.
Natal lilies don’t require much sunlight and can tolerate low temperatures. Ensure you stick to an ideal watering regimen for them to thrive.
Scientific Name: Clematis L.
Origin: China and Japan
If you don’t have enough time to spend taking care of your garden daily, then Clematis vines should be an addition to your garden.
These perennials are known for their bright blooms and soothing fragrance. They do pretty well in cold weather and wouldn’t freeze.
The plants require moist and well-draining soils with a slightly alkaline or neutral pH. Be aware of their invasive nature— without regular pruning, they will likely climb past your garden.
Clematis vines can cause severe irritation on being touched or ingested— be careful of growing them around children or pets.
10. Winter Gem Boxwood
Scientific Name: Buxus microphylla var. japonica ‘winter gem’
Origin: Korea, Japan, and China
The winter gem boxwood is another plant that can be grown outdoors, irrespective of the weather.
They can grow up to 4-6 feet tall/ wide without requiring much maintenance. As a precaution, ensure you only water the plants when the top 3 inches of the soil is dry.
During the winter, the leaves produce a golden bronze hue that changes back to green during spring.
11. Sweet Violet
Scientific Name: Viola odorata
Origin: Asia and Europe
Viola odorata is a hardy herbaceous perennial that produces flowers that are commonly blue but can have other colors. As the naming suggests, it emanates a pleasing fragrance.
Sweet Violet belongs to the genus Viola and is low maintenance and frost tolerant. It is significant from a historical point of view— during the late Victorian period, its scented flowers were used for making perfumes and cosmetic fragrances.
Scientific Name: Cyclamen
Origin: Europe and the Mediterranean Basin
Cyclamen can add a touch of brightness to your collection of outdoor potted plants. Its resistance to frost also makes it a versatile plant suitable for any condition.
The plant can produce flowers with various shades of white and pink.
Potted cyclamen should be grown in well-draining soils. The plant should not be left dry for too long.
13. Common Red Bottlebrush
Scientific Name: Callistemon citrinus
The common Red Bottlebrush is also known by various names such as the lemon bottlebrush, crimson bottlebrush, and Melaleuca citrina.
They are one of the hardiest evergreen shrubs that can be grown in pots and are resistant to frost. However, they require proper care to thrive.
They are also known to have some medicinal properties.
Scientific Name: Helleborus spp.
Origin: The Mediterranean and Western China
This perennial plant is one of the few that produces beautiful flowers that range from purple to pink to greenish-white during winter.
Hellebores are hardy enough to survive in temperatures as low as -15°C. They’re also relatively low maintenance and can grow in various soil conditions.
The most common species of Hellebores include the Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) and Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger).
Scientific Name: Ajuga reptans
Origin: Southwestern Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa
Bugleweed is a beautiful plant with small tubelike (bugle-like, hence the name) spikes of blue-green flowers that contrast nicely with the surrounding green foliage.
Apart from being a great outdoor option, you can also use it for edging or bordering taller plants or to beautify walkways.
Bugleweed is frost-hardy and grows well in various soils with less watering. However, the plant requires long sunlight hours to thrive.
If you are looking to spruce up your winter garden, do consider growing the frost-hardy plants mentioned above.
Although these plants can survive winter, they still need proper maintenance and protection from wind.
I have found gardening to be my calling since being restricted to my apartment. I love studying rare species of plants and giving them a mention on my blog. I also love growing organic vegetables in my backyard.