Best Midwest Plants for Winter Interest

Winter Interest

Contrary to popular belief, not all plants “die” during the winter. Some plants, sure, they die, and must be planted again in the spring (annuals). Some go dormant and do not bloom during the winter (perennials), where as some plants will bloom all year round, or especially in the winter months. Thankfully, for those who want to bring a little color to their homes, even in the dreary cold winter, there are plenty of options that exist to bring some winter interest to your landscape!

Midwest Winter Interest

Top 8 Midwest Plants for Winter Interest


Hellebores (Lenten Roses) – These flowers tend to bloom around mid to late winter. While they may look like delicate roses, they are very robust plants and quite resilient to the forces of nature!

Berry Fruits on Brown Tree Branches

Berry Trees and BushesBlack & Red Chokeberry, Purple Beautyberry, American Cranberry, and other berry plants can provide a nice colorful pop to the white snows of winter. Holly trees such as Winterberry and Red Holly might lose their leaves in the fall/winter but bunches of berries will remain on the branches. Snowberry, on the other hand, will have nice pink flowers that transform into magical-looking white berries in the winter. Another great benefit of berry plants is that local birds will use these trees as food sources that will help you sustain your own neighborhoods bio-diversity and health! That being said, please research any plants that provide berries because some can be very poisonous to humans and animals but will be just fine for birds.

Winter Violas

Violas and Pansies – Certain species of these flowers will bloom in the winter months and create nice, deep colors for your yard, even when it’s cold and dreary everywhere else. And, while these are considered annuals, they do drop seeds and can bounce back in the Spring.

Plant Profile: Little Bluestem - Minnesota State Horticultural Society

Ornamental grasses and Evergreens– Ornamental grasses such as Little Bluestem, Switch Grass, Prairie Dropseed, and Northern Wild Oats often go perfectly in most wintery landscapes. The grasses can often add a textured variety of colors and balance to your winter landscape design. Ornamental grasses combined with evergreens are also crucial in providing resources for birds and other wildlife.

American Witchhazel

Witch Hazel – These flowers can survive most winter climates and they can add bright warm colors to an otherwise bland yard. As a bonus, witch hazel has been known to provide curative properties to itchy skin!

Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) – Cowling Arboretum – Carleton College

Red Twig Dogwood: Dogwoods are great for year-round beauty. In the winter, their bright red branches bring a great contrast to the white winter color pallet. There are also other species of dogwood with other corals such as coral and yellow.

White Flowers With Green Leaves

Pieris – These bell-shaped flowers bloom from this striking shrub in the mid-to-late winter. They provide an almost mythical, otherworld and festive vibe to any winter garden.

File:Eranthis hyemalis (Winter Aconite)..IMG 7026BE.jpg

Winter Aconite – Large clusters of these bulb-like yellow plants will push up and bloom through your snow and look amazing.

Which Evergreens Are Best for the Midwest Winter Landscape?

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As some of the most robust and enduring species of trees, evergreens are often used by gardeners and landscapers to add beauty and variety to their landscape designs! Evergreens are also a perfect idea for homes and landscapes that have cold winter months. Evergreens thrive in all weather, and will continue to keep your landscape beautiful-looking, even in the winter! Read our article on all manner of evergreens here!

Who Can Help?

If all of this gardening talk seems too complicated for you or you just don’t have the time to devote to planning your yard just right, then you should consider the services of an online digital landscape designer. Landscape Designs can incorporate things such as your climate, geographical location, personal needs, and so much more! To find out more about how a digital landscape design can bring new life and comfort to your yard, please visit us at!