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Winter doesn’t have to be a barren time. With some planning you can create an appearance of lushness in the garden with an abundance of winter greenery to enjoy outdoors and indoors.


Well-behaved Ivy and relatives

People get a bit nervous about planting anything in the ivy realm but there are some useful choices that are well-behaved and provide beautiful winter greenery. It’s always wise to check for potential invasiveness of a given species in your area before planting.

Himalayan Ivy

Consider Hedera nepalensis with it’s striking leaves streaked in silver and burgundy in winter.

Close up of lime green shrub with lancet shaped leaves
Hedera nepalensis or Himalayan Ivy provides winter interest with striking lancet-shaped leaves. Photo by plant lust.

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Or you can play it safe and go with one of the Fatshederas which are a hybrid between the Japanese Aralia Fatsia japonica and common ivy, and have some of the most eye-catching evergreen foliage in the plant world.

Close up of ivy-shaped leaves in green and white.
x Fatshedera lizei ‘Angyo Star’ is a striking variegated option with glossy leaves. Photo by plantlust.

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Close up of large ruffled shiny leaves in light green.
x Fatshedera lizei ‘Ribbon Candy’ is a newer fatshedera with gorgeous glossy and ruffled leaves. Photo by Secret Garden Growers.

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Close up of heavily variegated glossy dark leaves.
x Fatshedera lizei ‘Yvonne’s Petticoat’ provides wonderful texture and can handle shade. Photo by Secret Garden Growers.

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Holly plants

For your holly fix, consider the adorably small-leaved and small-statured Dwarf Pagoda Japanese Holly or Ilex crenata ‘Geisha‘. Every garden can work one of these in to provide form and structure to the Winter landscape.

Dwarf Pagoda Japanese Holly

Tiny dark green glossy leaves.
Ilex crenata ‘Dwarf Pagoda’ will charm year-round with tiny glossy leaves. Photo by Grace Peterson.

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Geisha Japanese Holly

close up of tiny leaves on Ilex crenata 'Geisha'
Ilex crenata ‘Geisha’ is very pleasant dwarf mounding plant with tiny glossy leaves.

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Sky Pencil Japanese Holly

Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ is another very useful plant. I love to think of it as a stand-in for an Italian Cypress in mini form. Very charming and elegant.

Columnar dark green shrub in landscape.
Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’ lends a formal look with no pruning required. Photo by Secret Garden Growers.

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Living Christmas trees for indoors or out.

So many expected and unexpected choices for living Christmas trees which you can continue to enjoy in the garden years after the season has passed, from Spruce to Olive.


Van Speybrock Oriental Spruce

Small potted Christmas tree in nursery pot.
Picea orientalis ‘Van Speybrock’ makes a lovely little Christmas tree that can be enjoyed in a pot indoors and returned outside for the rest of the year. Photo by Conifer Kingdom.

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Skyland’s Oriental Spruce

Chartreuse colored evergreen tree in classic columnar Christmas tree shape.
Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’ is a slow-growing Oriental Spruce that sports a classic and bushy Christmas tree shape and really glows in the garden with bright gold foliage. Photo by Conifer Kingdom.

Picea orientalis ‘Skylands’


Dwarf Norway Spruce

Close up of bushy evergreen branches tipped with burgundy pinecones.
Even the smallest garden can make room for little Picea abies ‘Pusch’. Photo by Karl Gercens III.

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Olive Trees

Long a symbol of peace–what better tree to represent the spirit of the season? Olive trees may not jump to mind when thinking of winter interest but they have lovely silvery evergreen foliage that really shines in the darker season.

Close up of shine lancet shaped leaves with small light green berries.
Olea europaea – 11th Avenue has shiny lancet shaped leaves that lend a graceful air to the garden and make a nice container plant. Photo by plant lust.

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Greens to bring inside.

When flowers are in short supply you can still bring the outside in with winter greenery. Be sure to plant some treasures with interesting foliage and leaves to enjoy indoors.We have gorgeous greenery you will have to guard from any neighborhood florists.


Eucalyptus perriniana has the classic florist foliage. A very quick grower that easily rebounds even if frozen to the ground, it can be cut back regularly and grown as a shrub.

Close up of branches with coin shaped leaves in pale grey and lime green.
The coin-shaped leaves of Eucalyptus perriniana in pale grey and lime green are wonderful in mixed bouquets but also beautiful on their own. Photo by Patricia Cunningham.

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Tasmanian Mountain Pepper

Close up of dark red branches with grey green leaves,
Drimys lanceolata is a broadleaf evergreen shrub with red and green foliage, the color palette of the season. Photo by plant lust.

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Hebe pimeleoides ‘Quicksilver’

Hebe-jeebies are among many excellent options officially in the genus of Veronica. Often forgotten, Little Prince Nursery reminds us they are versatile plants excellent for borders, containers and mass plantings.

Fine airy foliage with tiny silver leaves.
Hebe pimeleoides ‘Quicksilver’ is a stunner with tiny silver leaves and contrasting black branches. It would make a great foil for precious Winter hellebore bouquets. Photo by Anna Kullgren.

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Consider plant choices year-round for an all-season garden

While spring is the traditional busy season for nurseries, winter is a wonderful time to take stock of the spots in the garden that could use some seasonal interest. Browsing nurseries during the off-peak months is a great way to find gems that sparkle all year round.
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