Colorful cool-weather plants
Cooling temperatures and shorter days don’t mean your garden has to be as dull as the weather. Brighten up winter in the South and early spring in the North with this sampling of cool-season plant combinations. These are quick fixes you can use to add some bright curb appeal to the front yard or to provide some cheery flowers along the path to the car each day.
Cool weather = less maintenance
This group of plants can withstand frost, when temperatures get down around 32 degrees F or a bit lower for a few hours, with ease. The weather this time of year makes maintenance easy. Shorter days and lower temps slow plant growth so the flowers last longer and the colors don’t fade as quickly as they do in the hot summer sun. Soil doesn’t dry out as quickly, either, so there’s no need to water as much.
Great in containers, too!
Don’t have a garden? No problem. Use the same plants in smaller quantities to fill a container on your balcony or deck. Now let’s take a closer look at what these simple plantings have to offer.
Blue & purple cool-season planting
This elegant color scheme of blue, purple and white will look good even when temperatures get down to 20 degrees F. Use it to give your home some early or late-season curb appeal. Warm weather causes the stock and the pansies to slow their blooming and get leggy, so go ahead and replace them with heat-tolerant annuals but leave the rest in place to enjoy all year. The small-flowered varieties of pansies and violas, such as ‘Penny Violet Flare’ here, are more likely to survive winter in USDA zones 5 to 8 for a few years than the larger types.
A) Stock (Matthiola incana)
Type Perennial Blooms Clusters of extremely fragrant flowers in shades of pink, lavender, purple, white, yellow and red from spring to fall Size 15 to 20 in. tall, 10 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10
B) Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)
Type Annual Foliage Bold red leaves from spring to fall; ‘Ruby Ball’ will develop into a 3- to 4-lb. head ready for harvest in 78 days Size 9 to 12 in. tall, 12 to 18. in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 2 to 10
C) Dusty miller’s (Senecio cineraria)
Type Annual Foliage Soft white foliage Size 10 to 12 in. tall, 8 to 12 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 8 to 11
D) Pansies and violas (Viola spp.)
Type Annual Blooms Various shades of blue, purple, red, rose, yellow, apricot, brown-red, white and bi-color flowers with contrasting blotching in fall through spring Size 4 to 12 in. tall, 4 to 18 in. wide. Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8
E) Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Type Perennial Blooms Dense clusters of tiny white fragrant flowers from spring into summer Size 6 to 10 inches tall, 12 to 14 inches wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11
Colorful cold-hardy planting
Evergreen foliage looks good all year, but seasonal annuals, such as cape daisies and snapdragons, liven up the empty spaces in between permanent residents. Both the snapdragon and the cape daisy are cold-hardy to 0 degrees F. Snapdragon will overwinter in USDA zones 7 to 10 and with 3 to 4 in. of insulating mulch, such as dry leaves, sometimes in colder areas, too.
A) Cinnamon Curls™ coral bells (Heuchera hybrid)
Type Perennial Blooms Dainty flowers in white, pink or red in late spring with coppery orange-red leaves with ruffled edges from spring to fall Size 8 to 12 in. tall and 12 to 16 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9
B) Celtic Pride™ Russian cypress (Microbiota decussata)
Type Evergreen shrub Blooms Feathery evergreen foliage arranged in flat sprays turns russet in winter with tiny berry-like cones in fall Size 1 to 3 ft. tall, 4 to 5 ft. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 2 to 7
C) Floral Showers snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus nanum pumilum)
Type Annual Blooms Dragon-shaped tubular flowers on stalks in avariety of both pastel and bright colors Size 8 to 10 in. tall and wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 7 to 10
D) Zion™ Apricot Pink cape daisy (Osteospermum hybrid)
Type Tender perennial (usually grown as an annual) Blooms Apricot-pink, daisy-shaped flowers in spring into summer Size 16 to 20 in. tall, 16 to 24 in. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11
E) ‘Filips Magic Moment’ arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
Type Shrub Blooms Compact, conical evergreen with golden yellow-green foliage Size 6 to 8 ft. tall, 1 to 3 ft. wide Hardiness Cold hardy in USDA zones 3 to 7