Winter often recalls images of bare tree branches and naked flower bushes, but that’s not a complete picture. With the right plants, your winter garden can be just as vibrant and colorful as it is in the peak of spring. From evergreen bushes that sport colorful bunches of berries to flowering plants that offer blossoms even when days are short, you don’t have to feel deprived of verdure in the winter months.
Great Garden Choices for Southern California Climates
Whether you live in the hills or enjoy the sunny coast in LA county, you can find vibrant, decorative winter plants that work well in your specific microclimate. Look for drought- or frost-tolerant plants depending on the specific winter hardships your region tends to endure. Here are some ideas to get your started:
Rosemary ‘Tuscan Blue’ (Rosmarinus officinalis) – This woody herb is drought tolerant and cold hardy all the way down to about 15 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a fantastic choice for winter gardens all over Southern California. As long as this fragrant and delicious herb bush gets bright light, you’ll enjoy evergreen leaves and may even see some purple blooms break out in cold weather. Best of all, you’ll have a fantastic source of fresh rosemary to use in the kitchen throughout the year.
Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea) – If you love fall foliage, the Scarlet Oak is a great choice because it doesn’t actually drop its leaves until it’s ready to produce new growth in the spring. That means you’ll enjoy gorgeous red leaves throughout the winter. Color is brightest where nighttime temperatures drop low, but this hardy, drought-tolerant tree does well in warmer climes as well.
Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea) – Winter hummingbird visits are a delightful part of life in many parts of Southern California, and you can entice these lovely little birds to hang around your property with some Hummingbird Sage. A semi-evergreen bush, Hummingbird Sage produces vibrant red-pink blooms starting in the late winter and continuing into summer.
Pork and Beans Stonecrop (Sedum x rubrotinctum) – Named for its bean-shaped succulent leaves, the Pork and Beans Stonecrop is a hardy, low-lying sprawler that’s perfect for containers or ground planting. When exposed to enough direct sunlight, the plump oblong leaves of this succulent blush red, leaving a hint of bright green at their base.