Best Plants to Grow This Winter

Winter might be right around the corner, but that doesn't mean you should put your green thumb to rest until next spring. While the heavy gardening seasons typically include spring and summer, gardening can be carried through the winter by choosing the right plants and knowing how to care for them. Sunlight exposure, positioning and soil consistency all make winter blooming possible, along with the correct ongoing maintenance. 
Reference this list of recommended winter flowers to add life to your outdoors this winter, with little to no maintenance.


Zones 2 to 6

Cornus Canadensis (Bunchberry)
Cornus canadensis offers burgundy to purple leaves that adds a pop of color to winter landscapes. Native to cooler climates, gardeners throughout the northern United States, as well as the Appalachians to Virginia and Rocky Mountains to New Mexico, its green leaves with bunches of bright berries make this plant a suitable ground cover for winter gardens. Tiny white flowers bloom in late spring. Growing four to six inches tall, Cornus canadensis is easily grown in well-drained, medium moisture soil in a partly shaded area. 

Zones 4 to 8

Asters serve two purposes for most gardeners - they offer beautiful blooms and an abundance of wildlife, as the flower offers a last feeding opportunity for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. With two types, New England and New York, the most important attributes to look for are height, bloom color and bloom time.
The New York Aster stands one to two feet tall, while the New England Aster can grow up to four feet. Their rose-colored flowers add great color and the sturdier stems help to withstand the harsher winters of Zones 4 to 8 in places like Montana, Iowa and Upper Michigan. While cold weather does not bother them, asters love the sun. Plant them in an area with full sun exposure and well-drained, average to good loamy soil. Ensure that Asters are established by mid-fall by sprinkling a small amount of phosphorus (superphosphate or organic rock phosphate) in the hole to aid root growth. One-fourth to one-half cup of organic fertilizer early in the season is all that's needed to keep asters healthy all winter long. 

Zones 9 to 11

Caesalpinia Pulcherrima (Pride of Barbados)
With orange-yellow flowers and standing 10 to 20 feet tall, the Pride of Barbados is perfect for winter growing in Zones 9 to 11. Fertile, well-drained soils allow this upright shrub to bloom throughout the year. Though the Pride of Barbados can tolerate some light shade, it prefers direct sunshine, making these zones its ideal the ultimate climate. Established plants have good drought tolerance leaving no need to worry about lack of rain.